The image of a shuttered high street on a sunny Saturday is nearly as emblematic of the COVID-19 pandemic as nurses clad in personal protective equipment or graphs depicting exponential growth. In particular, it is the signs on the bolted doors of independent shops that feel the most poignant — some putting on a brave face, others apologetic, others still simply informative.
This is a brief photographic typology of those signs, taken on the sixth weekend of lockdown around New Cross, Deptford and Greenwich, south-east London. The images attempt to depict not only the signs themselves but also the surrounding atomsphere, with the reflections and ghosting in the glass as resonant of these times as the actual signs. Contrasting with the gloom, though, there is the bittersweetness of the actual signs’ contents and forms—homespun, hand-drawn, colloquial—which aims to earth the series and offer a sense of humour and brief redemption.