This copy and the images have been published as an assignment by the British Photography Awards.
I left my East Sussex home for Spain on March 16th uncertain that the UK government was going to do anything to flatten the steepening COVID curve.
I was the only Brit on the plane as far as I could tell and half way through the flight was quizzed by the cabin crew as to what I was doing - essentially going the wrong way. Gloved Spaniards looked wide eyed over their masks and the flight remained relatively quiet. I drank beer as if going on holiday, quite pleased to be leaving a damp and cloudy Hove and a flat that didn’t lend itself to long term isolation. I certainly did not want to get locked down there for a lengthy spell in any event.
At Seville airport, the masses looked keen to get to their homes. The roads empty and almost dark, yet the atmosphere didn’t feel particularly odd. Just like a typical Spanish Sunday with all shops closed.
My new home, for the lock down period in any case, is just west of Seville in the town of Gines. With only food shopping trips permitted until now (unless you had a dog to walk), my boundary was the garden wall. Although confined, my reason for coming here was the dry climate, a greater selection of excellent food, cheap beer, wine and a bigger living space to do my time in, along with my Spanish partner.
Upon reflection, it was a gamble, but I still believe that I made the right choice. The terms of the lock down are more severe in Spain compared to the UK, but rather than try to fight the process, the community continues to show a sense of solidarity, with nightly clapping in appreciation for their medical workers, cancelled Fiestas are still recognised by house decoration, flags and loud music, conversations flow for hours with neighbours and there’s a shared understanding that we are all staying inside for the greater good. The political parties however continue to squabble over the best plan.
There have been moments of boredom and demotivation, too much screen time to begin with devices then switched off and books opened instead. I learnt the value of slowing down and living in the present and exercising using the stairs and my bodyweight to stay strong.
It took me sometime to pick up my camera up again, but once I did, I found moments throughout the day that I wanted to keep a record of. These moments were often repetitive or stood out as memorable or because if nothing else, this time will become an historical event.