AS the country eases out of lockdown, a Lyme Regis photographer has completed a special project which will act as a lasting memory of how the town coped during this unique time.
Weddings, events, family portraits and corporate photography usually keep Rob Coombe busy, but with most work put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic he started to consider how he could use his camera to capture Lyme Regis during lockdown.
From children learning at home to emergency services volunteers and shop workers, Rob has captured a cross-section of the community and has been sharing a series of black and white portraits over the past few weeks.
As lockdown restrictions begin to be lifted, he has now completed his project with a moving video pulling all of his work from the past two months together.
Rob said working on the project made him proud to live in Lyme Regis and he felt he wanted to give something back to the community. He now plans to collate his images into a book which will be sold to raise funds for Lyme Regis Foodbank.
Explaining the project, Rob commented: “After a couple of weeks enjoying the fine weather and doing almost every job in the house on my to-do list, I was really starting to miss using my camera. I have a young son, and all the time at home got me thinking that this pandemic we are living through is going to be a part of history and some day in the future he may well be learning about it. At that point I decided I needed to document it.
“I’m a professional photographer and I’m lucky that my work is quite varied, but undoubtedly people are my favourite subject to photograph. I had a real vision in my mind of what I wanted to achieve, showing the emotions and true reality of this time. I felt the best way for me to do that was through a series of black and white portraits of the townspeople, supported by a short film in colour.
“I put a message out across social media to see if anybody would be interested and the response I had was great, a real cross-section of people living and working in the town.
“As the project went on I felt a real sense of momentum building and it took on a bit of a story of its own. What started out as a vision of capturing emotions of lockdown, turned into being about how the people of Lyme came together to support each other in a period of national emergency.
“I met some amazing people doing incredible things. All of a sudden we were buying fresh fish directly from our fishermen, flour milled by the towns watermill, fresh bread from the bakery and meat from the tows butchers, to name but a few. So many local businesses stepped up and were there for us, as they always are.
“Added to that there were an incredible amount of people giving up their time to keep us entertained, fit and sane! Not to mention the amazing food bank volunteers, key workers and emergency services.
“This town always pulls together in times of need and I really hope I’ve managed to capture that on this occasion. We’re not perfect, but I for one am very proud to live here.
“This experience has made me want to give something back to do my small part. I now plan on collating the portraits into a book, all profits from which, I would like to donate to our food bank. Watch this space!”
You can view all the black and white portraits by searching ‘robcoombephoto’ on your preferred social media platform and watch the full video below.