When the first lockdown came into force in March 2020, thousands of frontline health and care staff began an intense period of working 16-hour days, seven days a week, putting themselves directly in the path of the Coronavirus, often with very little protection.
Photographer Jessica van der Weert documented the individuals during this time.
From July 1 to August 1, more than 30 images taken during the six days she spent in hospitals can now be seen in a new free exhibition at the Royal College of Physicians called Selfless.
It aims to reflect on those dark days and tell the stories of NHS staff who were at the forefront of the worst health crisis for a generation.
The exhibition is composed of portraits plus a series of images taken in intensive care and palliative care settings, along with photos taken while accompanying paramedics, a district nurse and volunteer workers in a temporary factory set up to urgently produce much-needed PPE.
Van der Weert said of the exhibition: “The level of tragedy that occurred during this time in history, we must not and cannot be allowed to forget.
“Photography allows us a vital window from which to view these historical moments.
“My wish is that in sharing these images now, in years to come they remind us of the tragedy that befell the nation, the incredible efforts made by health and care workers in response to that time of acute crisis and what we can achieve as humans when we support each other.”
Pictured: Nurse talks to a concerned father, while his toddler daughter looks directly into the lens as an episode of Peppa Pig plays on the wall-mounted TV Picture: Jessica van der Weert
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