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CROYRONA Project

I cannot bear being crammed in a home with my creative juices going stale. Since my shoots had been cancelled I had to chill as my camera was not able to capture the ideas and imagination in my head. I was in desperate need to capture images, not wanting to be limited to the four walls I went outside. I figured I was allowed one exercise a day and by no means was I told that a camera was forbidden. I could keep a distance and take photos of the Croydon community I live in and serve primarily as a photographer.


These images show my reflection of what I experienced around the walking distance of my area. I learned from my encounter with variety of interesting people things that I would never have if keeping to my routine. There are some amazing stories in our community.

Here is my Croyona chronicle.

Date:23/03/2020

Location: Croydon High Street


This was when the community shops were closing due to the Coronavirus, the message was confusing at this time. We were discouraged from going out unless needed but there was no strict instructions or enforcement behind this. I thought this would be a great opportunity to capture an empty shopping district, but to my surprise, Croydon was more occupied than I had hoped. My main aim at this time was to have some images of Croydon to connect with the local area I serve.

Date:23/03/2020

Location: Fairfield Halls

This image was intended as a potential for my website, it's a lovely warm day in Croydon people are relaxed. Outside this shot, there is a car crash with police redirecting traffic around the vehicles. Not sure it happened with very few vehicles on the road, but such is life.

Date:23/03/2020

Location: East Croydon

McDonald's announced it was closing and the people responded by ordering their last meal to brace for a season without the fast food. Of course, the social distance lines had not started at this time so the drivers are quite close together. I did not know how much this store would be missed.

Date:12/4/2020

Location: My Road, Croydon

This is my neighbour, a lovely man. I was in the process of psyching myself up so I dared to approach interesting people in my community and I thought why not let's get a photo. I didn't ask him to pose as he was comfortably standing outside his home taking in some fresh air. With the next series of images with permission (mainly), I have captured people as there were in their natural environment.

Date:16/4/2020

Location: London Road, Thornton Heath

The gentleman is a local barber, he did not want to give me his name but did not mind me taking his picture. We had an interesting conversation where I first had to establish who I was and once I established I was not a government spy I was granted permission to capture his image. I asked to take his photo because I loved the way he was sitting on his chair.

Date: 23/3/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

This image was of two walkers in the community making the most of their "yard time" in the community. I noticed that spots of beauty became much more appreciated and it was lovely to see new faces making the most of the surroundings.

Date:16/4/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

The local police seemed very busy in the community, was not quite sure what they were doing however on numerous occasions local fast food stores were visited by the police. I can imagine it was to enforce, breaches to the distance policy.

Date:16/4/2020

Location: My Road

This is the moment our road got together to applaud our key workers (NH) for the excellent support they provide. Yes, we also had the bell person, what they were doing with the bells before is a mystery. It was great to hear the sound of cheers and unity even if it was for a brief moment in time. It was also the first time I saw some neighbours.

Date:16/4/2020

Location: My Road

I was not sure of the correct social etiquette for the NHS clap. While these claps were occurring was it socially proper to walk or in this case scoot pass on the phone? I thought it would be interesting to show different reactions and responses from the community to this call for appreciation. He did seem bemused that he had caught the attention of a photographer.

Date: 16/4/2020

Location: London Road Thornton Heath

I saw this lovely man sitting at the bus stop, his posture looked interesting and he was happy to have his photo taken so I took the shot. On this occasion, I was with my wife who was probably feeling awkward at this time as we were going to the shops to purchase ingredients for our lunch.

Date:16/4/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Lidl

Here we have the end of a social distance queue, I loved the baseball top this gentleman had on. The words on his shirt say, judge. He stood silently but at the same time, his attire beckoned the onlooker to decide to go in the queue or not. In this case, we opted not to as we did not have the time to waste during our lunch break. At this point, food was hard to come by as people were panic buying in bulk.

Date:17/4/2020

Location: Purley Way

The humble 5G tower, over the pandemic questionable rumours occurred about how this tower could be the cause of the COVID19 or that it caused the virus in the first place. Of course, this was not true, the signals these devices transmit are very similar to the WIFI used in homes and there is no rationale from any credited scientist that backs these theories, however, the whole point of conspiracies tend to be emotional arguments. Our concerned citizens spent their time locating and destroying the masses or harassing the installers while at the same in the name of safety.

Date: 20/4/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

This man stated he was collecting wood to help "prop up" a bin for his father. I did try to gather more information, but perhaps he was pulling my leg. I liked this photo because it shows the diverse range of activities our community get up to.

Date: 20/4/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

This gentleman has either the coolest mobility scooter or he is some sort of inventor. I caught him by chance whizzing through a pathway on this electric vehicle. I honestly did not know this stuff was happening in my area.

Date: 13/3/2020

Location: London Road, Norbury

This image was taken on the lovely church that I got married in, located in Pollard's Hill (which you can see in the distance). At this point, the community was taking the disease seriously and there was no one out unless it was running an errand at these times. This road is usually busy throughout the day with vehicles and pedestrians. On this occasion, I was fortunate to capture a cyclist commuting.

Date:23/4/2020

Location: Thornton Heath and Norbury Horticultural Society

Meet Greg, he has a share at the allotment and has been doing this for 5 years. He likes to grow his food and eat the produce. He has been growing sweetcorn, peppers and other foods and had come to make tend to his crops. He informed me that throughout the COVID the allotment had stayed open due to people having their own space and there never being crowds of people. He showed me around the allotment and invited me to come back when the crops were ready for harvest.

Date: 30/4/2020

Location: Brigstock Road, Thornton Heath

These pictures are some local charity workers. I spoke to them for a brief moment. They are known as the Brixton Soup Kitchen based in Brixton but have been travelling all over London (North, South, East and West delivering food to the vulnerable people in a society free of charge and with support from the government. I spoke to them briefly and they were keen to support as many vulnerable people as possible.

