In a printed monograph called 'Isolation', we see a creative, collaborative response to the strange days of lockdown. Designed by Oliver Wigglesworth and featuring photographs by Isy & Leigh Anderson, plus copy by writer Joe Coleman, it shows the strange emptiness of a Northern town as well as portraits of their family and neighbours with their thoughts on the Covid-19 crisis.
"Initially, we were just trying to stay busy," says Isy Anderson, "but the project has naturally evolved into something more interesting. We've been examining the effect of recently imposed boundaries on our immediate environment and the way it's created a renewed community spirit."
Flicking through the pages, you realise the text is quite different. Oliver Wigglesworth explains: "To communicate the sense of isolation that we're living through, we printed all the text on the reverse of the pages, so there's a visual barrier distancing you from the words."
"As a photographer, my natural instinct is to capture this new world we're in," says Leigh. "I've started taking my camera out on my daily exercise route and documenting what I see. I find it helps to clear my head. Places I used to rush by have become visible again, and passing encounters with people suddenly feel more significant. I wanted to capture that."
Isy continues: "If there is a positive to come from this period of enforced isolation it may be that more people are reconnecting to their environments, and from a safe two-metre distance, with each other."
In one of their portraits, we see neighbour Berit on Apollo Avenue, who said: "I think the whole world needs to rethink its structure. The Earth itself has had a break that it needed very badly from pollution and greediness, but it's taken something this drastic to make it happen." In another, there's Sheila, wearing her purple pyjamas: "I lived through a polio epidemic when I was a kid. During the summers we weren't allowed to go into town. It took years for these restrictions to be lifted and I worry it's going to happen again with this virus."
Amongst numerous industry awards, Isy & Leigh Anderson were recently named BJP Portrait Of Britain 2019 winners for their portrait of Viram Khunti at Burgess Furniture.
How has the lockdown personally affected Isy and her husband, Leigh? "It's been a very calm and surreal experience. We have two very young children, so we have to keep a sense of normality and everyday routine, but at the same time, we are trying not to have our minds blown daily by the craziness of what is going on in the world. The main thing for us is that so far all of our family and friends have remained healthy. We are thankful for that."
Leigh adds: "We have mixed feelings about it. Although it has been quite a scary and uncertain time its also been a very reflective time, it has brought our family closer together, and its also been an intensely productive creative period for us as well. We have readjusted to this new life in our little bubble, but we worry about what's next and how society will change after lockdown and what that will mean to us. It just feels like we are in limbo at the moment."