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We got a call from Dasa Wharton at the beginning of April outlining an ambitious project to document the island and its society under the Covid 19 Lockdown. Over the ten weeks of lockdown, she created a series of environmental portraits of some of the key and essential workers in Jersey, as well as other islanders. The collection of images will be part of the Island Lockdown collection at the Société Jersiaise Photographic Archive.
The inspiration for this project came unexpectedly, after Dasa’s father died in Prague at the beginning of April. Unable to travel to the Czech Republic, and support and grieve with her mother, she picked up her camera
and started searching for strength, inspiration and resilience – finding all of those things in the people she photographed. Her work highlights the often unseen world of key and essential workers, and her images celebrate the strength and determination of those people who kept the island of Jersey going through these unprecedented times.
Dasa’s work had been featured in numerous newspapers and magazines, as well as in the Ardani Artist’s “Impresario”, a prestigious publication of commissioned images by some of the greatest photographers in the world. She is the official ballet photographer for a distinguished international blog Gramilano. For this project, Dasa is planning to bring her images into an open public space, and create an outdoor exhibition that would be accessible to the wide community. She has support from the Parish of St Helier and Signtech and is looking for corporate or private partners to take this project to a wide visual stage.
“In my pre-covid-19 life, I spent lots of time travelling and photographing some of the best ballet dancers in the world. Now, while this part of my work has been put on pause, I had the chance to take a closer look at what’s happening around me – so many interesting and inspiring people; through my images I want to record, celebrate and share their work and their stories”.
Revd Mark Bond
St Brelade’s Church
I met Mark a few years back, when I photographed a wedding in his church. I loved his personality and the humour that he brought to the service. I love this image as it resonates many feelings that I have been going through over the last few months; isolation, loneliness, but also hope and new beginnings.
This image was taken in a short timeframe. At Vienna Bakery the busiest time is early morning with lots of things happening at the same time. It’s obviously hard to ask a baker to pose if he needs to hot bread out from the oven but Decio was accomodating. I can still smell the fresh bread when I look at this image. Despite the mask, I love the strong , confident expression.
Director J3 Ltd
Photographing Marc in the Nightingale hospital was something I will never forget. The atmosphere of the vast space and the empty hospital beds stayed with me for days. Marc showed me around and it was fascinating to hear him talking about the massive construction project that he was leading.
I photographed Juliette on a really wet day after a long shift. The rain miraculously stopped for the half an hour we had together and the deserted beach added to the atmosphere. I loved talking to Juliette about her work and how many more female officers there are now compared to just seven years ago when she started in the role.
Dr Fiona Nelson
Fiona is my personal hero – always smiling, attentive, re-assuring, organized, helpful, funny. I could carry on… She helped me to access the Hospital to photograph her and her colleagues, and allowed me to take photographs in the operating theatre. I loved every minute of it I could create a whole sub-project with the images from the hospital.
Dr David Howell and Ann Trotter
The Urgent Treatment Centre, Jersey Hospital
Thanks to Fiona I was able to visit the Urgent Treatment Centre and capture images the fantastic staff. I witnessed how the protocol worked when a patient with suspected COVID-19 was brought in. I had a chance to document the procedures and was so impressed by the work of the doctors and nurses. We’re so lucky that we have these people looking after us.
I worked with Ann as a junior doctor a long time ago! She previously was the lead sister of the Emergency Department. She came out of retirement to help with the Covid crisis and use her incredible skills to lead the Urgent Treatment Centre, which was invaluable. I wish her all the best for her second retirement.
The Market trader
I met Gracie 12 years ago, soon after we moved to Jersey She was teaching surf club with her brother Joe. I took some photos of her while she was surfing, and loved the opportunity to photograph her again with all the beautiful produce from her fields.
Sir and Lady Dalton
It is always an absolute pleasure to photograph Sir and Lady Dalton; they both radiate positive energy. Because of social distancing rules, I photographed them from outside their front door. I have huge respect for both of them and am over the moon to have this image as part of the project.
It was very humbling to be asked to participate in this amazing photographic project of Jersey during the Covid-19 of 2020 which Dasa started during a time of great personal sadness. Dasa has such an engaging personality which transmits through her camera lens capturing ‘that moment in time’ , the image revealing the subject’s true self without ever realising she has even taken the shot! Still in good condition, the mask I am wearing was one that belonged to my late mother who was a medic for many years, and in those days was required to make and hand- stitch her own masks for when working on various procedures! Sound familiar?!
Chef, Samphire (photographed at Les Charrierres, where he had been working during lockdown)
I love how people changed or adapted to the new situation that Covid 19 brought. Alex is a prime example of that. When Samphire temporarily closed, he and his colleagues started working in a number of care homes.
(his parents are key and essential workers)
Toby spent the lockdown going to school. I loved talking to him and was blown away by his energy, observations and his flexibility and adaptability to the new settings. We could learn so much from this amazing boy.