I have one piece in a group show at Polka Galerie running July and August 2020. The show is entitled ‘The Days that Follow’ (Vertiges des jours). My included work is entitled Yoga (2013) and is a part of a series called Counterculture that I’ve yet to complete. Everybody’s images in the show were also included in an accompanying issue of Polka Magazine, and we were each asked a series of questions. Here was mine.
– How did the pandemic affect you and your work? What was your reaction when it all started?
I was out in the Philippines shooting some jungle scenes for my next project, and also doing some reconnaissance on islands for the one after that. We got word that the Philippines was shutting down quickly so I headed back to Manila, which was then locked down very abruptly. I left an entire nation locked down and in masks in Mid-March only to arrive back in the UK and find everyone going about as normal. It was quite disturbing that no one seemed to have got the message and the government had still done nothing here. I can’t work now because I work with actors, and social distancing makes this impossible.
– What are your hopes or expectations for our world after the pandemic? How would you like the world to change after this?
I’d like all office workers to stay at home and work from home — and in fact anyone that can work from home to do so. To stop clogging up the roads unnecessarily and allow nature a chance to fight back, cycling and walking to increase and pollution to drop. That’s the minimum I’d want. If I was being truly utopian, I’d want all but non-essential trade to halt and the world to go back to local food, local goods. The lockdown only dropped emissions to 84% of the usual total. Most of the remaining 84% left was down to global trade and agriculture. Unless this is tackled the world is doomed really. It’s such a myth to think that cycling and recycling is going to save us. But at least the pandemic showed we can put a halt to anything if we want to. The argument that the machine cannot be halted is now shown as false. If the will is there, we can do anything.
– Why does this picture make you think of the “days that follow”?
Again this goes back to my utopian idea of how things ought to play out really. Small, local communities living closer to nature, making their own food, clothes, goods. It’s a tongue-in-cheek photograph really because I’m aware of the realities and how far we are away from a return to life like this but you have to dream big. One day it may be that we have no choice.