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Aladdin's Cave - Pete Hammond


All photographs were captured during the Coronavirus lockdown. 

Overnight we all became prematurely and temporarily retired. we no longer had to work, I still had an income and we were left to fill our days as we pleased, but staying within the lockdown rules. 

On the surface this series will appear as a love letter to my boyfriend, Dan. Which is partly true. To me, this series is a recording of emotion, a portrait of two newly familiar people being locked inside together for a potentially lengthy period of time. Dan and I met at the start of February and by late March we decided to self isolate together, blocking out the outside world. 

We suddenly became each other's only form of human interaction, or at least an interaction that wasn't an awkward conversation on a street pavement with a two metre gap either side. The only exception was our daily conversations with Anne, a middle aged woman who worked on the till at our local supermarket. A woman that I grew to love because she was so sour, didn't respect the two metre rule and seemingly hated everyone except us. 

As everyone always does, we had our phones glue to the palms of our hands. We both were in constant contact with our friends and family, but it was never the same as physically seeing or talking with them in real life, it had its limits and etiquette. People don't want to hear about how bad your cabin fever is, they want to recommend you mediocre things to watch online and tell you about all their new short-lived hobbies they have developed. 

If Dan and I were having an off day, I couldn't call my friend and unload my brain to them, as Dan would be in the next room, able to hear everything and quietly judging me. So we were forced to be transparent with each other and ourselves, knowing when to vocalise a feeling and when to silence it, often whilst laying in a bed next to each other. Self isolation with a new love was like a social experiment, something I expected my neuroses to sabotage. Though I came close a few times. 

As the weeks went on and our familiarity with each other deepened, we were able to see each other in our true forms and not the ones that we presented on our online dating profiles. Our love went deeper than the honeymoon sex stage and needing constant attention and validation. We managed to unlock a stage that we may of not been ready to reach in terms of our time together, but I'm glad we have. 

Though it is awful to say out loud, as I've been fortunate to survive this period of time. 

I've loved the lockdown. 

Pete Hammond, 2020
210 x 146 mm 

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