Like many of us, photographer Jemima Yong is spending a lot of time indoors due to the restrictions caused by the spread of coronavirus. But she has been drawn to document a small piece of land outside her London home. Here, Yong talks about her work, entitled Field 2020.
“During the lockdown, I have been working from home at a desk by the window where the sunlight comes in.
“I can’t help but notice every now and then what is going on outside.
“From here, I can see a green where some spend their precious outdoor hour – exercising, walking their dogs, or simply playing – except on their own or in small groups because of social distancing. It is within this new distance that a story of solidarity can be read.
“Typically, I work in the theatre photographing and creating performance.
“I am drawn to the ways in which photographs can capture the intangible – relationships, atmosphere, the essence of things. I seek out the spaces in between people that evoke a sense of story.
“In Field, this way of seeing is turned outwards onto everyday life.
“I began to photograph the activity on the field in black and white to abstract the images, drawing attention first to textures, lines, shapes, gestures, and then to the space and its meaning.
“As I made more photographs, a visual pattern began to emerge of people alone together, energetic and active because of or – in spite of – their solitude.
“Distance is the subject, perhaps more so than the people themselves. It feels as though I am photographing a social change much more than I am individuals.
“The green is not large, yet people have been respectful of each other’s expanded personal space.
“In a dense city like London, it is hopeful to see my community able to share a scarce resource in a sort of unspoken solidarity: a portrait of a collective adapting to a new normality.”