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London Lockdown Lines

A view of the 2020 pandemic through architecture

If the presence of people in and around infrastructure built for their use, can be seen as a measurement of the ‘fullness’ of the world or city in question, then it is hard to imagine an emptier year.

– Gordon Massie


In 2020 Massie had the opportunity to explore London in the time of the Coronavirus Pandemic. During his government-approved hour of exercise each day, he walked a different part of the city, and emersed himself in the eeriness created by the absence of the people who would normally inhabit these spaces. In this series, Massie’s compositions pay homage to the Formalist Photography traditionsof the 20th century. Formal shapes and lines take on an importance in his work, suggesting a defined unwavering structure to contrast with the temporary absence of order and the disruption caused by the 2020 pandemic. In these photographs, Massie experiments with lighting and perspective while quietly documenting the socio-political climate experienced across the globe. These London structures were built to provide transport, housing, education, entertainment, religious worship, and employment to thousands of individuals. While people may be sheltering out-of-sight, hidden from view behind the walls in the images, the absence of humanity, in what would normally be described as busy public spaces, is striking. The structures photographed in this series are in dialogue with each other -a visual interrogation of the connections between places and spaces originally constructed to serve people and today devoid of any human presence.