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  • Writer's picture Tony Brown Photography

'Soho In Lockdown' Shot Shortlisted as One of the Top 10 Documentary Shots of 2020.

Updated: Nov 8, 2020

A shot from my Lockdown in London series has been selected from over 5000 international entries in The Spotlight Photography Awards

Back in March of this year, London and the rest of the UK was experiencing the worst of the Covid-19 pandemic. In order to curb the tide, the country went into lockdown. The once busy city streets of London, suddenly fell silent as the population barricaded themselves indoors, only emerging for essential supplies and Deliveroo arrivals. It was an extraordinary time for the nation. However, life now has returned to our streets to a certain extent and collectively the feeling is positive that the end is in sight, hopefully!

At the peak of lockdown in London, I decided to hit the streets and capture the scenes and the mood of the capital during this unprecedented time. My trip took me to the West End of London, to Soho, and there I shot what I saw. Its one of these images that has included in The Spotlight Top 10 Documentary shots of 2020! A prestigious award that I am very proud to be a part of and I'm privileged to be nominated alongside so many other great photographers.

The Background to my Nominated Shot from the Lockdown in London Series.

During the lockdown in March, the weather was generally warm and unseasonally sunny. In order to truly capture the mood at the time I waited until a particularly miserable, rainy day in the city before I embarked out with my camera. My destination was Soho, traditionally the epicentre for tourists and locals looking to party in the capital. Knowing that these streets would now be empty and with a backdrop of pouring rain, I felt it was the perfect place to capture the deserted nature of the city.

I spent the day scouting out possible locations to shot from, trying not to be distracted by the near apocalyptic vision I had in front of me. It's hard to focus, to work, when you see the city you love in hibernation. Cosy pubs shut, buzzy bars closed and all of Chinatown's eateries empty. It was odd to say the least and upsetting more so, but I battled through the rain and my emotions and eventually spotted a heavily graffitied phone box that I knew would make a great frame for my shot. In a previous post, I spoke about my Lockdown in London Trip and I mentioned that it wasn't all doom and gloom during this time, and it bares repeating. There were a lot of smiles behind the masks that day. At a safe distance people were still friendly and as a nation of people we have always had a great ability to overcome the worst and look forward positively - and this shone through in many of the people I saw during my trip.

A Graffitied Phone Box on Wardour Street

Once camped out in front of the aforementioned phone box, I waited, and waited. The box in question was situated on Wardour street, a road that runs from Leicester Square, through Chinatown, across Shaftesbury Avenue to Oxford Street. It's a street that is full of bars, pubs and restaurants that are busy all year round - meaning the pavements are always packed with pedestrians, but not today. I waited nearly half an hour before someone came in to view, luckily the man coming towards me fitted my shot perfectly, and with rain soaked hands, I took as many portraits of him as I could in the short time available.

The end result was this very strong image, which I entered into the Spotlight Awards run by ProductionParadise. This is the third year of these international awards and this year there were approximately 5000 entries it is judged by 50 experts from the industry with over $30,000 in prizes up for grabs.

The standard is extremely high and images from the other shortlisted entries can be seen here-

Patience is Key in Photography

One of the key qualities of being a good photographer is patience, especially when taking outdoor portraits. During my Lockdown in London trip, mine was tested, but it was definitely worth it! Along with my nominated photo, I was able to capture so many amazing editorial images that I am very proud to have taken - shots that accurately document this hopefully, once in a lifetime event. If you would like to see more shots from this series and read more about my trip, please check out my other post here.

As a result of the exposure I've had enquiries from several people interested in acquiring this image which is fantastic.

This shot will therefore be available as a Limited Edition print in due course. If you or anyone you know may be interested please feel free to get in touch via my contact page.


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