Students’ photographs capture connections in coronavirus times

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The distanced but shared experience of lockdown living is one of the themes captured in images by Photography students who have used their ingenuity and digital skills to create virtual exhibitions displaying their work.

In previous years, second year undergraduate Photography students have organised exhibitions throughout Chester city centre after working together on a project for their Collaborative Practice exhibition module.

This year, their new brief coincided with the last national lockdown in January, but undeterred they came up with novel ways of collaborating with each other to produce three very distinct exhibitions.

One group shared photographs digitally, to create new hybrid images which focus on the connections between people in times of coronavirus and lockdown, showing ways everyone is bound together even though they may feel alone.

Another group noticed that while they were scattered between Wales, the Wirral and Chester, they were linked by water. They used their time for daily exercise to take photographs in their local area on this theme, with the exhibition again highlighting links between people and places.  

A third group challenged themselves to create striking portraits of family members or their social bubble, placing a spotlight on people they have close connections to.

The students have presented their work using the online exhibition platform, and in doing so, have learned new skills in digital exhibition design. 

The exhibitions can be viewed at:

Kayleigh Quinn, second year Photography student, said the pandemic created several challenges in finding ways to collaborate such as communication and missing the experience of physically hanging work but they also learned new skills.

She said: “Working virtually on an exhibition was both challenging and beneficial.

“It was enlightening to me discovering the opportunity of creating my own exhibition space step-by-step within Artsteps, which could be customised to accommodate an audience and make them feel as if they were stepping into a real gallery. This was especially important to me as I know myself how much of a struggle it is being away from spaces you love during this time, especially if using them for inspiration.

“The time which I spent tweaking was the most important stage to me; I wanted the work to have the full coverage it deserved and the audience to have the best experience possible.”

Dr Tracy Piper-Wright, Deputy Head of Art and Design and Senior Lecturer in Photography added: “The students have demonstrated real ingenuity with their response to their Collaborative Practice exhibition module this year. 

“They have shown how their skills of exhibition curation and presentation for an audience can be carried into the online space with great success.

“I’m very proud of the students and would encourage people to have a look around the virtual exhibitions and see all that they have achieved.”