INJUSTICES & INEQUALITIES: COVID-19 EDITION 6

As Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world, it is increasing social injustices and bringing inequalities to the forefront. In this sixth edition, documentary photographer Chiara Fabbro shares a story of refugees seeking asylum in the city of Trieste, Italy. A powerful reminder of the plight of refugees whose journey to safety is often interrupted by violence and unwelcoming measures, increasingly impacted by the current pandemic with the tightening of borders and further securitisation.
These are issues we need to see, reflect upon and action.

Seeking refuge in the time of Coronavirus

By Chiara Fabbro

Faces and feet telling the story of a long journey. Walking for hundreds of kilometers, across mountains and rivers. The fear of getting caught. The appalling, repeated, pushbacks at the borders, often violent and degrading. The disrespect for human life. The relief of having made it to Italy, mixed with the uncertainty of what to expect, in a country that is forgetting how to welcome people and learning ho to keep them out instead.
The commitment of those who every night take care of the people in transit from Trieste. Every night on the street to treat the feet, fill the stomachs and change the old shoes for a new pair, to walk on the next road.

I met these young men in Trieste, at the end of the Balkan route, during their journey in search of
asylum in Europe. Access to temporary shelters here, like elsewhere, has been limited due to COVID-19 measures. This means that people in transit, like them, have been left with no other choice than to sleep rough. The impact of the pandemic has been, and still is, very hard on those seeking asylum. Borders have been further tightened, with increasing reports of pushbacks. Alongside this, the pandemic has fuelled negative feelings towards migrants, accused by some of spreading the virus. This has worsened the unwelcoming climate that people seeking refuge are often faced with.

In this small corner of humanity, I met the volunteers from Linea d’Ombra and Strada Si.Cura. Helping the people in transit from Trieste with the basic necessities after such a journey, but most importantly showing them that there is someone who cares. An asylum seeker in Calais once told me, about the NGOs, that even more than the practical help, what is really important is being there, offering a friendly smile…creating a little corner of humanity, as a place for healing, however temporary. For Lorena Fornasir, co-founder of Linea d’Ombra, in fact, “the hardest part every night is walking away, turning your back and going home…”.

All photo ©Chiara Fabbro

Chiara Fabbro
https://chiarafabbro.carrd.co/
https://www.instagram.com/chi.fabb/

Photo editor: Cinzia D’Ambrosi

We are looking for contributors whose work highlights the social injustices that are being intensified or laid bare by Covid-19. Entries are currently showcased monthly journal, however the Photojournalism Hub team is working towards a major event and related activities including a possible printed edition of the Journal.
Please submit your work to Cinzia D’Ambrosi, cinzia@photojournalismhub.org
Next deadline is the 4th February 2021. Further details on how to submit on
https://photojournalismhub.org/contribute-submissions/

What’s On

News and Events from the Photojournalists community

News from f/8 documentary collective

F/8 documentary collective publishes Volume 1 f/8 magazine and all the 125 copies, each one numbered, were sold in a matter of a few days. It is now a collector’s item.
The collective is working on volume 2 right now with Martin Mayer’s pictures of Operation Demetrius- Internment without trial of the Irish by the British, Andrew Moore’s pictures of the Irish troubles from the 90s, David Gilbert Wright story of the pilgrimage up Croagh Patrick in 93, and Mark Pinder’s coal scavengers at the Easington Colliery in the 80s as well as the other member’s sets. The magazines are published by Fistful of Books at a price of £8.

To learn more of the collective and to receive upcoming news on the latest magazines and other items : https://www.instagram.com/f8documentary/



Claire Thomas’s work is at the Xposure International Photography Festival in the UAE

Photojournalist Claire Thomas ‘s work focuses on issues surrounding political and military conflicts, human rights, and humanitarian and environmental crises. Claire is also a frontline photojournalist who has extensively covered the war in Iraq.

In the Xposure exhibition, Claire presents a series of photos from the frontlines war against ISIS in Mosul. A link to the online exhibition is here:
https://gallery.xposure.ae/exhibition/mosul-saving-lives-on-the-frontline/

During the Xpose festival, Claire will also be giving a talk about her work in Iraq and her journey from rural Wales into frontline photography.

