A Clapham photographer’s Covid-inspired snaps of people sitting on a Clapham Common bench have bagged him a three-month slot for his latest exhibition – Covid Tales From Tom’s Bench.
On each day of August 2020, Jim Grover would photograph anyone who sat on the same park bench and ask them how Covid had affected their lives.
Tom’s bench was erected in memory of the owner and operator of Honest Tom’s , a 24 hour/365 days a year snack wagon, there for 30 years and was regarded as something of an institution by its regulars.
Since Tom’s passing last year, Nadine, who has worked in Honest Tom’s for 27 years, fills a vase attached to the bench with fresh flowers each week.
Jim said: “Everyone who sat on Tom’s bench has been through what we’ve all encountered over the past few months.
“But the impact on individual lives has been so varied, from surprisingly rewarding to absolutely harrowing.”
Jim’s subjects were people from all walks of life, from students, to bikers, to government workers to a black cabbie.
One of those subjects is Dave, owner of ‘Dave’s Paws’, a professional dog walking, cat feeding, and pet sitting business.
He has been coming to Honest Tom’s for six years as it’s on his daily dog-walking route.
Dave said:’‘Our business has taken a massive hit.
“We lost a few dogs where clients lost their businesses although we’re still walking their dogs for free. All our cat business went out of the window because, obviously, no one is going away and leaving their cats.”
This being just one sample from the exhibition, through the power of photography and story telling, the varied experiences are documented through 28 sequential photographs.
The imagery also portrays the passage of time through the weekly fresh flowers on the back of Tom’s bench that wilt and die in the August heat.
Covid Tales From Tom’s Bench will run until December 31, 2020, at Omnibus Theatre, 1 Clapham Common Northside, SW4 0QW.
It can be viewed online at www.jimgroverphotography.com
Please support your local paper by making a donation
Please make cheques payable to “MSI Media Limited” and send by post to South London Press, Unit 112, 160 Bromley Road, Catford, London SE6 2NZ
Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick has encouraged everyone in the country who can afford to do so to buy a newspaper, and told the Downing Street press briefing recently: “A free country needs a free press, and the newspapers of our country are under significant financial pressure”.
So if you have enjoyed reading this story, and if you can afford to do so, we would be so grateful if you can buy our newspaper or make a donation, which will allow us to continue to bring stories like this one to you both in print and online.