Suspended animation
As 2020 drew to a close and I started editing a selection of my favourite images from that year, it became clear to me that I needed to separate the photographs shot on the streets of Rome during 2020 from my earlier "tableaux vivants" and urban landscapes.

Italy endured some of the toughest Covid-19 restrictions in the world, with months of lockdown, but also periods of relative freedom of movement. The images collated here are not a political statement and neither do they represent any personal acts of rebellion: I did not leave the house during periods of national quarantine to photograph the emptiness of the city. Instead, these are the photos I took while out and about on the streets of Rome whenever it was legally possible to do so, truthfully recording everyday life unfolding around me.

In Europe we were unused to seeing people going about their daily lives wearing surgical masks and protective face coverings until the advent of Covid-19. The "novelty" of this wore off almost immediately, passing rapidly from being something of a photographic trope to becoming an unavoidable and ubiquitous fact of life. When facial expressions are hidden, new challenges are necessarily created, and narrative dynamism has to be found elsewhere. Human beings are by nature social animals, however, and "socially distanced tableaux vivants" quickly repopulated the streets of Rome.

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