To see more of Claire Thomas work: https://www.clairethomasphotography.com/ 

Wondering About West London? Issue3

Wondering about West London? is a local news-based zine run by the Photojournalism Hub and produced by young people living in west. The third issue brings us a great array of photo stories from the tender visual narrative on an elderly couple, street photography and a collective photo documentary on Christmas under the threat of Covid-19. The zine is accompanied by the wonderful illustrations of two young participants of the project.

Wondering about West London? Issue 3 brings amazing creative, resourceful and touching content from a youth perspective. The work produced in and around west London is a meaningful impression of our times through the young eyes of talented local budding journalists and photographers. 

I am immensely proud for this achievement and I would like to renew my gratitude to W12together for supporting this worthwhile project – Cinzia D’Ambrosi, Editor in Chief.

INJUSTICES & INEQUALITIES: COVID-19 EDITION 5

As Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world, it is increasing social injustices and bringing inequalities to the forefront. In this fifth edition, documentary photographer David Gilbert Wright shares the touching photo story of Paul, a homeless man who he became friends with during the current pandemic. This photo story highlights the impact of years of austerity on the most poor and exposes the further impact of the outbreak on them.
The story of Paul speaks of the many which were already at the receiving end of funding cuts and support and they now in a lot worse conditions.
These are issues we need to see, reflect upon and action.

Homeless and Locked Down
Paul’s Story

by David Gilbert Wright

It was springtime, and the weather was beautiful. The skies had been clear for several weeks and the sun had been warming up the earth. But this was no normal spring. England was in the grips of an unknown pandemic and the Government had ordered a lockdown. Everyone but a few, were staying home. Buses and trains were empty, roads were empty and we were all trying to adapt to a new way of living. Rules about when you can go out and for what were in place. The population were being ‘frightened’ into believing that hundreds and thousands would catch this new virus and many would die. I was out walking the dog in nearby woods when I came across a tent pitched deep in a thicket, out of sight. I was intrigued. It took several more days before I plucked up the courage to investigate. That was when I met Paul. He was homeless and living in these woods. He was locked down too! Over the next 3-4 months I got to know Paul and he is the subject of this story.

Paul is 52 years old. He had a brother who died in his forties and a sister. He told me that his Mum left home when he was 15 years old. That was the start of things. “I left home and came to London. London was a terrible place back then and being homeless was very dangerous. I was sleeping rough when some one picked me up and took me along to a kind of hostel. You had to ‘book’ a night and then get out in the morning. I think they felt sorry for me and gave me a job sweeping and cleaning the rooms. That saved me. I lived in a house in Thurrock at some point and had a sort of job. I had to go sick and so I lost that job and couldn’t pay the rent so they evicted me. I have been on the move ever since. I don’t like towns. They are too scary. I decided to get a tent and live out in the country somewhere so here I am”. He got up and started to make a little fire. “Now it is warming up, the midges are starting to get on my nerves so I light a fire and the smoke keeps them away” he said laughing.

Paul often walked up to the town. He had broken his hip some time in the recent past and suffered from terrible sciatica. “I have to take pain-killers” he told me, “so I come up to the chemist every week or two to get me repeat prescription. Trouble is, people try to mug me and take my drugs”. We sat for a while in the warm sun and then this woman came along. Her name was Lizzie. She told me that she was what some call a ‘sofa-surfer’. “That’s someone who is homeless and manages to get a place to sleep in someone’s house.” She was in her 50s and had been homeless since the breakdown of her marriage. She was very guarded but alluded to being badly abused and beaten by her partner until she couldn’t stand it anymore and managed to escape. She had several grown-up children and managed to see them occasionally but she also was living a hard life. She told me how difficult it was in the winter. ‘We both try to find something a bit more permanent if we can because you can freeze at nights’ Paul told me.

We were talking in his encampment in the woods one day and he started to tell me about his Faith. It surprised me somewhat. He rummaged around in his tent, beer can in one hand and pulled out a book. It was the Pilgrim’s Progress by Chaucer. I see myself as a kind of pilgrim, always on the move. I am like the guy in the book, in search of something. It is something I can identify with. He rummaged a bit more and pulled out another book. “This is my Bible”. He said “I pray everyday. I try to speak to God. I think He loves me despite my faults. He loves me unconditionally. He does not expect me to change. I feel he forgives me for all the stuff I have done. He is my rock. Later that morning, we were walking up to the town together and he started reciting the Lord’s Prayer.

