A Rainbow Isolation…

In the Autumn of 2020 photographer, Mercedes Rollason, had an idea.

To present a positive, colourful and flamboyant portrait of the LGBTQ community living in Fenland and Cambridgeshire.

However, at the end of 2020, it became obvious that this concept was not going to happen quite as planned. Why? Mercedes discovered an LGBTQ+ community feeling disheartened, isolated and not enthusiastic about living in Fenland.

Mercedes discussed the project with Creative Agent Colin and together they explored how it might continue. People were not feeling positive enough to show themselves publicly in photographic portraits. What if Mercedes could interview them and combine their words with a visual portrait of the landscape around them?

Mercedes pushed forward and the result is a stunning and moving collection of quotes and photographs that the reveal the lives of individuals living in Fenland.

For February 2022 the photographs were displayed in March Library (Ely also requested a display and presented it at their main doors). Mercedes did see a big shift in the attitude and spirit of those she interviewed in December and January 2021. She said at the time:

“Coming out of lockdown really does seem to have put some positivity back in people’s lives. Isolation can be an overwhelming situation. The LGBTQ community was already feeling isolated so the pandemic just reinforced that feeling. Something changed around April. Colour seemed to return”.

If confidence can grow we would love people to contact us about photography and other artforms that might explore and reflect the realities of living in the Fenland LGBTQ+ community.

If you would like to take part in the next stage of the project please contact colin@cppmarketplace.co.uk

Click the logo to visit Mercedes’ website

Chapter in our Lives by Regina Ray

As part of our Creative Conversations in Isolation commissions programme, photographer Regina Ray, was commissioned to make portraits of key workers in Newmarket, during the period of lockdown.

Regina is a medical photographer at Addenbrooke’s Hospital and working during the Pandemic, she was inspired to ask the question:

‘If this was a chapter in your life, what would the bold print be?’

‘The WHY is obvious – because we love stories. We love to tell them and we love to hear them. We are fascinated by other people’s life stories and these stories help us define ourselves. But moreover, in times as unusual as these, when no one has prior experience, the sum of collective experiences will contribute to knowledge wealth and potentially makes us much more adaptive and prepared in the future. Storytelling is a way of collective learning and my aim is by telling individual stories to contribute to the collective survival knowledge base.’ Regina Ray.

Regina’s project was exhibited at Babylon Gallery, Ely as part of their All Together Now exhibition which took place in October 2020. Watch a short tour of the exhibition here.

Explore her full gallery here.

See how the project developed on the Chapter in Our Lives Facebook page.