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Faces behind the PPE: Powerful photo essay by Tom Pilston at Tortoise

Posted on: July 9, 2020 by Mariella Brown

Slow news start-up Tortoise has published a powerful photo essay showcasing photographs and captions of frontline coronavirus workers at University College Hospital in London.

The piece was produced by photographer Tom Pilston to capture the moods of dozens of NHS workers – from cleaners to doctors, nurses, administrators, health care practitioners and porters.

Pilston visited UCHL to shoot just over 100 portraits over two days as a way of reflecting on the toll of the pandemic and to celebrate the work of the NHS.

Introducing the piece Pilston said, “As a photographer you get to see, in many troubled parts of the world, just what battling through trauma does to the human face and particularly to the eyes of those living through such an experience.

“Here was a conflict of a different kind, right on my doorstep; in fact, all around me. We were all coming out of our homes every Thursday night to applaud these people we felt were our heroes.

“I wanted to meet them, to look into their eyes, to see who they really were and express what this experience has meant to them.”

In its initiative, Tortoise joins the ranks of publications such as Vogue which last month put the faces of three key workers on its July magazine edition. 

View the photo essay online here.

Picture: Tom Pilston