I asked Paul what he did for food. He told me that he visited a food bank in Brentwood. He told me where it was and I realised that it must take him nearly an hour to walk to it because he was very slow, due to his arthritis and needing a crutch to help. “They are very good and deliver stuff to me sometimes”. The food bank only opens twice a week between 10 and 12 midday. Paul was not usually an early riser. I often got to his tent mid-morning to find him sound asleep. “Jem looks after me. He will always open up if he is around”. So one afternoon we set off on the walk to the Food Bank. We talked about all kinds of things as we walked. Steve was the priest. He found a whole lot of food and Paul was so pleased with the large tin of assorted biscuits, like you get at Christmas. It was then that I realised first-hand how important these food banks are to people like Paul.

“I used to have another guitar but when I stayed a night with this woman she stole it and sold it for 5. Probably spent the money on drugs. Someone gave me another one then a bloke grabbed it off of me. I chased and tracked him down to this shed and got it back. Thing is, the E string was broken, that’s why I haven’t managed to replace it yet. I do a bit of busking to earn a few bob. I like Reggae and Punk and usually do a bit of both or improvise”. He started strumming something with a reggae beat and then sun along. He was making the words up and they were about him and his God or ‘Jah’ as he liked to call Him. On another occasion, we were walking past a charity shop and he saw a violin in the window. He went in and persuaded the assistant to let him try it out. Clearly, Paul was musical. When he came out, I asked what he thought of the violin. “The strings on the bow were all frayed so it was not a good bargain”.

“Some guys came to my camp one night and tried to rob me. It is very dark here in the night and they didn’t have lights. I am pretty good in the dark because I know where everything is. I managed to roll away into the undergrowth and just hide. They couldn’t find me and got very angry. I heard them say something and then heard a ripping sound. Once they had gone I discovered they had ripped me tent. This isn’t the first time” he said pulling out a roll of Gaffer Tape and starting to repair the ripped canvas. Camping out in the woods his not such a halcyon existence!

As the days wore on, I noticed Paul’s demeanor change. He didn’t seem so happy-go-lucky. At one point in June he disappeared for a couple of weeks. He had a phone but often as not, he had no credit or it the battery was flat. Out of the blue, I got a call from him. He told me he had been in hospital. I asked what was up and he said “I have been feeling very low and things got to much and I tried to top me self”. He told me he was being transferred to another hospital and hoped to be out soon. I went by his camp each day to check on things and one day I found him asleep in his tent. He was out of food so I went with him to the food bank. Jem was just leaving but when Paul told him about his illness, he agreed to open up and give him some supplies. Jem went off inside and we sat out in the sun. Paul was sitting very quietly waiting. I couldn’t help seeing the picture in front of me. Here was someone who really needed to talk.

While Paul was in hospital his tent got vandalized again. “Someone slashed it again” he said. I told him I had seen a bunch of teenage kids riding around his camp. “All me stuff got soaked cos the rain came through the whole” he lamented. Paul looked like a shadow of the man I had first met. As we sat quietly, he hung his head and said “I’m not happy, I don’t like living like this. People think I’m happy but I’m not.” I could see he had tears in his eyes. He looked up to the sky and shouted “This is not Heaven!” It was then that I realised that he yearned for the safety and security of a home and a family that many of us take for granted.

I saw Paul several more times then he disappeared and I never saw him again. I don’t know what came of him. All I do know is that when I went back to his camp one evening, I found that his tent had been pulled down, poles broken, bedding scattered around and his clothes flung into the surrounding bushes. Then I spotted his guitar or what was left of it. It was completely smashed up and the pieces were strewn around near what used to be his campfire. But that wasn’t the thing that really got me! As I looked around I noticed something white under a bush amidst the leaf mold of the forest. I went closer and realised I was looking at the discarded copy of his Bible. It was open at the penultimate chapter of the New Testament. It is about Jude, who was also a traveler. He went from city to city spreading the gospel. His name was Judas but has become shortened. He was a living example of faithfulness to Jesus Christ, in contrast to Judas Iscariot who betrayed Him. The picture of the Bible, its pages dirty, crumpled and tattered is a poignant ending to this story about someone who was also ‘discarded’ and homeless during the Lockdown.

