We clapped for them every Thursday but we didn’t see their faces.

In hospitals and medical centres across Dorset – and indeed the rest of the nation – their identities have been hidden behind masks and gowns and gloves.

But now, our NHS heroes are being celebrated in a photographic exhibition at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, which reveals the faces of health workers fighting the battle against COVID-19 across the county.

Unmasked is a project inspired by the fact that, to fight this invisible enemy, our healthcare heroes have made themselves invisible, too, in a way.

At the heart of the project is a series of portraits by photographer Andy Scaysbrook, which reveals and celebrates faces on the front line in Dorset. Together with journalist Emma Pittard and graphic designer John Nesbitt, Andy shines a light on many of the men and women behind the masks.

Dorset Society: Paramedic Lee Stratton - photo by Andy ScaysbrookParamedic Lee Stratton - photo by Andy Scaysbrook

This exhibition is just a sample of the work achieved by Andy, Emma and John during lockdown while respecting social-distancing guidelines and without having to travel too far from their Dorset homes. From simply talking to friends who are key workers to being featured in The Times and The Sunday Times, this project keeps gaining.

A book containing more photographs and full stories is in production, to raise funds for local NHS charities and to serve as a permanent record of these times.

The photos are currently on display at Dorset County Hospital in Dorchester, and will shortly move to Durlston Castle in Swanage, where they will remain on show until the end of March.

Dorset Society: Wagner Pontara, cleaner at Royal Bournemouth Hospital - photo by Andy ScaysbrookWagner Pontara, cleaner at Royal Bournemouth Hospital - photo by Andy Scaysbrook

“Art has an enormous impact on health and wellbeing and this is something people are becoming increasingly aware of, making collaborative projects like this invaluable," says Arts in Hospital Advisor at Dorset County Hospital, Suzy Rushbrook.

“The hope is that this project will serve as an exercise in wellbeing and a morale booster for staff working all over the Dorset health sector; to show that their stories are being told and that people are listening, that they are truly appreciated and that this extraordinary time is being recorded.

“Arts in Hospital has been proud to work with Andy, Emma and John on this project and were delighted when they contacted us in the middle of lockdown."

A full gallery of the exhibition images is available to view at andyscaysbrook.com/andyscaysbrook-unmasked

 

andyscaysbrook.com