Group of distressed health workers looking towards camera
Group of distressed health workers looking towards camera. Image by Richard Pelham

During the height of the UK’s pandemic the London Borough of Newham had the highest per capita death rate in the UK(1).

EXPOSURE is a series of contemporary film portraits of health professionals who are or were working in and around Newham University Hospital during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Shot in a DIY and conversational format in my studio over the summer of 2020, the portraits expose the complexity of the workers experiences, both the challenging and beautiful. The films focus on how humans cope during an extraordinary moment and how this compares to the official narrative we see in the media. Their stories reveal their moral struggles, resulting mental health challenges and frustrations, but they also speak of their resilience in team work and peer support, and the hope that health inequalities can finally be addressed.

All the 45 portrait interviews will be archived in Wellcome Collection as a document of Covid – 19 in the UK.

The project will be presented in Newham and Royal Docks in Autumn 2021.

With contribution and a very special thank you to: Adeola Agbebiyi, Andrew Kelso, Anna Collini, Anni Khan, Arun Mahay, Ben Fraser, Catriona Rowland, Charlie Hubbett, Cath Reeve-Jones, Chris Odedun, Cliodhna Gillespie, Ellie Richards, Emma Young, Esther Murray, Ferha Saeed, Fiona Sarpong, Folasade Ajagunna, Funke (Olufunke) Bella, Giuseppe Labriola, Hafiz Syed, Hannah Prytherch, Helen Parker, Lyunade Oluwatosin Ajibola, James Napier, Jason Strelitz, Jenna Finch, Leigh-Anne Hill, Lily Dryburgh-Smith, Loveness Kamzara, Luxmimalar Velauthar, Maria Vidal, Mike Willis, Petra Francis, Pragna Katariya, Rhonda Reddington, Richa Gupta, Samuel Jerram, Sara Hiles, Sean Bourke, Shabina Hussain, Susie Beck, Vijaya Munian, Yousef Eltuhamy, Yunus Dudhwala, Zarmina Jan, Zara Zaman and Person X.

A collaboration with Dr Emma Young, Dr Cecilia Wee and Newham’s Health Workers.

Interview producer and assistant editor Becky Sumerling. Producer support from Kai-Oi Joyce Yung. Live event production by Stratford Circus.

EXPOSURE has received support from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, Wellcome Collection, Arts Council England and The Royal Docks Team.