David Gilbert Wright
https://www.davidwright.photography/
Insta: #davidgilbertwright


If you have work which highlights the social injustices that are being intensified or laid bare by Covid-19 please submit your work to the Photojournalism Hub. Next deadline is the 4th January 2021. Please submit your work to Cinzia D’Ambrosi, cinzia@photojournalismhub.org
Further details on how to submit on our Submission page https://photojournalismhub.org/contribute-submissions/

Photo editor: Cinzia D’Ambrosi

Wondering About West London? Issue2

It is with great pleasure to present the second issue of Wondering about West London? a news-based zine run by the Photojournalism Hub and kindly supported by the resident-led partnership W12Together.
Wondering about West London? is produced by young people living in west London and covers local news and stories. This second issue reflects on the impact of Covid-19 on our communities with photo stories on isolation among the older generations and business owners’ survival. It shares the hopes of young people post-Covid-19 through a series of photo portraits and interviews, illustrations and a day in the life of an avid food lover and great young chef.
Wondering about West London? issue 2 brings amazing creative, resourceful and touching content from a youth perspective.
I am immensely proud for this achievement and I would like to renew my gratitude to W12together for supporting this worthwhile project – Cinzia D’Ambrosi, Editor in Chief.

Wondering about West London?Issue1

It is with great pleasure to present the first issue of Wondering about West London? a news-based zine produced by young people, run by the Photojournalism Hub’s West London Zine young people project and kindly supported by W12Together.
This first issue of Wondering about West London? reflects on the second national lockdown and its impact in west London. The young team shared their impressions through interviews, photo stories and illustrations. You can find interviews on business owners and their experiences on keeping their business alive. interviews with secondary school children sharing their experiences on learning, illustrations, and young people bus journeys to school during a global pandemic.
I am immensely proud for the commitment, talent and drive demonstrated by the young participants and I would like to renew my gratitude to W12together for their support. – Cinzia D’Ambrosi, Editor in Chief

JUSTZINE ISSUE 6

It is with great pleasure to present the 6th issue of JustZine magazine and with great sadness to announce that this is the final issue under the Photojournalism Hub ‘s Mayor of London Culture Seeds support. In JustZine Issue 6 we focus on protests. It is an open interpretation on this topic, because protests which have become more and more embedded in our societies, can take many forms, from personal change, activism, to protest for our ideals or personal goals. Acknowledging protests summarises the diversity of the challenges that we face in today’s world. Contributors have shared articles and photo stories responding to the theme and shared coverage of protests, activism, the people behind them and shared their personal protests. In this issue, we also present the wonderful contributors to the project and let you discover a little of their lives through their profiles. The young reporters, photographers, poets and artists behind the courageous, committed and honest journalism have a showcased profile produced by young photojournalist Fatima Sanchez who put forward initially the idea, and passion in producing these. As the chief editor of the JustZine, I am very proud for the commitment, talent and drive demonstrated by the participants of the ‘Youth Zine West’ project run by the Photojournalism Hub, who produced this issue. I would like to renew my thanks to our founder the Mayor of London and the Culture Seeds team. This has been an amazing and enriching experience for all of us, and we sincerely hope to find means to continue sharing local stories. – Cinzia D’Ambrosi, Editor in Chief

West London Zine

West London Zine is a Photojournalism Hub ambitious programme that provides practical opportunities and media experience and training for youths (16+).

The project enables participants, under the guidance of a media professional facilitator, to work on their own journalistic and photo stories which are then published to produce an online zine covering local news.

The project provides the invaluable opportunity to publish own work, generate content for a working Portfolio and receive practical guidance and mentorship. The outcome will leave the participants with a body of published work that can assist them in accessing further education and/or work placements.

