A few weeks into lockdown, VICE UK put a call out to some of our favourite photographers. We wanted submissions for photo essays that reflect the time we're living in – but interesting, imaginative projects, not just "I'm stuck inside, here are some pictures of my cheese-plant".
Luckily, because the photographers we reached out to are all interesting and imaginative people, we got a ton of great ideas back, which we've whittled down to ten final projects. We're running one every week for ten weeks, to be followed by an exhibition you can stage in your very own home (details on that to come).
The fourth project is by Flora Maclean, who has kindly explained it for you below.
I started this project right at the beginning of lockdown, when we all felt super lonely and weird. I wanted to make light of the situation and make myself feel better at the same time, subverting the idea that loneliness or being alone is this heavy, deep thing that we were all experiencing.
I was living alone at the time, so I decided to make little imaginary friends to keep me company. Kinda like when Tom Hanks makes Wilson in 'Cast Away'. Limited by what I already had in the house, I improvised and shot them all in my living room, one a day over the course of a week. It was a good exercise for my brain. I wanted to keep busy and reflect on this time we were in, without thinking about it too deeply.
It's in retrospect that the project takes on a deeper meaning. Making friends out of found objects in this confined space, but staying connected to people via technology – Zoom, Facetime, etc – shows that friends don't need to have a physical presence to be a significant presence.