Portraits of the pandemic

Elson Musenga – Interim foundation doctor

Midway through the pandemic I was commissioned by Edinburgh University to make a series of portraits of 13 individuals that work in or with the university. Each of them was chosen to represent the broad range of people at the university who in one way or another are playing their part to help combat the virus. Their roles are diverse from stores manager to government advisor to intensive care consultant.

Devi Sridhar – Chair of Global Public Health and Director of the Global Health Governance Programme

After some test shooting and much discussion on safety between myself and the university co-ordinators Jen Durkin and Jen Middleton we established a straightforward style that seemed to fit the subject.

I photographed each of them individually in my studio, a bit of a challenge when we had to stay well apart. Trying to relax your subject and adjust a camera is not so easy when your mask is steaming up your glasses and muffling your words. Despite these inconveniences the project was hugely rewarding creatively as well as a being an interesting window into each of their worlds. In the course of shooting I received several personalised mini TED talks on what they were working on. The biggest thing I learned from talking to them is that despite their best efforts just how hard it is to know what the future holds when you’re dealing with a pathogen that’s so new without years worth of data to analyse.

Kenneth Baillie – Intensive Care Consultant a Senior Clinical Research Fellow in Anaesthesia & Critical Care at the Roslin Institute.
Gwenetta Curry – Lecturer of Race, Ethnicity, and Health in the College of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine
Kev Dhaliwal, Project lead for STOPCOVID
Derek Mills, Stores Manager, IGMM

Large scale prints have been produced of some of the images. These are hung at the Royal Infirmary of Edinburgh inside the Chancellor’s building foyer. The full collection is to be displayed in the Elsie Ingles lounge soon. You can see all the portraits and read more about each of the subjects on the university blog here.

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