Updated: Oct 24, 2020
These photographs were taken in April 2020 as the impacts of the Covid-19 pandemic were beginning to stretch across the globe. London had been on #Lockdown since March 23rd and we were getting used to a very different lifestyle to how it was at the beginning of the year. Panic buying had stripped the supermarkets of food and we were only allowed out of our homes for one hour of exercise per day.
On one one of my exercise hours in early April I decided to go for a bike ride. Cycling up through Westminster, towards Soho and Chinatown, I was amazed to see completely empty streets. No cars, no people. As I stood in the middle of the road on Westminster Bridge it felt like a scene from 28 Days Later.
Trafalgar Square - empty. Chinatown - empty. Piccadilly Circus - empty. I shoot a lot of night photography in London and even in the earliest of hours I've never seen the streets so quiet. It felt a little uncomfortable to be out there with a camera so I didn't stop anywhere for more than a few seconds to grab some documentary shots and move on. That first day I cycled for an hour through all of the iconic places in Central London I could think of.
The next day I went out again. I wanted to cycle the roads, usually so busy, noisy and polluted to see what they were like. Again I saw a vacant capital. I could stop in the middle of Oxford Circus crossroads and see no traffic in any direction, or cycle down The Mall towards Buckingham Palace and no encounter a soul. These were the places where only a month earlier shoppers would queue in their thousands and tourists would snap images on their phones.
I passed back through the City, via St. Paul's Cathedral and over the Millennium Bridge to head home along the Southbank, my favourite part of the River. Click through the photographs below to see how eerie the streets were.
When the restrictions were relaxed slightly I cycled further and visited Greenwich. The photograph on the left below was taken last summer when people were relaxed in the sun in what now seems like very close quarters, and on the right the view that greeted me when I most recently visited Greenwich Park during lockdown.
I leave you a few more shots from lockdown around London from Borough Market, to King's Cross, Paddington and beyond - all empty. I felt it important to document London as it was in those weeks, as it hasn't been before and as I hope it won't be again.
Head to the Lockdown London portfolio to see the full gallery and purchase artwork of the quiet city streets in the Shop section
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