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I Asked People In South London To Write A Letter During The Covid-19 Lockdown
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Photography1 year ago

I Asked People In South London To Write A Letter During The Covid-19 Lockdown

“Writing is different from texting”, several participants have said, after they’ve written the letters.

I asked people in London (South London since it had to be within my walking distance) if they can write a letter to someone they’ve been thinking of or have been wanting to meet since the COVID-19 lockdown began (shot between April -June 2020).

Since the lockdown started, I hear that people began to text more, but phone calls to each other are becoming even more common.

As much as we are scared of what the virus will bring, we are craving for connection and missing someone more than ever.

Letters are one of the most intimate forms of communications in this hyper connected world.

The project participants vary from a seven year old to someone who experienced WWII, from a local bakery to someone who lives on a boat, from born and bred Londoners to those from across the globe.

You can go to my website to read the letters and see more images: https://akiko-dupont.com/portfolios/letters-to-the-loved-ones/

More info: akiko-dupont.com

Emilie and Ismael

Emilie is a mother of three and Ismael, 12, is her oldest son. 


Ismael wrote a letter to the mother earth. “I have been experiencing my current environments differently as I am usually at school, the world is changing and so as my behaviour”. He says that he has realised that as a human being, his behaviour may effect the planet so he thought it’s important to write to earth. 


His mother Emilie wrote a letter to people who are so called the underdogs such as people with disability, mental health, in prison, people who are bullied, or anyone else that you can think of.

Alice

Alice was born and raised in London. She “is a human being most of the time. When she’s a human, she does things like Acting, Producing, Directing, Teaching, Facilitating, Editing and Dancing – breathing in between is good too – and having fun”.

She decided to write a letter to the post-lockdown self. 
She says “my post lockdown self is definitely the focus of my loving attention right now so it felt right.”

Russell

“Liberty is going, it’s gone for me” says Russel the fishmonger.


He wrote a letter to liberty.
“It slipped away. I look around myself and I can still see it but I can feel it taken. My liberty, our liberty. So I wanted to write a letter and say, don’t go, we need you and you’re precious”.

Tim

Tim is an actor, and has been calling his current flat in London his home for more than 40years.
Since some years ago, every year when the birds come back to the building from Africa, Tim welcomes them with the flag of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.


His letter was written to his niece who is a nurse and she have just recovered from COVID-19.

Bell

Bell is the owner of the Bell’s Cafe in Bermondsey Spa Gardens. 
She decided to write her letter to COVID-19 since she has lost her loved one; her mother because of it.
It was the 50th day since Bell’s mother’s passing when we shot the photos.

Chun

Chun is originally from Taiwan and has been living in London for the last 20years or so. He is a trained musician/artist, and currently works at the Kernel brewery and continues to pursue his creative practice when he can.


Chun wrote a hand written letter to his friend Aymeric and his family whom he was planning to visit and got cancelled at the last minute due to the lockdown. “We don’t get to meet often these days, so it was sad having to postpone the visit till a later date. “

Eva

Eva is a Polish pianist, living in London.


Her letter was to her YaYa sisters, her 3 oldest and dearest friends, which name was inspired by a book. They have been through everything together and she calls them “an extra set of siblings”. 
They haven’t been able to see each other as much as they’d like but they always tries to “have meet-ups and every year a mini weekend holiday together in May”, which was going to be the next week of the day we shot for this project. 

Eva’s mother passed away a month ago and she says that it “meant that the people I most wanted to hug and cry had to do it by phone but they have been supporting me every step of the way and kept me going through the strong bonds of female friendship. They made sure I had flowers for my mums grave and rang me daily so in my letter I just wanted to thank them for being there with me and supporting me and I can’t wait to have a party with them in real life soon”. 
www.evamaria.co.uk

Flavio

Flavio, an ICU nurse at the NHS hospital, wrote a letter to his sister in Italy.

The letter was “a sentiment of gratitude towards my family especially to my sister, who I was in touch almost every day during this tough times. This made me realise the importance of having a person like her supporting me from the first moments of my life till now, one of the most challenging time in my career as a nurse.”

