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Covid floor signage documented for history

Over the last year, freelance news and editorial photographer, Matthew Chattle, has been documenting London’s social distancing floor graphics.

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Floor graphics have been used throughout the pandemic to help with social distancing rules. Image: Matthew Chattle

Since the beginning of the pandemic, social distancing has been a crucial part of staying safe and reducing the spread of Covid-19.

With this saw a rise in demand for wide-format print and the production of window and floor graphics to aid with social distancing cues.

Chattle first began photographing the signage in May 2020 as he travelled around the city doing news assignments.
Chattle says: “These signs are pieces of information graphics that are essentially functional and ephemeral.

Every business has its own style of graphic. Image: Matthew Chattle

"Once the pandemic is over, they will disappear – hopefully forever. The photographs act as a record of these signs and are symbols of the time we are living through.”

As the purpose of many floor graphics are to show people where to stand to maintain a two-metre distance, often in hospitality queues for examples, Chattle decided to photograph his feet standing in front of each sign, using his iPhone camera.

“This then developed into a typology photography project exploring their similarities and differences,” he says, adding: “The signs are similar and individual at the same time. Each council has its own designs, as do individual shops and businesses.

The photos will be saved as part of the Mass Observation Archive. Image: Matthew Chattle 

“They are a visual representation of the year of Covid. It will be odd when they are gone, but I know that most people will very quickly forget all about them.”

The photograph project is now part of the Mass Observation Archive and act as a record of the abnormal year we have just lived through.

If you have any news, please email carys@linkpublishing.co.uk or join in with the conversation on Twitter and LinkedIn.


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