I grew up in London and since I finished training I’ve been shooting business in The City. It’s 15 years since I was first sent to The Bank of England and confused it for the building opposite.
In all that time; nothing has shaped the feeling on the streets like the events of the past month. The coronavirus has hit hard, it’s changed our way of life on an immeasurable scale and forced people from the streets. The impact on the economy has seen markets plummet leaving the financial landscape looking desolate; just like the street’s of The City in lockdown.
For the past week I have been documenting the City for Bloomberg News. As lockdown started a week ago commuters were still coming in but in all honesty as I walked the streets yesterday the numbers had dropped significantly and I was struggling to find people to give scale to the images.
Navigating one way systems, bus lanes and traffic lights is normally one of the most arduous commutes known to man. The drop in road traffic and pedestrians only somewhat mitigates the toil. People who have ventured into the city are either jogging, en route to work or hurrying to the nearest supermarket – faces covered in scarves or masks.
It’s so surreal to be walking the empty streets at the moment. The population of pecking pigeons normally found outside Lloyds accompanied only by loan smokers. With every shop’s shutters closed, lunchtime midweek almost feels like 07:00 on a Sunday.
Things have changed, I began bringing a bike in with me as it’s the easiest way to get around, my camera bag now contains hand-gel, face masks and rubber gloves. I keep my press card at the ready for the inevitable police checks. It’s a far cry from the freedom I’ve enjoyed for my entire career.
These are strange times and I’m privileged to be able to record them for the future. Stay safe everyone.