Art student, Dalia, capturing her lockdown experience in a single expressive photograph.

Capturing Lockdown Life: Art Students Bring Daily Essentials into Focus

11 September 2020

A project inspired by American artist and photographer Gregg Segal has seen Rotherham College Art students capturing their lockdown experience in a single expressive photograph.

Students were asked to focus on items that have been most important to them during the lockdown and arrange these in the style of Segal, who draws on his background in writing and film to make photographs that are single-frame dramas with a sense of something that has or is about to happen.

Rotherham College Art and Design Curriculum Team Leader Richard Lyon chose Segal’s style as the inspiration for the project to give students a way to engage creatively in producing artwork about their experience of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Richard said: “A number of Segal’s projects use images in a powerful and positive way to give a narrative and an insight into his subjects’ lives.

“Students have found lockdown challenging. Not being able to communicate face-to-face and work practically together has been a big change, however, the level of engagement, creativity and hard work the students demonstrated throughout such upheaval has been impressive. They adapted quickly to online learning methods and have shown excellent levels of resourcefulness and determination.”

Rotherham College Level 3 Art and Design students Megan France and Dalia Hesham Attia both took part in the project and gave their views on lockdown and how they approached the project.

Dalia, a Contemporary Fine Artist, admitted that in some ways lockdown affected her positively.

She said: “I struggle with stress that leads to physical problems, so being able to do things at my own pace gave me the confidence to develop the quantity and quality of work of my work further. I had my fair share of struggles and bad mental health days, but I pushed on and felt motivated by the help of my family and teachers. I was ready to take on any challenge, whether that was by trying something new or creatively using the only materials I had left.

“I enjoyed this project as it made me assess what I class as essential and important. I realised I relied on technology way too much, but somehow it kept me sane through these hard times. All the items pictured are my daily essentials. I purposely displayed them in a scattered way as I already keep things all over the place for convenience – it’s easier that way.”

Megan, who has found inspiration from Pinterest, online and films during the lockdown, took a slightly different approach to the project.

Megan said: “I decided to place each item in an order, so the viewers could see all the items clearly. I automatically knew which items I wanted to incorporate in the piece as I use them on a daily basis, especially now because of lockdown. I enjoyed arranging the items in different positions; I reviewed photos and moved around some of the objects to get a better result.”

Richard praised his students for how they have worked throughout the pandemic. He said: “The students have produced some fantastic and imaginative work, especially considering the limitations they have encountered due to the equipment and facilities available during lockdown.”


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