Bermudian photographer’s Covid-19 images featured on UK’s BBC
A Bermudian photographer’s series on the Covid-19 pandemic created with Polaroid shots treated with disinfectant and cleaning products has been featured by the UK’s national broadcaster.
Several of the photographs from Nicola Muirhead’s Unseen project were highlighted on the British Broadcasting Corporation’s website.
She added that her work had been bought by the BBC before and that it was the first time the spread had been published in the UK.
Ms Muirhead said: “I have worked with the BBC before, so it wasn’t ’out of the blue’ getting the work in front of the editor.
“But it is still a matter of knocking on doors and pushing the work out there – this is the reality of freelance work.”
Ms Muirhead, a freelance documentary photographer who lives in London, was speaking after the striking images were published in a BBC photo spread on Wednesday.
The collection included several snapshots of herself and her partner, as well as everyday items, taken while Ms Muirhead was stuck at home over London’s first lockdown last March.
Unseen drew extra interest because of the use of cleaning chemicals to treat the images.
Ms Muirhead said that the “dreamlike” and “apocalyptic”, effect was designed to highlight the prevalence of the coronavirus.
She added: “We live with an anxiety around the coronavirus, even though we cannot perceive it, and I really wanted to try and convey that anxiety and that presence by taking the Polaroids and physically altering them with the disinfectants we use to prevent the virus from spreading.”
Ms Muirhead said the idea came to her at the start of the March lockdown.
She added she found several packs of Polaroid film and decided to use them to document the pandemic.
Ms Muirhead said: “I knew that Polaroids could be manipulated in various ways and I thought ’wow, we’re using so many chemicals right now’, so I just decided to apply them to the photos.
“The more I sort of played around with different kind of disinfectants the more dramatic the effects started to look.”
Ms Muirhead added that she included about 40 photographs in Unseen and pitched them to several publications in May.
She added that the photographs accepted by TIME and The Atlantic ran in the spring and summer.
Ms Muirhead said Unseen was praised by members of the public, who messaged her to say the images “resonated” with them.
She added: “I suppose what I want people to feel when they see the images is perhaps that sense of this new reality we’re in and to feel assured that it’s not just their imagination.
“I really just wanted to point out that yes, this is a reality – we are living in a time right now that is almost like science fiction.”
Ms Muirhead said she hoped the series would be published as a book in the near future.