lifestyle

Stunning portraits celebrate people who have had their Covid vaccine – and what it means to them


Husband and wife photography duo teamed up to capture the poignant images (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

After the year we have all had, it is no wonder that for many people, getting the Covid vaccination is a really important moment in their lives.

We hope that it signals the beginning of the end. The slow and steady return to normality, to socialising, to getting on with our lives. For many they will finally be able to stop shielding, which has been a big trigger for loneliness.

A husband and wife team has collaborated to create a stunning collection of portraits os people just after having their vaccines.

Professor Paul Wenham-Clarke and Anita Clark are both photographers. Paul
is the professor of photography at The Arts University Bournemouth and Anita is a freelance photographer. Paul’s work has been featured in The National Portrait Gallery, Somerset House and the Victoria and Albert Museum and on the BBC2 Culture Show.

Their latest project is a celebration of the vaccine programme – and what this moment means for the people who have had it.

‘I have been trying to make work to record these Covid days and up to now it has been very difficult to get anyone to agree to having their picture taken,’ says Paul.

‘There is the fear of infection, but probably the biggest worry is that most of us need a good a hair cut and have put on a few pounds and the thought of recording it for posterity is not so attractive.

‘However, once the vaccine started to be rolled out I really noticed a difference, the mood lifted and people are now a lot more positive. My wife Anita is a photographer as well so we work as a team and she was instrumental in finding the people for us to photograph.’

The pair took the pictures outside in people’s gardens and made sure to keep their distance.

‘It was quiet a funny sight to see,’ says Paul. ‘What looked like a photography studio in the middle of someones’s lawn. We got some funny looks from the neighbours and passers by.’

Quinn Leslie, 16, student

Quinn Leslie (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I got the vaccine because I am vulnerable as I have a lung condition, bronchiectasis.

‘Think about others and by having the you are also helping them especially those that cannot have it.

‘This year I have had no exams, no prom and I have not seen my friends, but I’ve been lucky, some people have had it way worse.’

Kathryn Leslie (Quinn’s mum), 50, Bookkeeper

Kathryn Leslie (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I got the vaccine because I am vulnerable as I have a lung condition, bronchiectasis.

‘Don’t think of it as a selfish act, you are really helping others. It is very similar to having the flu jab, it takes just a second and then it is done. If you have concerns, talk to someone about them.

‘My year of Covid has been home-schooling, food and walking. I have missed not seeing my family in Wales and friends, but I am grateful that my husband, sons and I have been together at home.

‘Without a doubt, we are extremely grateful for the NHS and all the key workers – amazing people.’

Nicky Mercer, 46, pastoral practitioner at a SEMH school

Nicky Mercer (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘It’s important that I have the vaccine to protect those that I care for and to save lives.

‘I want to get back to normality and to save lives of loved ones and others.

‘My Covid journey has reduced so much stress for me. Its also made realise whats important to me.6’

Faiza Bailey, 45, retail sales assistant

Faiza Bailey (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I got the vaccine to stay safe and stay around for my children, to see their future.

‘Please get the vaccine, it’s a very small risk compared to losing your life and breaking the hearts of loved ones.

‘In this year of Covid I have survived through chatting with friends and family. I’ve lost family directly and indirectly through Covid, who may have been around longer. Definitely appreciate every conversation more now.’

Bal Bahia, 54, GP partner

Bal Bahia (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I got the vaccine so that I could lead by example, and protect myself and those I look after.

‘I would want to speak to people who are hesitant about the vaccine and find out what their concerns are.

‘This year has been a mixture of fear driven adrenaline and the community spirit of people coming together whilst refocusing on what’s important.’

Kamal Bahia, 53 digital transformation programme manager

Kamal Bahia (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I had the vaccine to be able to safely return to work in practice, lead by example to demonstrate the safety of the vaccine and try to return to the new normal.

‘Countless people have received the vaccine and we can all see the effect it is having and the good it can do. Go and get it done.

‘I have responded to this year by trying to calm and soothe fears, encouraging people that we can do this and doing positive things through engaging in active response, then frustration, then fear, then finally hope.’

Muneeza Abdulla, 25, paramedic

Muneeza Abdulla (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘The vaccine is important myself, colleagues and patients safe. To anyone that is wary, that it is understandable but I think it is something that should be done for the greater good and will take us one step closer to a normality.

‘This year of Covid has been scary and unpredictable but also something that has made me stronger and proud to work for the NHS.’

Stephanie Tedjo, 26, paramedic

Stephanie Tedjo (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘I think the hesitancy about getting the vaccine comes from worries about the potential side-effects and the perception that its production was rushed, but people need to weigh this against the risk of becoming severely ill and the potential long term effects.

‘There is enough evidence to support the vaccine is safe for distribution and is highly effective.

‘The year of Covid has created a significant imbalance in my work and life balance but equally has made me appreciate how privileged I am to have a secure job and been able to travel in the past.’

Len Clark, 88, ex-member of 9th Parachute Squadron

Len Clark (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘It was important I got the vaccine as I am old and I have a pacemaker so I don’t think it would have gone so well if I caught the bug.

‘The vaccine is an amazing achievement and there is nothing to worry about. Just do it.

‘My year of Covid to be quite honest has been absolute murder. Locked indoors and not seeing relatives has made me feel like a caged animal and sometimes I have been so down. I have got confused what day it was and who cares anyway, there all the same.

‘I have lived through the Blitz and in 1942 our home in the East End of London was blown up and I was evacuated to Hungerford in Berkshire.

‘Back then there was comradeship and a real feeling of community, were as today we are forced to separate because of the virus and that has made today seem much harder.

‘I feel proud to have been one of the first to get the jab, I might be old but I was showing the way. We are lucky to have such a great set of scientists and NHS workers pulling together and saving the country from this hideous bug.’

Magrete Clark, 70, retired

Magrete Clark (Picture: Prof. Paul Wenham-Clarke & Anita Clark)

‘It was important for me to get the vaccine as I am getting on a bit and I have diabetes.

‘If we all get the vaccine this thing will be over much quicker and life can get back to normal.

‘My year of Covid has been terrible as I have missed my grandkids so much. They used to come around every Sunday and I would make them cakes and male a fuss of them but I have only been able to see them on the iPad or at the bottom of the path.

‘It has broken my heart but we will be back together soon. I look after my husband who has short-term memory loss and it has been really hard, as I haven’t had a single day’s break from looking after him. I really feel things are on the mend now and soon I can do my favourite thing and go shopping again!’

Do you have a story to share? We want to hear from you.

Get in touch: metrolifestyleteam@metro.co.uk.


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