The Narratives Behind the Pictures

I have previously written an article to talk about an exhibition depicting lockdown experiences in Britian. These pictures from the online Hold Still exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery provide a very touching narrative of the lockdown. I wrote an article setting out my favourite pictures from the exhibition. In this article, I have selected pictures (although not my favourite), giving a narrative and telling us more about the context, background and the person’s intention when taking the picture.

Think about how these pictures convey a narrative to you. Hope you enjoy reading!

Prayers for our Community

I loved how this image captures a sense of collectivism despite people not being physically present. A grand ecclesiastical ambience shows a place for worshippers, and their individual photographs being positioned on every seat. The Religious Minister or Pastor takes centre stage with his arms raised, draped in a majestic cloak to lead his congregation. Although with no worshippers physically, the church is still alive in this photograph with its immaculate lighting through the windows, offering a sanctuary in a timeless space, inspiring hope that one day the community can come together again.

Gimba – The Ward Host

Although this might be a satisfying expression of eating food, the narrative behind this image made me want to hug this lady. The ward host, “Gimba” came to England from Nigeria and this is how the “photographer” described her on the day he took this picture:

“Gimba had received the terrible news from Nigeria that her mother had fallen ill and had been rushed to hospital. Gimba cried all day and was heartbroken that she couldn’t fly home to see her mother and look after her because of travel restrictions during the pandemic. She declined to take any time off, saying: ‘I have to feed my patients’.”

Where’s Grandpa?

Imagine living on your own all of a sudden after your husband passes away during the pandemic when restrictions are in place, so you can’t even seek solace with your daughter and granddaughter.

This picture captures the heartfelt love between three generations. As the photographer explains, “the moment when my daughter, Gaby, could embrace her grandmother, Teri, for the first time, together with her mother Vanessa, a month after her grandfather Kevin FitzGerald died”.

Funeral Heartbreak

On the theme of grandparents, I think this image demonstrates how technology can bring generations together. Despite the national restrictions, technology has enabled us to keep connections and although it isn’t the same as being there physically, this person was able to see his grandmother on “her final resting day”.

Thank You

Apart from this picture being a tribute to medical staff/nurses, I love the element of playfulness and role play. Complete costume cuteness! I found out from the extract of this image, the girl’s name is Amelia May.

You can find out more about her on social media under “Amelia May – Changing Attitudes”. I don’t have an Instagram otherwise I would include a link.

Annamarie Plas – Founder of Clap for Carers, at the last clap

This photograph pays tribute to someone who brought neighbours together in 2020. From South London, this Dutch Yoga teacher “instigated” the weekly clapping on Thursday evenings. It was a chance for all of us to collectively thank the NHS and rejoice in our endeavour to be resilient and patient, to stay inside and help save lives. Thank you to Annemarie Plas for making this happen!

Our Hero

Finally I had to pick an image depicting at least one medical staff in this article, as their dedication and amazing work can go unnoticed.

Medical staff have had a challenging, busy and testing time I’m sure. With reports of a lack of PPE and less resources at the beginning of 2020, medical staff have still managed to courageously treat patients and save lives. The photographer says, “this was my friend getting ready to ‘go again’. This showed the determination that every single key worker has. That Britain has. She rose to her feet moments later, donned her PPE and took on the pandemic head first.”

Thank you NHS! Thank you to all nurses, doctors, medical staff, medical admin staff and the all essential workers we can’t survive without!

Hope you enjoyed reading and be sure to check out the online exhibition Hold Still.

Which pictures resonate with you?

9 thoughts on “The Narratives Behind the Pictures

      1. Thanks, I agree about the work ethic. Canada has the same system or similar, it makes me a bit angry that monthly health care premiums are a super premium. As you say, everyone has a right to decent or better health care.


  1. Thanks for the picture of the nurse and related comments. As the parents of two nurse daughters, both of whom come into daily contact with COVID patients, we are amazed at their dedication and perseverance. We pray for their safety and those of all the medical providers on the front line.


  2. Wow, what an incredible piece, so poignant and emotional. I’m in tears. As a Granny myself, the image of the grandmother hugging her granddaughter really tugged at my heart. I’d have been devastated if unable to see my grandson. As it is I didn’t see him for 7 weeks during the 1st lockdown. I also so felt for the young man watching his grandmother’s funeral. Thanks for sharing this, its beautiful


    1. Oh gosh not at all. I liked posting this as it was like self therapy. Its been so hard on everyone. Yes those pictures are so gripping. Be sure to check out the actual exhibition as you may find more pictures that resonate. Thank you for reading.

      Liked by 1 person

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