As we emerge from the other side of the coronavirus pandemic (we hope), I wanted to come up with a way to remember the time neighbours in Watford came together to show support for our hardworking key workers and NHS heroes.
Following on from the exciting news that Watford Museum is to exhibit my photos documenting Watford’s changing landscape during lockdown, I have created a large montage, featuring over 100 local residents from the Thursday night #clapsforkeyworkers.
I hope this will be a way to remember the unflinching support, honour our lost neighbours and fundraise for the NHS. I launched the montage with a competition, won by Neil Johnston. His mum, Susan, received it on his behalf:
The Watford Observer wrote a lovely article about the project. It’s great to receive such recognition and support! I hope the money raised will make a real difference and show the NHS how grateful we are to have such a dedicated, caring service at our time of need.
Watford photographer Eric Johnson helping West Herts Hospitals’ charity
A photographer has turned his pictures of a unique period in the history of Watford and the country into a montage and is selling it to help raise money for an NHS charity.
Eric Johnson spent several weeks capturing the Thursday evening scenes around his West Watford home when his neighbours came out to show their appreciation for NHS staff and key workers by taking part in Clap for Carers.
The 37-year-old has used a selection of his pictures, depicting around 200 residents, and turned them into a 20x30in canvas. This is on sale on Mr Johnson’s website and 50 per cent of the profits from the canvas and other related products will go to West Herts Hospitals’ charity Raise.
A multimedia journalist, Mr Johnson’s lockdown images have been widely shared on social media and feature in an online archive on Watford Museum’s website, with plans to turn this into a physical exhibition in the future.
Eric Johnson photographed West Watford residents during lockdown
Mr Johnson’s ‘The Covid Chronicles – Life Under Lockdown in Watford’ pictures were taken in streets including Benskin Road, Chester Road, Harwoods Road, Liverpool Road, Mildred Venue and Vicarage Road.
Explaining how the project came about, Mr Johnson said: “I remember being quite emotional on the first Clap for Carers and I thought maybe I could photograph this moment next time.
“I live in Harwoods Road and I photographed a few of my neighbours and I put them on my photography Facebook page and everybody started sharing and liking them.
“Soon after I got a few requests from people in West Watford asking me to come down their road, so over the next six weeks I went down neighbouring roads in my one hour allotted exercise and took lots of pictures of people clapping on Thursdays for our NHS and it was really lovely.”
Mr Johnson, whose work can be viewed on his website, admitted he is “very excited” about the prospect of his work featuring in the museum exhibition.
He said: “I think it’s going to be quite a big deal because everyone I photographed is all part of Watford history now.
“There are over 100 people and all their children and ancestors in the years and years to come will be able to see this in a picture format.
“I think it’s a really interesting time and everyone is going to remember this.”