Photos capture life in lockdown in the sleepy market town of Keswick

So many photos of life in lockdown have focused in on the usually bustling cities of Hong Kong, Tokyo, and London.

But we’re in a pandemic, and by definition the impact of coronavirus travels further than the post densely populated areas.

Photos by Tim Fisher capture what life under lockdown is like in the sleepy market town of Keswick, in the northern half of the Lake District.

Keswick was the first town in Britain to close down all non-essential businesses, quickly pushing the population into an even more settled down and quiet lifestyle, missing the usual tourists keen to retreat to the countryside.

The market town is home to a population that skews a little older than the norm, made up of people – known as Offcomers – who have landed in the area in retirement to escape the hustle and bustle of busier spots.

Photographer Tim, who also owns Keswick’s Northern Lights art gallery, tells ‘One of the reasons why people have graduated to the town is that there is an understanding that Keswick is a “verb” town, that people “do” things here; for example we have two climbing centres, a GoApe, four bicycle shops, a lake and two marinas, some of the finest hill walking in the country, 18 outdoor shops and a rich history of the arts and crafts movement, of literature, be it Romantic poetics, or more modern day writers such as Peter Rabbit.

‘Speak to almost anybody in Keswick and they are enormously mindful of our collective good fortune, the fact that everybody who lives here can pretty much step out of the back door and walk up a hillside, a mountain, go for a bike ride or a walk down by the lake, and simply not see another person for hours.

‘Counter balance this with the knowledge that most people in he UK live in cities and that in simple terms, many people in Britain are hurting.

‘We all have friends and families, myself included, loved ones who are still locked down in apartments, often without gardens, with little access to open spaces or parks such as we have here.

‘Our thoughts go out to those who are living in Manchester, Liverpool, London, Birmingham for example, locked down in perhaps 10th floor apartments with windows that don’t open fully, maybe with two small children; the simple fact is I can’t imagine what that would be like.’

Tim says he feels a need to document people’s lived experiences of the pandemic, especially looking at the effects of Covid-19 on the Lake District, which at this time of year usually has double the people thanks to summertime retreats.

He finds himself pondering what the longterm effects of coronavirus will be, long after lockdown measures end and the crisis has passed.

‘For some this will be a true awakening, an ability to better view the planet as synergetic, intrinsically interconnected on almost every level, we’re as much worried about our love ones, our communities, and what is going on around the world, and there are some enormous positives to come out of this,’ Tim notes.

‘One aspect of this slowing down is that people are more observant specifically with day-to-day details, something as simple as the birdsong in the morning, the lack of traffic, the better air quality, how much more vibrant the pheasants are somehow, how fabulous the town’s flower beds & planters are looking.

‘Some people simply won’t want to return to what we had before, this is a good thing and should empower an entirely new generation to strive to solve the planet’s problems, by pressing the “pause” button as we have, those who are capable of self-realisation, of being reborn, this lockdown is and will help potentially solve our species’ problems of bad habits.’

Tim hopes that by photographing the town at this time, he’ll inspire others to join him in recording this unique moment in history.

He adds: ‘This pandemic should herald the birth of a new movement, a new set of fresh ideas and mindset, of feelings and responses to secularism, urbanisation, consumerism, industrialisation, scientific and empirical evidence.

‘In December, we will curate a month-long exhibition in the town’s Northern Lights Gallery to bring together our individual and collective experiences, our thoughts and ideas to better articulate, document and illustrate this shared historical experience.’

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