Chorlton Lockdown Portraits (Lockdown 2), Exhibition

I work in the NHS so this year has been pretty busy. I have deeply missed my family during this time, but have really cherished the slower pace of life. I have taken time to think about what really matters to me and what I want to do with my time/energy. Overall I feel I have made the most of my time, and there has been a lot of positives!

The Chorlton Lockdown Portrait project started soon after the UK entered it’s first nationwide lockdown. Everything stopped overnight, and what we had always taken for granted suddenly become something to consider and plan. Despite this, daily life had to continue – people still ran out of milk, dogs needed walking…

Living on a busy road, Mark set up a wooden backdrop in his front yard and asked passers-by to stop for a moment and have their portrait taken (from five metres away). He asked everyone to email back with their experiences of living under lockdown to add to the project. The project ran a second time during the November/ December lockdown, and is currently running during this third national lockdown.

The plan is to continue the project to a full year, and then use the portraits and stories to create a photobook documenting everyday life experiences of this difficult and strange time.



I work in the NHS so this year has been pretty busy. I have deeply missed my family during this time, but have really cherished the slower pace of life. I have taken time to think about what really matters to me and what I want to do with my time/energy. Overall I feel I have made the most of my time, and there has been a lot of positives!
Thank you so much for the lovely photo that you took that day. I am really pleased I stopped to talk with you. That day I was on my way for my daily walk, which is my passion, to be out in the fresh air, walking and having that time to gather my thoughts. Lockdown for me has brought as much inner positivity as consternation and anxieties about our planets future. I was lucky enough to be up in my homeland of Scotland when we went into Lockdown on the 23rd March, I spent it with my parents, my Dad (joe) 91 years young and my Mum (Isabella) 86 years fabulous. The three of us spent time gardening, decorating, laughing and celebrating birthdays. What it also brought to me was an acceptance of loosing my husband in 2014. I had struggled for years to come to terms with his death, but it took a Pandemic to put life and death into perspective. If you see me out on my walks, give me a smile in return to mine……….:) Georgi
You took my picture as I was on my way back from the allotment , We’d gone down to do some tidying and to collect a few leeks to make soup. Having an allotment has been one of my ( and my wifes!) salvation through the lockdown .We are retired , have our health , enough income from our pension and a comfortable house and big garden so we haven’t suffered as much as many . I’ve also had golf and bowls to keep me active . My wife has really missed her culture , she is usually a regular attender at music , theatre or art venues .Our children and their young families live locally and did most of our shopping during the first lockdown . We are lucky to be able to walk to visit them safely from the front gate !
Evie and Francesca We started high school just after the first lockdown. We’re still adjusting to high school – lockdown meant that transitions were impossible in Year 6 so we just had to go in September. We didn’t have any kind of leavers celebrations either because we were still home-schooling when the year finished for the first lockdown, but we didn’t have to do SATS either which is good. Now we’re in high school but we still have all our lessons in the same classroom because each year group has to be in separate bubbles. Home-schooling was good in some ways because you had loads less work then you could do what you want but there wasn’t the same feeling of fun and it was boring and sad since you couldn’t see your friends. This lockdown has been much better since we can go to school and see everyone there. It’s made a big difference going somewhere that’s not home every day and getting to ride our bikes to school. We like the freedom you didn’t get at (primary school) and now we’re older and can do what we want. No-one has been allowed round to play for a whole year. We can just meet in the park and stuff, but only with one person and it’s cold and rains a lot so even that’s rubbish now. Our class had to isolate once in October too. It meant we couldn’t leave home for two weeks, and we missed Halloween and my birthday.
Lockdown has basically messed everything up. Me and my girlfriend lost our jobs and the cafe I was working at closed down, so now we’re both on universal credit. We just focus on our art to get us through this shitty time.
