During the pandemic, documentary photographer Donna Bridgewater has been creating a project called ‘Getting Through This’. She has been chronicling people's emotions during the coronavirus pandemic to create a conversation about mental health. So far Donna has taken 40 socially-distanced portraits of people in Birmingham.
Donna teaches Photography and Mixed Media at Hereward College, lecturing to students with learning and physical disabilities. She runs a Photography business called Bridgewater Photography, which she created with support of The Prince’s Trust.
The main inspirations for the project came from the loss of her Sister to suicide in 2019 and often hearing in the media how COVID-19 is affecting so many lives, leading to more mental health illnesses and suicide.
"I have been connecting with people in the Birmingham community capturing a series of portraits and asking them to open up about their own feelings around Coronavirus and the pandemic. The aim of the project is not to just portray negative messages but also positive emotions that can help people to reflect on during these uncertain times."
Donna was inspired to carry out the project when she kept hearing more and more how people have been impacted by Covid-19, causing job loses, people not being able to socialise, leading to suicide or mental health illnesses.
"This project has been very close to my heart as I lost my Sister in 2019 to suicide, it is a project that I want more people to see in the community but also something I can continue to work on in the future.
"My main aim of the project is for people to be able to look at the portraits and read the messages and think that is exactly how I feel today or to take a positive message from the photograph to help them get through their day.
The portraits will help to remind people that it is ok to not be ok and also that the pandemic that we are living in is also affecting others’ lives and feelings.
I want more and more people to be able to access the positive messages from the public to felt lift individual spirits through these uncertain times."
It is an ongoing project that I am looking to carry on after the pandemic as it has had a great response from all different ages and backgrounds of people."
Donna will give a talk with the Royal Photographic Society on May 17th 2021 to help the project go worldwide.