Leeds & West Yorkshire

Bradford teenagers' lockdown photos show 'different side'

A Portrait of My Sister, Kasey Surtees, aged 14 (detail) Image copyright Kasey Surtees
Image caption Kasey Surtees, aged 14 , submitted A Portrait of My Sister

A series of 50 photographs taken during lockdown by teenagers in Bradford are to be displayed throughout the city.

Photographers aged between 13 and 18 documented their experiences for the Through our Lens project.

The pictures are to be displayed on billboards, houses, lamp-posts and school railings.

Carolyn Mendelsohn, who led the project, said "teenage stories were not being seen" during lockdown, despite the massive upheaval for youngsters.

"Their lives had been turned upside town, schools shut, exams cancelled," she said.

Three giant billboards featuring nine images taken as part of the project were unveiled at The Shipley Club, in Bradford earlier.

Flowers in Ice, Amilah Majid - aged 14 (Detail) Image copyright Amilah Majid
Image caption Flowers in Ice, by Amilah Majid, aged 14. The 20 participants did not need to own a camera or have done any photography before. Ms Mendelsohn said: "I told the photographers 'I want you to make mistakes, don't try to please me'."
Self Portrait, Alice Duckworth, aged 17 Image copyright Alice Duckworth
Image caption Self Portrait, Alice Duckworth, aged 17. Ms Mendelsohn used weekly video sessions to explain composition and lighting techniques and suggest tasks the teenagers might follow
Inside and Out, Hamza Saraj aged 14 (detail) Image copyright Hamza Saraj
Image caption Inside and Out, Hamza Saraj aged 14. The resultant pictures were "so honest" and showed "a different side of lockdown", Ms Mendelsohn said
Self Portrait, Erin McVeigh aged 14 Image copyright Erin McVeigh
Image caption Self Portrait, Erin McVeigh aged 14. Ms Mendelsohn said: "It produced absolutely exceptional work, people have been taken aback by the result. Although lockdown has eased the story doesn't finish"
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Words from the Heart, Esme Duckworth, aged 13 Image copyright Esme Duckworth
Image caption Words from the Heart, Esme Duckworth, aged 13. Ms Mendelsohn is now working with another 40 youngsters and some of 20 original photographers are working as mentors to the new group
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Slow, Jennifer Adams aged 16 Image copyright Jennifer Adams
Image caption Slow, Jennifer Adams aged 16. The city-wide display is due to be the first of a year-long series documenting the response of the West Yorkshire city to the coronavirus pandemic.
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