As life and work stood still for many of us earlier this year, one thing we forgot to look after was our beloved plants left behind in offices and creative studios across the UK. It was something photographer Ricky Adam realised when he returned to work and discovered loads of neglected greenery.
Picking up his camera, he decided to document them, in all their brown and withered states, across every floor of his office building. "Needless to say, there were none that could be saved. Every plant was completely dried out to the point of no return," he tells us.
Ricky points to a chilling T.S. Eliot quote that inspired the series: "This is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper". It's this quote that marks the beginning of a new zine Ricky has created to present the collection of melancholy images.
Entitled Don't You Forget About Me, the publication (which you can purchase) is one of the most original projects we've seen so far relating to Covid-19. And that was undoubtedly deliberate. "I wanted to find something less obvious but symbolic of the world we currently live in," Ricky explains. "There's a distinct sadness in the air and what is sadder than the death of an indoor plant? Many plants."
The zine features an introduction by SJ Bradley, which reads: "We stayed home, and tried to stay out of trouble. Checked in on neighbours and elderly relatives by phone or video call. Where we could wave out of our windows, we did. A couple of times a week, we might visit our local park or green space to listen to the birds, to enjoy the sun and air. It was a time of being constantly where you were because there was nowhere else to go. Many concentrated on the essentials: eating, learning, playing together, doing our best to enjoy what we had. Nobody thought desperately of how soon they would be able to get back to the office; nobody watered their office plants."
Ricky first picked up a camera back in 1997 and hasn't looked back. "I like the immediacy of it and that there's an extremely fine line between total failure and complete success and that's what keeps me going," he says.