Fred

Fred is a 29 year old musician originally from Wales, living in London.

He wrote a letter to his 11 month old nephew back in Wales who he can’t see because of lockdown. “He’s growing so fast it feels like he’s literally changing visibly every day. I’m sad that I’m missing this stage in his life.”
“I told him in the letter never to forget his Welsh roots, because they were so important in giving me and my sister positive identities, a sense of belonging and lessons in the power of community. I also made him a promise that I’d always be there for him, so he’ll have the letter forever as a guarantee.”

“COVID-19 is probably going to change the arts and music industries permanently on every level” says the musician. “We might not see a return to the way things ‘once where’ for quite a few years, mainly because of the tiny margins most arts venues and performance venues operate within (which were already stretched!) will now be unworkable. The successful acts going forward will be those who are truly willing to be 100% adaptable, and not try and drag the old concepts of what ‘performance’ and ‘audience’ we’re back then into the post-crisis live music landscape. Everything is going to get smaller in order for people to be able to consume things in bite size chunks on screens, phones and VR goggles. Whilst I’m sad and will grieve for the old way of life and gigging, I feel like I’m ready for those challenges, and am already preparing to leave the pre-conceptions of the the old world behind me and move into the future”.


Jack

Jack chose to write her letter to her late mother, who also died just before she moved to South Dock Marina, to express how relieved she was that her mother was no longer here during the virus. “She would have been 95 years old and had lived in London during the second world war and was no stranger to hard times, but she may have been in a care home or even isolated at home. This would have caused much pain for both of us. Writing this letter has enabled myself to be content with the fact she is no longer here, and I am happy to not be sharing these strange times with her.”
 
Jack have lived on Greenland Dock for 9 years aboard Osprey and 1946 custom launch boat. She is a graphic designer, design educator and have a small studio where she makes prints.
“Living amongst an amazing community of kind and thoughtful people during the lockdown has made the past 2 months special in many ways. Many of us have volunteered making visors for care and health workers, which was set up by 2 women who run a business in the boatyard. Making the visors over a 4 week period has enabled myself to wake with a purpose, to share laughter and to really get to know each other. Without this we may have struggled much more. At times we were angry too, why have we had to raise money and dedicate time to make PPE when the government failed.”
“My Mother would have either just got on with it or would have ignored the advice and just gone shopping!”

Joan

“Born and bred in London” as Joan says, she was born in Greenwich just before WWII began and has lived in London all her life.


She wrote a letter to her son, since the last time she met him was few days before the lockdown began, which is more than 7 weeks ago.
She misses him dearly.
“I cannot wait for the day I can hug him again”

Andres

Andres, first came to London back in 1999 from Colombia to study and continue playing football. His love for baking and pastries goes back to his childhood and he now volunteering at the bakery The Little Bread Peddler, where has fans across the city. 


He usually visits Colombia at least once a year but because of the Corona virus situation, he doesn’t know when he’ll get to see his daughter again. This letter was written to his beloved 14year old daughter in Colombia.

Natalie

Natalie chose to write her letter to the people and life she was missing rather than one person.  She explains “With one person I can pick up the phone or send a message. It’s being part of the magic of spontaneity that occurs when you put a few inspirational people together that I miss the most.”
 
Natalie is a London based ambidextrous artist. She strives to capture the essence of pace and movement. Her art is based on interaction with the environment, observation of human activity and spontaneity, and is produced in a variety of different media. 

Viveka and Rahul

Originally from India, Viveka and Rahul are couple that are based in London.
Viveka is a holistic health & wellness practitioner and an artist/filmmaker and Rahul is a singer/songwriter and music professional. They both believe in living creative, sustainable and holistic lives.

“We chose to write a letter to our 6 month old niece, whom we were to meet for the first time this month, but that got held off for the time being. We wrote from this time of lockdown so that she can read this in the future and remember. We hope that this future generation makes better, kinder choices for the world and reverses some of the mistakes made before theirs”.

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