Covid-19: Birmingham photographer captures pandemic emotions

Published
Related Topics
image copyrightDonna Bridgewater
image captionRaul said he felt he was "already winning", while Vincent admitted he couldn't wait for the pandemic to be over

A photographer has been chronicling people's emotions during the coronavirus pandemic to create a conversation about mental health.

Donna Bridgewater's project is called Getting Through This - and she's so far taken 40 socially-distanced portraits of people in Birmingham.

She was inspired to carry out the project after her sister took her own life in 2019.

Ms Bridgewater says she's had a "fantastic response" from people who agreed to take part, adding: "It's really given them a platform to open up."

image copyrightDonna Bridgewater
image captionDonna Bridgewater with Leanne, who died in 2019. She said "everyone was very kind" when she spoke to them about her sister

"I lost my sister Leanne in 2019 to suicide and so this project is really special to me, to try and get more people in the community involved and to hopefully link to a range of charities."

Ms Bridgewater hopes she will be able to display her work in the city once the pandemic is over.

"The past few months, I have been connecting with people in the Birmingham community and asking them to open up about their own feelings around coronavirus and the pandemic.

image copyrightDonna Bridgewater
image captionAwah said she felt "trapped sometimes", Catt admitted some days were a struggle, while George was in an optimistic mood

"The aim of the project is not to just portray negative messages, but also positive emotions that can help people to reflect during these uncertain times."

She launched it after headlines revealed an increase in mental health issues during the Covid-19 pandemic.

image copyrightDonna Bridgewater
image captionJosina urged people to stay safe, Luke had feelings of uncertainty and Paulavicius was determined to remain upbeat

"My main aim is for people to be able to look at the portraits and read the messages and think 'that is exactly how I feel today' or to take a positive message from the photograph to help them get through their day.

"The portraits will help to remind people that it is ok to not be ok, and also that the pandemic that we are living in is also affecting other people's lives and feelings."

image copyrightDonna Bridgewater
image captionDonna Bridgewater is also photography teacher at Hereward College, in Coventry, which supports young people with disabilities and additional needs

In 2018, she won a Prince's Trust enterprise award after launching her photography business.

Follow BBC West Midlands on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Send your story ideas to: newsonline.westmidlands@bbc.co.uk

More on this story