Photography graduate used her creativity to get through lockdown
Photography graduate Josephine Martin used her creative skills to share her experience of shielding during the first Covid-19 lockdown.
The Wakefield-based photographer, who graduated from The Northern School of Art in 2018, is part of a collective that documented young people’s lives during the first UK-wide lockdown in March.
The project, called Our Diary, has now been published as a photographic zine called “this too shall pass” that captures life during lockdown from the perspective of people aged 16-25 and explores how people adjusted to life during the coronavirus pandemic – Josephine’s image is pictured below.
Josephine explains that she got involved with the group after spotting an advert on Instagram looking for young photographers wanting to tell their story during lockdown.
“This project for me was very important to be a part of because of my personal experience. Out of the ten members of the group, my household and I were the only ones ‘shielding’ throughout lockdown. At one point I hadn’t left the house (other than the daily permitted walk) or seen friends for around six months.
“Whilst my group were documenting the outside world, whether that be the city centre, shops or their friends or partners, I was stuck in my home with no real connection to the outside world other than my phone and social media.
“The ‘Our Diary’ project was meant to be reflective of a young person’s experience of lockdown but I knew without my voice, the ‘shielding’ perspective wouldn’t necessarily be shown.
“Ultimately I wanted to be a part of this project to show another side of the pandemic that hasn’t really been given a platform or voice. Shielding for my high risk family member has been the single hardest thing I have experienced in my lifetime, it has been isolating, lonely and at times heart-breaking.”
She added that she is also working on putting the finishing touches to a zine to further illustrate her shielding experience: “One of the photos (see below) was actually long listed for the Rankin 2020 Sky Arts competition and liked by Rankin himself on Instagram which was incredibly exciting and gratifying!”
Before lockdown hit Josephine was working to establish her creative practice after moving back to her home town.
“Since graduating I moved back home to Wakefield and found it really difficult to break into the creative sector due to a lack of opportunities in the area so fell into hospitality and retail roles in order to fund personal projects. I think it is important to recognise that not everyone is able to walk straight into their dream job but that doesn’t stop you from pursuing it in your spare time!
“I have been working on a few personal projects since graduating and hopefully will be able to get some real momentum behind them once the world returns to a new normal. The most significant being my ‘sisterhood of the sesh’ project, which I actually started in uni as a response to the theme of religion and its status in Hartlepool and it was the first ever zine I created.
“I’m hoping to create a lot more content for this project and release a new zine under the same name, for now though it lives on Instagram and in my plastic wallets full of film rolls.”
Reflecting on the impact of the pandemic and her reaction to the second lockdown, as captured in the image above, Josephine added: “It has been incredibly hard for me whether that be in regards to my work, social life or mental health. I was unable to go out and photograph anything due to shielding, instead I was at home watching it all unfold through a screen.
“My work has become less of an observation and more of a reflection of my own experiences. My photographs have become a visual diary and I have tried to create a set of images that are strong in narrative individually as well as cohesively in a series.”
Looking ahead Josephine has plans to pursue her photographic career and was back at work, as pictured below, before the second lockdown took hold: “I plan on creating more zines and bodies of work. My main goal is to host an exhibition to showcase my work and celebrate how far I have come as a photographer and artist. Anything on top of this would just be a juicy cherry on the cake!”
When asked what the best part of her time at the Northern School of Art was she responded: “Hartlepool! I have some brilliant memories from living in Hartlepool and the people I met there, it’s such an enchanting place with so many hidden gems and some ace chippies!
“The Northern School of Art was the first time that I was able to meet like-minded people and I will always thank you for that, it was genuinely the first time that I felt I truly fit in and was able to express myself.”
Josephine’s photograph and others from the “this too shall pass” zine were recently exhibited at The Ridings Centre in Wakefield, as pictured. Copies of the zine are available to order at: https://www.merriestudios.co.uk/product-page/this-too-shall-pass-zine
Find out more about Josephine Martin’s work at:
- Instagram https://www.instagram.com/jmartzcreative/
- LinkedIn https://www.linkedin.com/in/josephinemartincreative/
- Twitter https://twitter.com/jmartzcreative
- Facebook https://www.facebook.com/jmartzcreative
Further information about the BA (Hons) Photography degree at The Northern School of Art is available at https://northernart.ac.uk/study-with-us/hartlepool-campus/degree-fda-courses/ba-hons-photographic-practice-2/