Pippa Healy is a photographer, artist and printmaker based in London. Her raw, diaristic practice responds to events that have occurred in her life, therefore it has a unique sense of authenticity. Healy’s work references loss, grief, longing and violence and it’s rather difficult to pigeonhole as every new project she releases is distinctly hers, yet it demonstrates new interests and abilities, not seen in her previous works.
I Want It All To Go Back To The Way It Was Before is a series created entirely on the photographer’s iPhone during the first three weeks of lockdown in the UK in 2020. I can safely say that I was dreading to see the number of people who would photograph masks on the pavement and empty streets so when I hear of a project about lockdown I take it with a pinch of salt. Healy’s photographs are anything but expected. In England, we were permitted to only go out for one-hour walks for months and months. Many people took this opportunity to escape their homes — we would exercise, even if we have never done so before, or simply go for a stroll for some fresh air. Anything to escape the homes in which we became prisoners. These walks felt like a gift from above, absolutely vital for our mental health — it was for the first time in our memories many of us would go out simply for the sake and joy of being out without any particular purpose or agenda in mind. Healy’s photographs document urban landscapes she would encounter near her home. In a way, we were restricted to never venture off for longer than half an hour from our houses to allow ourselves time to return. A thought-provoking detail of the project is that the photographer very deliberately used her phone to make the photographs, the same device on which she would receive notifications with news updates and government updates regarding the new rules, information and misinformation hand in hand. Moreover, she would use her phone to edit the images while on her way back, thus creating a real document of her walks — it feels much more appropriate to do it in this way rather than edit it all on Photoshop back home.
Turn the other cheek Don’t look anyone in the eye
Don’t look up Keep walking
Keep breathing Focus on what is ahead
The edits are digital glitches that exemplify our fragmented reality and how we all felt at the time — confused, bewildered, frustrated. In her own words, by manipulating what she saw through the phone she began to have one foot in reality and the other in the virtual world.
“I started to be drawn into the virtual rather than physical world which was fragmenting before my eyes.”
This project is available as a zine — it has been bought by Martin Parr for his archive and it has been exhibited at the Lisbon Photobook Fair.