Wednesday 8th September

| BY Paul Toner

Jermaine Francis’ New Book Captures a World Before Covid

When the world went into lockdown last March, London-based photographer Jermaine Francis took to the desolate streets. Once bustling with commuters, tourists and city explorers, the capital, in a flash, fell empty. Francis was able to capture London’s changing face in a project he dubbed Something That Seemed So Familiar Becomes Distant: a photography book that “grew in reaction to what was going on in the outside world”, Francis told us at the time. “Then something bigger came. It was BLM. Covid became secondary. The emphasis changed but we were still under a pandemic, so it was another layer on top.”

From protests for racial justice in the wake of George Floyd’s murder, to marches for trans rights and rallies to protect our NHS, Something That Seemed So Familiar Becomes Distant was able to capture a global shift through an intimate lens.

Francis is now following up on the project with Rhythms From the Metroplex, a new print publication that looks to life before Covid. A prequel to the “new normal”, the book is packed with fleeting, inner-city tales from New York and London between 2017 and 2020. Packed with images of mask-less cosmopolitans overflowing with flocks of people, the book presents a forgotten world, one without hesitation (and socially distancing).

Francis will release Rhythms From the Metroplex on September 12. A special edition of the book will also be available, with all proceeds going to Centrepoint, a charity that supports homeless young people aged 16-25. Purchase the book here.

Photography by Jermaine Francis.