Drone Lockdown in Gloucestershire

During lockdown in Guiting Power, Gloucestershire, Rick Senley snuck out with his drone..

Neighbours pulled together to provide essential services for others who really needed it, delivering shopping to the vulnerable and isolating, and supporting local businesses.

Nestled in the beautiful Cotswold hills, the traditional honey-coloured, close-knit village of Guiting Power has a cosy community – and it was during his shopping delivery round in the pandemic that one photographer had the idea for a new project.

Rick Senley is a photographer, writer, and musician who divides his time between London and Guiting Power, but has been in Guiting full-time since lockdown began. His initial project idea was to photograph one of the most notable families in the village – The Watsons. The family, headed by village matriarch Dorothy Watson, who is 101, ran the village bakery for over six decades, before giving it up and retiring last year.

“I wanted to take pictures of the Watsons for several years, and then because they were retiring I thought I would take them just before they left,” Rick said. “I started doing shopping deliveries during lockdown to isolated people, and then I realised there’s lots more interesting people in Guiting than I realised. I tried to photograph as many people in the village as possible.”

In the 2011 census, Guiting was recorded as having a population of 296. Rick estimates he photographed around a third of the village’s residents. He said: “I gave everyone the opportunity [to be photographed] wherever they felt most comfortable, most people were outside at the beginning [of the pandemic], some people were photographed socially distanced with a zoom lens, and some people were fine with having me in the house.”

Concerned he might get told off for taking non exercise, non-essential pictures, he hid in the bushes and and sneaked in landscape pics with his drone – “it’s several hundred times louder than my normal camera so my clandestine technique didn’t actually work.”

These photographs will serve as a glimpse into history for future generations, allowing them to see what Guiting looked like during the coronavirus pandemic.

Rick is immortalising the village’s current residents and landscapes in book form, and will be hosting an exhibition in the village when published.


The photographer

Rick Senley

Rick Senley is an obsessive, compulsive photographer and his camera is a means of escape, identity, hiding and adventure.

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