My name is Marieke. I have created a book about what a city park meant to people during 'lockdown' and photos I took of the park during this time. I have also created a calendar with the photos.
During lockdown I went to my local London park, Brockwell Park, every day. On each visit, I took photos of the flora and fauna, of the people and scenes of the park and then, every day, I shared these on social media. The responses were very moving - both from people I spoke to in the park and via social media.
People described just how important parks had been to them. In the absence of noise from planes and traffic, our awareness of the sounds of the birds and insects heightened. Noticing the scent of flowers, and the fresh smell after the rain. Gaining solace from being connected to a place of great tranquillity and beauty. New learning – about the lives and habits of the flora and fauna that inhabit the park.
Our relationship to each other changed. Connecting to others in a different way, being together and sharing moments in nature, through such strange times. Gaining comfort from others, exchanging smiles, having deeper conversations, and feeling part of a community.
Some reflected on their own lives and the changes they might make as a result of their time spent in nature during lockdown.
Those having to self-isolate described how important seeing the photos each day had been.Having nature and the outdoors brought to them whilst not being able to physically leave their homes. They described feeling a connection with others through the comments exchanged.
People expressed their heartfelt gratitude for having a park nearby when others may not be so fortunate. For all the value and benefits it brought.
Listening to and receiving these responses led me to the idea for this book; a bringing together of reflections and quotes from people, and the photos.
I hope the book helps give voice to the importance of parks to so many during these ‘unprecedented times’.To those who love and appreciate the many gifts parks bring. And through the photos to show something of Brockwell Park’s beauty and natural diversity.
Part of the proceeds of the book will be going to a Community gardens project based in Brockwell park, which provides education and training in sustainable horticulture and volunteering opportunities promoting physical and mental wellbeing.
I’d welcome contributions to a Kickstarter Crowdfunding campaign I’ve launched to cover the costs of editing and printing the book and a calendar featuring my images.