'Revealing' the unseen virus on film

BBC

10th February, 2021 02:30:17 printer

'Revealing' the unseen virus on film

When the coronavirus hit the UK, Nicola Muirhead, like many photographers, set out to record her experience.

She photographed the people and places around her but soon felt the images needed something extra to bring the unseen virus home to the viewer.

After some experimentation, Muirhead began to treat the pictures with a variety of "ritualistic disinfecting", exposing them to household cleaning products meant to help stop the spread of coronavirus, such as hand sanitiser, soap, and bleach.

"I started investigating ways in which I could metaphorically 'reveal' this unseen virus in my pictures," she says, "to expose its lurking presence in the skin and air and manifest it in my pictures - to identify it - marking this time in place in our history."

The images have a dreamlike quality.

"Many appeared almost apocalyptic and dystopian, with fierce fiery reds, yellows or greens - mirroring the intensity and volatility of the world, both socially and environmentally, under the pressure of the Covid-19 outbreak," Muirhead says.

She continued to shoot throughout the year and is now looking ahead to what will happen next.

"No matter the outcome, the new world will never be the same again," she says.

"Our perceptions of the familiar will be approached with a subconscious foreboding.

"Simple moments will be questioned and monitored.

"Mental health will become a household discussion

"And a new way of life is inevitable."

 


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