2020 Vision Project | A Visual Tribute - Aaron Jeffels

2020 Vision Project | A Visual Tribute To Our NHS

2020 Vision project

As we ushered in 2020 with our friends and family ten months ago, I don’t think any of us could have imagined how the last year would have panned out.

It almost seems like we are watching a slow-motion car crash that will never stop. From one alarming news article to another terrible statistic, for most, it doesn’t seem like COVID-19 is ever far from reach, whilst for others, it is a living hell that has consumed their lives.

For me, 2020 was meant to be a brilliant year; from starting the year photographing a wedding in Thailand, having my busiest wedding season ever to ending it with a dream family trip to Lapland, it all sounded too good to be true. As we moved into March, the world changed. My plans and work went down the drain, and along with millions of others, I sat at home trying to sit out the pandemic.

As we sat at home, thousands of NHS staff do what they do every day and stepped up to the plate. They put their lives on the line for ours and did their job. Some of the stories are truly humbling and would move even the strongest of people.

One day at the height of the pandemic, I saw an advert on social media asking for volunteer photographers to be a part of the 2020 vision project.

I’m not sure what caught my eye, but I found myself on the project’s website and was fascinated and intrigued. Later that week, I found my self on the phone with one of the organisers of the project discussing ideas and what I had in mind.

NHS
COVID

So what is the 2020 vision project?

The 2020 vision project is a visual tribute to our excellent NHS staff for all their hard work and dedication since the start of the pandemic. 

The project consists of 100 photographers throughout the UK, who then had to photograph six NHS members. The main aim of the project was to show the world the people behind the masks. For months we have seen nurses and doctors in their PPE. The project wanted to show the world the real people. The ones that get up every day and look after our country with little regard to what might happen to themselves. 

I had the privilege to photograph six people who all had very different roles to play. The 2020 vison project wasn’t a project just for the doctors. It was to celebrate how diverse our fabulous NHS is, in not only the treatments it provides but, more importantly, the fantastic people that work in it. 

How did I want my photos to be different?

As fantastic as our local NHS service is, I also wanted to show the world just how diverse and beautiful our local area is. 

Teesside has a vibrant and fascinating history; it is also beautiful if you know where to look. I always feel like it gets a lot of bad press in the media with the “grim up north” tag and its industrial image, but we have stunning countryside and some fantastic beaches. 

I wanted to show the world just how beautiful Teesside is as well as showing the real people behind the masks. 

Jess Simon – Therapeutic Care Support Worker

Jess kindly volunteered to be one of my models, and for the first exhibition at the end of September, she was chosen to represent my six models. 

Jess works as a Therapeutic care support worker at James Cook University Hospital in Middlesbrough. When I met Jess, it came across how much she cared for her patients and how much she has had to deal with them throughout all of this. 

When I was photographing Jess, I just wanted to keep it simple and to show some of my favourite places when I was growing up. The weather was perfect, with some fantastic golden light to work with.

Below are some of the photos from Jess’s photoshoot. 

Portrait Photography
Portrait photography
Guisborough Photographer

Emily Symington – Speech and Language Therapist

When Photographing Emily, I wanted to showcase my favourite spot on the North Yorkshire Moors. Ella Beck is a tumbling river with rapids and waterfalls that runs alongside the North Yorkshire Steam Railway. Over thousands of years, it has carved out a beautiful gorge that’s lined with Ash and Oak trees. 

Northumberland wedding photographer
NHS
North Yorkshire wedding photographer

Joe Gowland – Mental Health – Clinical Liaison Coordinator.

Joe is actually one of my wedding clients, and we have spoken about her work before, she is also a keen photographer. After my own struggles with mental health and knowing how much of an impact COVID is having on people, I knew I wanted her to be a part of the project. 

With joes picture, I wanted to show just a glip of what Teesside is about. Teeside has an unmistakable skyline that you can spot it coming down the A19 or over the Pennines. When I think of our local skyline, it is the cooling towers that define it. You can spot these huge giants from miles away, almost as if they are beacons to tell you are close to home. 

To me, there’s a hidden beauty in these towers, and for bad or worse, as time moves on, they are getting pulled down. For this reason, I wanted to show just a glimpse of them in one of my photos. 

Middlesbrough Portrait photographer
teesside
Middlesbroough

Sophie Warnes – Pyhisiopheripist 

With sophies photo, I wanted to showcase one of my favourite scenes in the whole world. Gribdale rock sits high on the North Yorkshire Moors but has views spanning across the Tees Valley. 

It also has stunning views of Roseberry topping, which for me is a natural beacon that, once it comes into view, signals you are nearly home.

Cleveland Wedding Photographer

Lyndsey Thompson – Associate Practitioner

I met Lyndsey at another famous local spot that highlights our heritage on Teesside. From the top of the dunes at South gare, it gives you 360-degree views of where the river Tees meets the North Sea. 

It’s hard to imagine now what it must have been like in its heyday. Shipbuilding on the Tees views Redcar’s famous steelworks, fishing huts, and long sweeping sandy beaches. Its the one places that perfectly sums up what Teesside is all about. A glimpse of man’s grip it has on mother nature and how it wields this power. A hundred years ago, the river Tees had been alive. The noise of metal clashing in the shipyards, mixed with the smell of smoke from the steelworks, filled the air. 

South gare
North east wedding photographer
North east wedding photographer

Kristy Ohare 

Saltburn By The Sea is a beautiful little coastal town on the Yorkshire Coast. As it sits on a clifftop, it has an impressive hidden gorge that runs below it which the Victorians turned into pristine gardens. 

With Kristy’s photo, I wanted to showcase a little hidden treasure but perfectly shows our heritage. Saltburn viaduct is an eleven arched railway bridge. The Viaduct opened in 1872 for the local railway line. 

With the golden light of a summers evening, it worked perfectly as our backdrop to her photo. 

Saltburn By the sea wedding photographer

If you have worked in the NHS fighting against COVID then I would love to hear your story. get in touch below.