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UK photographic archive created to preserve life in lockdown

Coralie Datta.

By Sam Russell
A collection of photographs showing life in lockdown will be preserved in an archive following an appeal for the public’s help to create a “time capsule”.

People responded in numbers with images of clapping for carers, rainbows, empty streets, social distancing, home haircuts and the natural world.

It was the first time since the Second World War that the public had been asked to capture a moment in time to be saved in the Historic England Archive.

Organisers set out to select 100 images, but after receiving almost 3,000 submissions they chose 200 for the Picturing Lockdown Collection, which can be accessed free online.

Claudia Kenyatta, director of regions at Historic England, said: “The fascinating response to our Picturing Lockdown call-out sheds light on our collective and individual experiences of lockdown and provide a snapshot into this unusual time that will be accessible for future generations to see and learn from.

“Our thanks go out to all who submitted their work, to our 10 contemporary artists, and to our photography team who have produced an inspiring range of images.”

People were asked to share images documenting their experience of seven days in lockdown from April 29 to May 5.

The final collection, which has been expanded due to the size of the response, consists of 100 public submissions, 50 commissioned works by 10 contemporary artists, with the remainder from Historic England’s photographers.

Historic England said the project aims to “spark conversations about identity” and has now “created a unique and reflective record of a week across the nation, during this extraordinary moment in history”.

The pictures can be viewed at

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