Lockdown creativity of LSFMD photography students

During lockdown we all had to find new and innovative ways to continue working and studying. Like many students of visual arts disciplines, the students of BA Photography and BA Visual Effects at UWL suddenly found themselves having to rethink their assignment ideas to fit the environment they found themselves restricted to. They created interesting perceptions of everyday life in lockdown. With limited in-person contact with the outside world due to restrictions, the inside of the domestic home became the new backdrop and family members were now the subjects of portraits, creating beautiful images of life during a pandemic. These works are displayed as part of Exposure 2020 which is the online degree show for BA Photography and BA Visual Effects consisting of a website and a 3D virtual exhibition space. The show was also featured as the main event in the Artsfest for LSFMD in 2020. 


‘Joshua’, Katie Welshman, 2020

‘One Day’
Katie Welshman is a 22-year-old student finishing her degree in BA Photography at UWL. Katie’s project is about loneliness.  Initially, she was going to explore loneliness in the city, but due to Covid-19 this changed instead to represent the loneliness many of us feel at this time. The work is influenced by the photographer Philip-Lorca DiCorcia because of the beautiful lighting in his work and his ability to capture portraits so effortlessly. All images depict Katie’s brother, Joshua, where they have both worked together to represent states many of us how found ourselves in to get through the pandemic.
Katie comes from a fine art background, with an interest in fine art photography, documentary photography and street photography. Her aim is to work further in photojournalism, and document people’s lives and tell their stories. In the future she hopes to change people’s mindsets through her work, and introduce them to circumstances they may not be aware of otherwise.

Rudraksh Thakur, Mumbai, India by Puja Bhatia, 2020

Puja Bhatia – ‘Miles Away’

This series was made by Puja from her apartment in Dubai. Using video calling, she was able to communicate and collaborate with friends in different cities across the world, planning outfits, poses, and lighting together. The collaborations were often playful, with friends dressing up and repurposing different parts of their homes as a backdrop. The settings were chosen as a place where the sitter could be calm in the face of a global pandemic. The series plays with the challenge of art directing a photoshoot, usually a hands-on process, at a distance. The series shows how a degree of closeness and friendship can be maintained using technology.

Puja grew up outside Mumbai, India. She later moved to Saudi Arabia and lived there for almost 10 years before settling in Dubai. Photography was a family legacy, from her grandfather, to her mother and her sisters. They created a spectacular family album. Puja enjoys taking fashion, advertising, portraiture and documentary based photography. She loves creating series-based projects and collaborating with other artists.

The work is also available to view as a virtual gallery https://www.artsteps.com/view/5eb294226a379e6fa4d99433
Creative People and Places Hounslow Visual Arts Programme created ‘Home’, an exhibition of work by ten students on the BA (Hons) Photography course at the University of West London, based in Ealing, and its partner institution Deutsche-Pop, based in Germany and Austria. The exhibition includes the works shown above by Katie and Puja, as well as many other talented students including Daniela Torres with Isolation in Dark Times; James Murray with My Family During Quarantine; Marta Woźniak with Home 2020; Martyna Taraszkiewicz with Deteriorate; and Keren Sequeira Bedroom Isolation Self Portrait with Brother (shown here in exhibition poster).
This image was taken by Keren as part of her final Major Project for her photography degree. Lockdown forced her to rethink her project, and she came up with the idea of photographing the space she lives in, and reveal just how isolating it is. She shares the room with her teenage brother, and her family also received a letter from the NHS determining isolation for 12 weeks. Sharing this small space is a challenge indeed. Even to get this one shot was a struggle. This image is a rare chance to see into another person’s most intimate space.  Because she can’t go out, Keren was inspired to push herself and create something at home in Hounslow. (https://hounslowvisualarts.org.uk/exhibitions/home/)


Paul Lohneis, Head of the London School of Film, Media and Design, said: “As home has become the space where we work, socialise and learn during lockdown, it can also inspire new creative outputs. This exhibition offers a fascinating insight into the everyday life, feelings, and hopes of our students as they explore their own lives as artists within our community.”

The exhibition is available online at hounslowvisualarts.org.uk and the collection will also join a touring exhibition within Hounslow Libraries.

Jan Lennox, Director, Watermans and Creative People and Places Hounslow, said: “Watermans is delighted to form this exciting collaboration with UWL through our Creative People and Places Hounslow programme. Our programme is about getting our local communities engaged with high quality arts and we hope that people in Hounslow and beyond will see this fantastic work by talented students living in their community – and perhaps are inspired to create their own lockdown images.”




Representations of the exhibitions above are stored digitally in the UWL archive for future generations. The UWL archive is collecting archives relating to the experiences of UWL students and staff during the pandemic. This could be in the form of a poem, photos, artwork, leaflets, letters, cards – anything which shows what life for the UWL community was like during these strange times. Memories such as these will help us explain how our lives were impacted by such a significant event as the pandemic and how we as a community adapted to continue learning and teaching here at UWL. If you have any material, whether digital or physical, which you would like to contribute towards UWL’s Covid memories project, get in touch with archivist Anne-Marie Purcell anne-marie.purcell@uwl.ac.uk.