The project will equip the participants with:

Reporting Skills
Photography
Editorial Skills
Digital publishing

To learn more on the project and/or would like to hire us to run a West London Zine project within your organisation, please email: cinzia@photojournalismhub.org

‘WEST LONDON ZINE’ is kindly supported by W12Together.org

Knowing You

Knowing You is a Photography and Storytelling project working with women of different faiths and backgrounds living in White City to inspire self expression, bonding and community cohesion.

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©Cinzia D’Ambrosi

‘Knowing You’ is a Photography and Storytelling project with a community focus that uses the teaching of visual narrative as a means to educate, instil empowerment, erase barriers and foster community cohesion.
The first ‘Knowing You’ project took place with women of White City and it allowed a safe space for women of different faiths to meet, get to know each other and produce a body of work that encourages self expression, bonding and contributing to community cohesion. Women learned photography and storytelling by developing a photo story of each other, which it culminated with the production of a photo book
The Knowing You project is among the 40 selected projects ‘deemed exceptional’ by this year’ judges and the Faith & Belief Forum that have provided support, respite and are working to make London a city that is inclusive to everyone and continuing to do so despite the challenges posed by the current pandemic.

KNOWING YOU PHOTOBOOK

Knowing You has been Awarded a Recognised project by London Faith & Belief and Her Majesty’s Lord Lieutenant of Greater London’s Council on Faith. The ‘Knowing You’ project has been kindly funded by the charity Near Neighbours

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INJUSTICES & INEQUALITIES: COVID-19 EDITION 4

As Coronavirus continues to spread throughout the world, it is increasing social injustices and bringing inequalities to the forefront.

In this fourth edition we show you two strong photography contributions. Firstly, Erhan Us shares a powerful insight into women’s lives and the harm that is inflicted upon them by patriarchal family structures in Iran which is being exacerbated during the pandemic. Secondly, Jo Fountain shares interviews and photographs that focus on the pandemic’s impact upon communities in Manchester.

These are issues we need to see, reflect upon and action.


Mummy

By Erhan Us


The Mummy Project is created to criticise the ‘ornamentation’ and disidentification of women in Iranian society that have their freedoms and preferences exploited. Since lockdown, I wanted to raise awareness on the harm patriarchal family structures incur onto women’s identity and equal rights.

About Erhan

Us is a conceptual artist and author. After studying at Bilkent University in TH Management; he was granted to 25+ local and international / honorary awards. He has participated in 70+ exhibitions in 20+ countries. He continues his studies in Sociology & Philosophy at Istanbul and Anadolu Universities. Us is a member of Photographic & Visual Arts Federations, whose book ‘Digital Prestige’ was published in 2018.

Website: Erhanus.com

Instagram: @ErhanUs


Community

By Jo Fountain


“It is true that this world
where we have difficulty breathing
Now inspires in us only evident disgust
A desire to flee without further ado
And we no longer read the headlines”
A Disappearance by Houellebecq

This photo project aims to break down social barriers to reflect how people have stood together as a
community during this time despite extreme isolation. It allows us to see the common threads of
human experience and within this highlight inequalities and injustices amongst us. There is a power
of support and acknowledgement that this is a shared responsibility. We stand together to create our own narratives. The portraits have been collected from around Manchester in the UK and with an open brief people were asked to write messages and signs to summarise their experiences or give words of support out to the world. The response has been varied, highlighting familiar phrases,
funny, invites protest, politically charged, esoteric, others personal. Accompanying  the portraits are
interviews collecting oral histories of personal experiences and issues that have been highlighted
such as effects of isolation on mental health, issues with state support responses, social care, lack of
funding, and prejudices that have been brought to the foreground to be questioned.

Overwhelmingly people have struggled with the constant and crushing weight of relentless news
stories covering daily atrocities and global crisis. There is a network of support around you if you
look for it and take part. The window acts as both a lens and a reflection on the messages that have
been created. It highlights the power of the word, graffiti, and protest banners. Even in simplified
language, and sometimes especially, there is a  re-narration of our view of the world.

