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PICTURE THIS London April 2020

Haunting images of the capital in lockdown

IT’S difficult not to think of the 2002 post-apocalyptic horror film 28 Days Later when looking at the images of London in the early stages of lockdown framed by photographer Mike Goldwater.

The eerie emptiness of the city in the opening sequences of that film — which centres on the breakdown of society following the accidental release of a highly contagious virus — have an echo in the striking filmed images he took while cycling around the city.

They are, he says, a “creative response to the lockdown” and were inspired by a film made by friends of drifting in real-time along the river Stour in Kent by canoe. “I thought a ride through empty London filmed from my bike might work as well.”

His aim was to try and capture the emptiness and strangeness of London and that’s particularly true in the images of the Aldwych, St Paul’s from the Millennium bridge and the Underground. While you might be able to appreciate the architecture, there’s an aching absence of people.

There are not many human interactions in the photographs but Goldwater felt it important to include banners and signs people had made and attached to railings beside Mile End Park on Roman Road in east London.

“As well as highlighting the government’s numerous failures over PPE, I found the personal stories of loss, love and gratitude and hope that seemed to be behind each one particularly moving,” he says. “The cuts to black [in the films] evoke lives lost to the virus.”

The film can be viewed at


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