What has it been like for creative professionals this year? How have they coped? And has the pandemic impacted their lives? Photographer Iwona Pinkowicz wanted answers to these questions, so she approached 15 artists, designers and musicians to take their portrait and hear their stories.
The resulting series, Creatives Through Covid, gives us a fascinating glimpse into the creative industries during the era of Covid-19 with many experiences resonating with our own. "At the beginning of the year, I was ready to come back to work after 18 months of maternity leave, really looking forward to new opportunities and excited about my future in the photography business," Iwona tells Creative Boom. "Unfortunately, I only managed to work on one assignment before we went into lockdown in March and I haven't had any new work coming in since then.
"I was craving a structure and a routine, so I thought that if I'm not getting any work, I have to create something for myself. Also, the world of a creative can be very lonely at best of times let alone during the pandemic. I wanted to connect with other creatives and see how they are coping during this difficult time."
How did she choose whom to photograph? Some are people she knows from previous projects, others came from recommendations while a few, she found via Instagram. What's interesting is that everyone has had different experiences – mostly positive and hopeful, some incredibly sad, while others have found 2020 a complete eye-opener.
We hear from an artistic director called Catherine who said: "The three months of lockdown has, in a way, put a rocket under my bum. All we've got is creativity, all we've got is each other and all we've got is asking each other to share. Share the knowledge. Share the contacts. In the past, things might have been more like, 'this is my contact, this is my client, this is my supplier and this is my project' but this year has shown us that we are all in it together."
While Aaron, a filmmaker, said the pause was welcome: "I feel that getting all that time during lockdown was an amazing gift. The world has never had that sort of opportunity to actually sit back, reflect and really see what we want to do with our lives. I believe there are going to be some amazing projects born out of this that will really connect with peoples' souls."
For Elaine, a content creator, her 2020 has been extra sad. "The day before we went into lockdown, I returned from a family visit in France to very upsetting news that my landlord had passed away from Covid. He was an amazing person and more than just a landlord. He was a father to me, always looking out for me and making sure I'm ok. Other than doctors, I was the last person who saw him alive."
Everyone Iwona approached was happy to take part. "I believe people love to share their stories when given the opportunity. Also, what this project has given them is a sense of community and togetherness. They loved reading one another's stories and most found it very inspirational," she says.
How has Iwona found the events of this year? "As a creative myself, I know how hard the creative industry has been hit by the pandemic," she says. "Some people have lost their jobs or their current roles are being put on hold due to the restrictions. But there is also a lot of hope, positivity, determination and resilience coming from this project which I hope will inspire people when reading it."
Creatives Through Project has, in fact, been a massive saviour to Iwona and helped her with her mental health. "I struggled with Post Natal Depression for 18 months and only recovered at the beginning of this year. Going into lockdown was scary and I felt that if I wait, put photography on hold again, I will struggle mentally again. Every time I finished a shoot I felt energised, full of positivity and hope. This project has given me a purpose and a point of focus."
Originally from Poland, Iwona Pinkowicz moved to London over 15 years ago and, after a successful career in digital marketing, turned to photography in 2015. Apart from client assignments, she works on various personal projects including People of N1C, which captures people in London's newest postcode in King’s Cross and street portraits series, Chasing Dreams.
Aside from photography, one of her biggest passions is music and she gets to combine the two as one of Glastonbury's official photographers. Other clients include Adidas, L’Oréal, Trafalgar Travel, Uniworld, Argent, and Spitalfields. Discover more at iwonapinkowicz.com.