Meave’s Interview

Meave Cohen

It’s been awful. Just fucking awful. I’ve had many conversations with people and
they’re like “I don’t think the pandemic’s been that bad. I’ve been able to think about
me and do my yoga and do my music and do my cooking and I’m like fuck you. Tens
of thousands of people have died. Fuck you. I’ve absolutely hated it. I genuinely
thought I would never see my mum again and that was awful. I’ve not been able to
see my niece, like, see’s only a week and a half old but … my brother wasn’t even in
the same fucking hospital when his baby went blue. It’s been fucking awful.

 
It’s been really tough with my mum but even that’s loads better now. Since we’ve been
able to see her she’s been loads better. We can’t ‘see’ her, see her, we can just see her
through the glass but now that she knows we’re alive I think she’s … I rang her yesterday.
So when you ring her you sing songs and sometimes she would join in and sometimes she
doesn’t. But yesterday she was singing all the songs and then she made up a little song.
She made up this little melody, so I finished singing a song and she just kept singing this
little melody she had made up. Adorable. We’re four of us, she’s got four children and
we’re all really engaged with her care and really engaged with all of it…. old people with
Alzheimer’s I can’t imagine, like millions of people would have died of loneliness.

My friend has got a chronic lung condition and he’s gonna get a letter through the door
soon saying it’s OK, you don’t have to shield anymore. He isn’t going to go out the house.
If he gets it he will die. So he’s going to loose his job now because the government said he
can work now, but he can’t work. They are just not able to test or trace where anything is
so you are having these local flare ups like Leister is in lockdown again. Apparently
Bradford is really bad and fucking nobody knows what’s going on because they never
managed to get rid of the virus anyway and they can’t test for it, or trace for it in the way
that would be useful because they’re fucking useless. So people like him will just never be
able to leave the house. Or, when am I ever able to give my mum a hug? Children died,
children died on their own, it’s awful. Then you’ve got fucking Dominic Cummings driving
up to Durham. It’s just awful. People died alone, people couldn’t hold their dying children. 
I’m working on this local economic… it’s called Local Economic Development but it’s
basically how local authorities shape their economies. It’s called Community Wealth

Building, and the whole idea is retaining and creating wealth within the communities. So
right now we have a model, for example, if a hospital got it’s laundry done by a local
supplier instead of say, Serco. That wealth goes back into the local area, so that local
people get employed to do that work and they then spend their money in the local shops
and cafes.

In my opinion they should have had lockdown much earlier than they did. Not like you can
go out one exercise a day or… like all of that shit that was completely un-policeable so
everyone is just doing the fuck they wanted. Obviously we don’t have a fucking police
force because they cut that to shit so they had no-one to police it anyway but .. got rid of
the virus then we could have had a gradual easing of the Lockdown.. But because we
didn’t really lockdown hard enough and we definitely didn’t lockdown early enough we’re in
this kind of semi-lockdown, until when?
 
This is a crisis of globalisation. This crisis basically means the end of Globalisation
because it was able to travel so fast and because when trade ceased and when the
borders closed, Britain in particular was in a real problem because we don’t have places
that produce PPE or places that produce hand sanitiser and we had to mobilise our
industries to try and create these things and we had mass shortages. This is why the
supermarkets ran out of food. Instead of having spare stuff to sell it’s as and when you
need it, and we’re gonna have to move away from that model. Basically we have to make
our supply chains much smaller to be able to cope with things like this. People are making
tonnes of money out of this it’s perverse. So people that already have money can make
more money but people that have no money are just fucked.
 
The entire world is in transition and transitions are very unnerving and we have no idea
what the other side is gonna look like and it’s incredibly anxiety inducing then on top of that
hundreds of thousands of people had died. And you read things like today the US has
bought up all of this specific drug. It’s not a vaccine but it’s basically like right well so…
Africa can just die. India can just die. Europe can just die. So the way that patents work is
that you make money out of curing diseases, which also applies to pandemics. It’s just
fucked. So you have to disengage a bit, I think.

Pete’s Interview

Pete Keeley

“I was freaking out because I couldn’t get any food, and it was like what the fuck,
how am I going to do this!?

I stick my foot out of the window with a bucket on a string and wait for attractive
ladies to come and give me food. But I’m still waiting for them man! I’m starving!

