Olivia Harris’ Photo Book Has the Power to Make Us Feel… Nostalgic About the First Lockdown

March will mark two years since the first lockdown which for many seems, in many ways, like a lifetime ago. 

Upon first glance, Olivia Harris’ photo book ignites memories many of us have otherwise suppressed. Not a single mask is featured, nor queues for toilet roll or meetings over zoom. Instead, what is captured is real life at home. The experiences that took up the bulk of our 24 hours in real time. 

From household birthday parties to sunbathing on our front door steps, Harris’ images capture the unique and momentous elements of the shock caused by Covid.

Harris describes Days of Repeat as a “sun-soaked, dazzling take on Londoners coming to terms with the lockdown”. “There was a dreaminess and unreal quality to that time. After the initial buzz of panic, a sense of common purpose and community emerged,” the photographer reflects. “It was beautiful to witness how people came together by being apart. I guessed that it would be a unique, fleeting moment and I wanted to capture it.”  

The photographer’s creative process was kept simple, partly due to Harris using her one hour of exercise outside a day to take the images. “I put my lights in my bike pannier, my camera and lenses in a backpack and cycled around the neighbourhood looking for subjects,” she explains. “I went as far north as Tottenham and south to the river and Tower Hamlets. I wanted to fully represent the types of people who live here and the range of lockdown experiences. I think the quotes I gathered alongside the images help to do that.” 

Days on Repeat is out now via olivia-harris.co.uk

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