From 2 Metres by Ruth Corney and Dan Carrier
“The way I dealt with all of this was to get my camera out and start photographing people – from 2 metres, obviously.”Ruth Corney
Ruth’s Lockdown Project
During lockdown Ruth Corney and Dan Carrier published a book titled 2 Metres which comprises of photographs taken by Ruth of people in their homes during the Covid-19 lockdown.
‘Life is full of uncertainties and questions. On 11 March 2020 the World Health Organization stated that the coronavirus had changed from an epidemic to a pandemic. Decisions became even harder to make, as no one seemed to know what the future would entail and how we would deal with it. The very real fear of falling prey to this pernicious virus was so prevalent and the way we coped was mixed. Almost immediately local help groups were set up, the NHS received more calls from people willing to help than ever before, many lost their jobs, some were furloughed (a word I had never even heard before), schools closed and washing your hands so diligently became the new norm.
I took this photo of Derek on 22 March. I had phoned Brookfield school to see if there was anything I could do to help. Derek, the site manager, said there were hardly any children but he had been busy making school dinners and could do with a hand delivering them. Not only was Derek cooking delicious meals for parents and children from the school but he was also making dinners for vulnerable people isolating. Over the next couple of weeks Maggie and her team from Highgate Newtown Community Centre group got busy: the Highgate Camden Mutual Aid was established. Lulu set about cooking and Honey seemed a force of organisational prowess as she commandeered rotas and deliveries. Food banks and co-ops were set up and several neighbourhood schemes sprang into action.
The following photos represent a tiny fraction of what went on from March to June. I met plasterers, council workers, street cleaners and lots of other people who were helping everyone who needed it. What I witnessed was kindness, generosity and a willingness to help everyone in our society.’
The way I dealt with all of this was to get my camera out and start photographing people – from 2 metres, obviously.
I asked people the questions that were troubling me and how they were dealing in this very strange, frightening time. It was heartening to hear stories of how people coped, managed and in some cases got to spend more time with their loved ones than they would normally have. It was heartbreaking to hear some stories and to see the devastation that the virus had caused so quickly.
How has lockdown made you feel?
‘It has made me feel very unsettled.It has of course impacted my mental health and well being. How could it not!’
In what ways has the Covid-19 lockdown influenced your creativity or changed how you use art?
‘It has made me want to do more documentary photography again!’
All proceeds for 2 Metres are going towards the Alexandra Wylie Tower Foundation which works heavily with food banks. To purchase Ruth’s book, please visit the AWTF website.
Text and images © Ruth Corney