The New Normal

I’m fortunate; I have a part-time job that gets me out of the house everyday, a virtual hall-pass that allows me to drive the corridors of the Isle of Man with my camera. For most other residents, it’s been a long few weeks, thus far. On Friday 27th March, the Isle of Man started an indefinite lockdown – nobody in and nobody out (unless you want to stay out).  I’d already started my own personal document of the COVID19 pandemic during a trip to London at the beginning of February – the sight of people wearing surgical face masks was less of a novelty and there was an obvious anxiety in public spaces with a lack of ‘social distancing’. I realised then that things were starting to escalate. 

Having already embarked on the project, sharing four images daily on Twitter, I was contacted by Breesha Maddrell, director of the the Manx cultural organisation, Culture Vannin. Subsequently, I have been commissioned by Culture Vannin to document the pandemic in my own individual style. From the start, I have tried to avoid the obvious images – empty streets, queues of shoppers, etc, concentrating more on the mundane, everyday life on the island. 

I’ve no idea how long this project will run for? People talk about things ‘getting back to normal’, but I’m not convinced they ever will. 

You can keep up to date with my daily observation here –

For the technically curious, I’m using a Ricoh GR2 compact camera, and occasionally a Fuji XF10, to shoot the project. All images are edited with my own preset recipe in Adobe Lightroom.


  1. This is proper photojournalism – raw, gritty and straightforward. Your images remind me of the work of Daidō Moriyam…which is no bad thing 🇯🇵😊


  2. At last! A Manx cultural body has commissioned something a bit ‘out of the box’. I’ve admired your work for years, Phil. This project is so important and I’m glad Culture Vannin chose you to make it.

    Well done Breesha!


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