I joke. Dad dropped some stuff off and my mate Mark came with 4 big bags of stuff and I
ate chicken boob for about 25 days. The government food package took about 3/4 weeks.
I could have dropped dead in that time if people hadn’t have been there. It was pretty nuts.
For a lot of understandable reasons people have been very critical of the governments
response, but once this food thing was started it was incredible the way that they were
getting through to people like us. I got a letter from the the doctors saying that I needed to
shield. The way it effects Cerebral Palsy is that even when I get a cold, if I start coughing,
my whole body shakes and I have to hold on to something to stop myself falling forward.
My body kind of goes all over the place. I think they said that I was okay to calm me down
because I was freaking out.

The next thing was, you need to stop yourself going mad, and work, like I say I’ve not
worked since 1997. I would have gone super loopy without writing for theatre. That, and I
have been making Grandmaster Pea videos. A character I had developed before, who
claims he is the Tsar of the disabled, although he is self-appointed. 

I kind of felt that there was something coming and I needed to be more safe than other
people. I got this feeling and I just shut the door and that was it. That was 3 and something

months ago. I would say that lockdown has been difficult. Just trying to keep yourself
going. Once you’ve found a way of doing that, it’s okay. It was worse for me because I lost
my Mum as well. She got ill last September and died just before Christmas and dealing
with that has been tough. It wouldn’t really go away. I was really close to her and you
know, she doesn’t leave me, but that doesn’t stop you missing somebody. It’s a weird
acceptance but also hell. 

My twin brother is in a residential home which has had people with Covid in so that’s been
a concern, but I’ve been phoning and face timing him and he’s fine with being shut in
because he is on a bed a lot of the time. It’s kind of normal for him. He has the staff and he
has some connection. It is terrible, I’m not saying it’s great, but what I am saying is that in
terms of my brother, he doesn’t come out of his room much, he watches TV so it’s been a
different experience for him because we cannot visit. 

They had the problem like a lot of people, where they couldn’t get PPE, and so thats the
other thing about Grandmaster Pea as well, I gave some of the videos to a comedy night
to help raise money for actors who needed food. That was good, I felt like I was doing
things for other people, at a time when I felt like I couldn’t do anything or help. As a

disabled person, you don’t actually get the opportunity to give back to people. This was a
time when I could do that. 

I also gave money to the NHS in Mums memory, because she was a midwife, and quite
complicatedly she was a midwife, and we were born on the ward she ran. She had brought
many babies into the world and saved them from the fate that me and Christopher were
not saved from. She always blamed herself I think. We had conversations about it, I think
she wanted to be working and giving birth at the same time. I think she felt guilty, which
she shouldn’t have done, but I think that she did, bless her. Unfortunately the NHS let her
down a number of times. So, that was difficult because everyone was clapping and I was
angry and annoyed, but I still gave money to them. 

When she died she wasn’t treated well, they made what was a very difficult situation
worse. They said under no circumstances can you move this woman as she won’t be able
to walk, and that’s what they did. It’s really difficult to process that kind of brutality. I mean
this is a woman who gave years of her life caring for people. She learnt Arabic in the early
70s and felt that people should be understood. That was the incredible thing about her.
What killed me, was she was that compassionate and helped people and that’s how the

NHS sort of thanked her for it. So I have a really weird relationship with them. I mean when
the thing with PPE happened I gave money to that immediately. A big chunk of money, not
that I’m a millionaire but I felt it was important. The idea that people were risking their lives
to save other people, it’s an amazing thing that people wanted to do that, and that they
were brave enough to do it. The idea that they were not being given the support was just
disgusting”

Pete
Jag
Claire Mooney

To keep up with the story, or take part please visit lockedinlight.com or re-post your own using the signedtimes hashtag. Extend perceptions, deepen resonances, reinforce connections. Jo’s has a background in Visual Anthropology, oral history and photojournalism.


Instagram: @Jo.fountain


MANY THANKS TO OUR CONTRIBUTORS

If you have work which highlights the social injustices that are being intensified or laid bare by Covid-19 please submit your work to the Photojournalism Hub. We will be adding a dossier page on a monthly basis. Submit by October 30th to be included in the next dossier.

Photo Editors: Laura James & Cinzia D’Ambrosi