In May this year Ben was commissioned by South London & Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust to shoot the project “Covid 19 - Life Through a Lens to celebrate the compassion, dedication and determination shown by their staff and volunteers throughout the Covid-19 pandemic. It reflects the diverse range of staff working on the frontline and behind the scenes to keep mental health services running. The project was launched as an exhibition at Maudsley Hospital in early October.
Over the course of 3 months Ben was given access to a wide variety of NHS projects where the staff and volunteers provided a lifeline and vital support to so many people through the South London community
From clinical staff, to those working around the clock to keep services running - including crisis teams who responded to rising demand as people struggled with the pandemic,
The infection control team who adapted guidelines for the challenging environment of a mental health ward
Estates and Facilities staff who rapidly set up and adapted wards.
“From the first moment I read the brief for this project I wanted to be involved. As a photographer and visual storyteller, I was excited by the opportunity to meet, to listen to and then portray the many wonderful staff and volunteers that have worked tirelessly throughout the pandemic.
This has clearly been a very difficult time for mental health services, and I have been incredibly moved by the people I have met, how they have adapted and found ways of overcoming the many challenges faced over the last two years has been truly humbling.
It’s been such a privilege to be able to contribute to Covid-19 life through a lens and help celebrate the people at the heart of these services, sharing their stories for many generations to come."
My approach was a mixture of a reportage style and classic portraiture. I wanted to show the staff and volunteers working in their environment and then contrast those images with "mask off" portraits outside to try and show compassion and the spirit of these incredible people. Even though they’ve been through what will probably be the toughest working environment they will ever have to face, they still smile and laugh and that gives us all hope."
Ben works for a variety of international clients and is represented by Global Assignments agency and is available for commission.