Local photographer Jamie Sinclair captured how residents, businesses and organisations came together during the early days of lockdown in 2020.
Sinclair was walking to his favourite local cafe, Mae + Harvey, in mid-March, when he noticed that they had transformed into a makeshift convenience shop.
‘They were just completely changing their model on the fly. They were losing business but they were just doing what they could to keep going. They were selling milk, flour and other products that had run out in supermarkets.’ The owners of Mae + Harvey would eventually go on to be in this photo essay.
Impressed by how the entire community was adapting to these new and strange circumstances, Sinclair went out to capture how everyone: businesses, individual residents and organisations, were helping one another.
He photographed Barge East and Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen, who were both involved in charitable efforts volunteering and donating food to key workers, all while their own businesses were closed.
‘Part of the project was about businesses helping people and in turn, those people supporting local businesses,’ says Sinclair.
He also photographed individuals involved in local Covid-19 mutual aid groups.
‘Everyone just jumped into action, helping out their neighbours who are mainly strangers to each other,’ he says.‘The core of the project was to capture positive actions by local people.’
In fact, the more he looked into the local area, the more deeds of goodwill and solidarity emerged. The photo essay below also shows ‘socially distanced book swaps, where neighbours would leave books for each other in public spaces, and trolleys of donated food carted from St. Paul’s Old Ford Church to Bow Foodbank.
These photos were taken on film, usually during sunsets and sunrises, to achieve their naturally warm colouring.
For another of our photoessays, read about Tower Hamlets teachers’ strike on ‘Walkout Wednesday’.
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