I had just been for a walk with my friend Alison and was returning home when you intercepted us. It was the first time we’d been out for a walk since first lockdown in March. We’ve been regular running partners for over 20 years, and friends for 15 years before that. We haven’t been for our usual Saturday morning run since March, because of restrictions, obviously. I have had a strange and stressful time during the pandemic (haven’t we all!) I was due to retire from the NHS after over 30 years as a mental health nurse. I stayed on until September, because they asked me to, then officially retired. I still work as a 0.5 Whole Time Equivalent mental health nurse lecturer at University of Manchester, something I’ve been doing for half of my working time for the last 16 years. Just before the commencement of lockdown in March I moved in with my partner, Mary, to her house in Chorlton – I usually live in a one-bedroom flat in Whalley Range. We had never planned to live together before the pandemic, but it seemed a sensible thing to do in the current circumstances. And so, it transpires, it was! Five weeks ago, early in the morning, just as I had returned from my daily run, Mary had a massive stroke. I was able to call an ambulance and give her life support till they arrived, thankfully very quickly. Within an hour, she was being operated on at Salford Royal. It was 50 / 50 whether she would survive. She was transferred to MRI three days later. She has since made an excellent recovery but is still in MRI, receiving ongoing therapy to promote her recovery. She will probably remain in hospital until sometime over Christmas. Whilst at MRI she caught Covid (inevitably!) but didn’t develop significant symptoms. thankfully. As you can imagine, it’s been a difficult and disruptive time, made worse because of the difficulty of visiting at this time. I have continued to work at the university, and it’s been my job, and especially the fantastic student nurses it’s my privilege to teach, that have kept me going through this time. Hope this stuff is useful to your project.
I was on my way to post some parcels when I stopped to do a portrait. I have an online craft shop and work has been pretty chaotic this year. My studio was shut for 10 weeks during the first lockdown and I had to run a business from my bedsit. Then I had to move house just in time for the second lockdown. Thankfully, I’m now in a houseshare with a group of lovely chaps and the studio is buzzing with fellow creatives who are making up for lost time. Lorraine
Although I didn’t need convincing that running was good for me both mentally and physically, lockdown has proved it! It’s helped me to retain a link to what used to be normal and given me a bridge to what will be normal again one day. Good luck with the project, Linda
We were heading back from school with our two youngest It’s not often that both me and Jodie are on the school. A rare treat! Yet, since lockdown ended, and the children went back to school, it’s not that rare anymore. We both work from home now (that’s a big change for us) so I feel much more connected to family life.
Thank you for this picture, we love it. 2020 has been a weird year in more ways than one, however, we have decided to focus on the positives this year has bought us. We recognise that we were luckier than some, spending lockdown with our best friends, rediscovering our love of drawing, crafts, jigsaws, cooking, and dancing. For us this photo captures 2 things: 1. A friendship that has only been strengthened by this crazy year. 2. A classic Saturday of us sneaking off for a cheeky afternoon pint! Best wishes Abi and Ella
Thank you for this picture, weWhat a year it has been and so unexpected for everyone. The best thing about lockdown has been all being at home together. During the first lockdown, my daughter came home from uni and schools were closed so my son was also at home. I work from home anyway and my husband was also working from home. We enjoyed being together, having lunch together every day and an afternoon coffee break sitting in the garden together on sunny days. We were all working at home. The most difficult thing was the home schooling – very challenging when you’re not a teacher, but I needed to help and encourage my son to complete his work every day. Once it was done he could relax! I am a garden designer and have been very busy with work. So many people at home, spending time in their gardens and realising their garden was not quite right, it wasn’t working for them, so I have been really busy redesigning gardens to maximise their potential, whether that be more space to sit and relax outside, raised beds for growing vegetables or more attractive planting! The sad thing has been not being able to see family – especially older relatives – and friends. Like many other people we had to make the best of it, celebrating Grandads 90th sitting in the garden, while he remained in the house with the patio doors open. And celebrating our daughters 21st with a few friends, allocated different time slots, to join us to sit in the garden under the gazebo. At least we have all stayed safe, which we are very grateful for. Let us know how the project goes. Many thanks Karen O’Keeffe