London-based photographer Lesley Lau takes us on a visual tour of the U.K. in lockdown.
One of the world’s busiest tourist hubs, receiving an average of 30 million visitors in a normal year, London closed to the world in late March as a result of the growing coronavirus pandemic. Pubs and shops emptied of regulars (however reluctantly); the Beefeaters, the guards at the Tower of London, suddenly faced job cuts for the first time in 500 years. When Prime Minister Boris Johnson fell ill to the virus, the situation became even heavier—not only in the U.K. but internationally, as millions around the globe realized that no one was immune.
Still, spring arrived in full bloom despite the city’s quiet lanes. Here, photographer Lesley Lau takes us on a tour of her corner of London in lockdown and reflects on how the past several months have changed both her work and her life.
"Lockdown in the U.K. started at the beginning of spring. Each day I noticed how much the flora was changing: a fleeting appearance of blossoms, new leaves on trees." (Warwick Avenue, Little Venice.)
"I became acutely aware of how loud the birds sounded without the usual background noise of traffic." ( Swans at the Round Pond in Kensington Gardens.)
"A lesson that I will carry with me from all of this is that it is okay to pause and really think about things, rather than always rushing to get that next piece of work or to complete that task.” (Warwick Avenue Station.)
“Perhaps strange, but quarantine has been a really wonderful experience: an opportunity to slow down and take a step back from everything." (Blomfield Road, Little Venice.)
"I’m so grateful to the people working to keep essential services running and [I’m grateful] that I have somewhere safe to shelter. I also never thought I’d get the chance to spend so much time with my husband. I’ve been feeling an overarching sense of gratitude. People didn’t feature much in my work previously and now I would like to change that; maybe that’s a result of seeing so few people during this time.” (Taken at home.)