Date: 30/4/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

This is Amatare, he is laughing because he knows me. He also was out delivering parcels of food to the local community of Croydon with his friend. These images depict the community at its best, helping with a smile.

Date:30/4/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

I met Larry who was had finished doing his training, keeping in shape so that he could progress in his desire to play football professionally. Unfortunately due to an injury, he had to take time out of the support and redirect his career into IT which he has done successfully for 2 years. However, he feels it's time to get back into what he is a really passionate about and that is the sport of football. He informed me he has an agent and that there is a side in Norway that would love to take him on. He feels that he would rather stay closer to home and would prefer a team based in the U.K.

Date: 30/4/2020

Location: Croydon

The Uber drivers were insisting that all food be delivered on the ground. This professional got the gentleman to close the door so he could place the parcel on the floor. For this reason, I stopped ordering take away delivery. He then signalled the customer letting him know that it was now safe to collect his food.

Date:30/4/2020

Location: Mayday Hospital (Croydon University Hospital)

Clappers near Mayday hospital came out with a smile applauding the NHS on their road who do a great job in keeping us healthy. I believe there was great pride in these two as they made their sound and even cheered as staff came out from their shifts.

Date: 7/5/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

As many did, this lady and her friend did several circuits around their local park. This was because sitting at home working all day was restricting and not beneficial. She stated she was not looking to achieve a time but merely wanted to keep healthy.

Date: 7/5/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

This group of people let off some steam by having a small kick around in the park. This picture was captured as the ball went out of play and he being the youngest was sent to get it back. In our parks, we seemed to be fairly compliant with social distancing.

Date: 7/5/2020

Location: Mitcham Common

This gentleman is a UK rapper who I saw with his friend chilling in the out of bounds swings which had been closed due to the Corona. His day job is project management however his main focus was on the launching of his new EP which I hope goes well. His name is Roze.

Date: 7/5/2020

Location: My road

This is another of my neighbours who I bumped into just as I was retiring. He works in New Malden for a company called Northrup Grummon in the division called Sperry Marine. He stated he was still going to work and worked as an electrician. To my surprise, his job was in building commercial and military radars. He started as an apprentice and with various takeovers or changes in management has remained. A job for life.


He spoke about the importance of experience, many new starters coming into new positions have the theory but have no practical experience. He proudly told me how his company are one of the leading worldwide suppliers. I could tell he had more information but due to the nature of his role, this information was strictly classified.

Date: 9/5/2020

Location: Whitehorse lane, Thornton Heath

A group of migrants from Brazil "chilling" at a location near Thornton Heath. They are a moped group that like to meet up and converse. They came to this country a few years ago and were happy for me to take their picture. On this day I only had my phone, I did my best to cut out that flare from the sun.

Date:11/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

The buses around Croydon (London) were cordoned off to prevent the drivers from being infected by the public and enable them to continue getting us to and from work.

Date:11/5/2020

Location Thornton Heath Pond

After I took the photo above, the driver opened up the door and gave a pose. I thought let's do it. As I showed him the image the passengers asked what were the photos for, I simply told them the truth, for my Croydon Corona project and wished them a safe journey.

Date:11/5/2020

Location Thornton Heath Pond

This man Kristos was taking a moment to walk around the local area after a stressful encounter at work. He needed some cool air and peace to re-collect and to maintain his peace. He spoke about his daughter and how she had been studying at a university outside London but was collected due to the pending Corona fears. However, due to her studies, she was staying at her Grands to keep her focused from a house full of bubbly younger siblings.

Date:11/5/2020

Location Thornton Heath Pond

This photograph I was encouraged to put up my wonderful Instagram community. It shows some nurses and GP's finishing another busy shift at the surgery. I hesitated to take this image as I could have got them by the entrance but felt that might freak them out. However key workers like this are a key part of the Croydon community.

Date:12/5/2020

Location Thornton Heath London Road

Not all businesses were able to trade during the Corona season. This image shows two young ladies as they pass the stores that would normally be open this time.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

At times the queue for Tesco would stretch beyond the entrance to Thornton Heath Train Station. Here is one of the many examples of social queuing that took place.


Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

Here a Tesco customer curiously looks over at me to assess what I am doing with my camera as he patiently waits for his turn to enter the shop. Shops like Tesco had a security squad at the door controlling how many people came in and how many came out. THis was to maintain social distancing. The shops had one-way arrows to prevent people from walking in randomised ways.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

Two gentleman walk across the road looking relaxed and calm. I was freezing due to the weather, these men seemed un-phased and calmly went about their business.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

This young gentleman was clearly in a rush as he whizzed out on his electric scooter to get to his next destination.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

This worker is hard at work transporting items from one location to another. I saw him a few times moving items from one place to another. Many people like him worked through all or part of the pandemic and no doubt was a benefit for the community.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

This is Shane Regan, he saw me in the same spot taking images and after passing me a few times asked me to take his photo. He posed how he felt comfortable. I noted that this man had some friends who hung around the space opposite the station. Most of his group greeted me warmly but conveyed they did not want to be in the project. I think it is important to see all parts of our community as we were all impacted in some way or the other.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

This was the famous Wednesday that Boris confused the nation. Do we "stay in" or do we "go out"? Many memes followed as the public mocked the Prime Minister. This image was taken at rush hour evening time (5 pm), normally very busy. As you can see not many people coming out of the station.

Date: 13/5/2020

Location: Thornton Heath Train station

This young man was running in the direction of the bus stop. I am not sure where he was going but he wanted to get there fast!

Date: 14/5/2020

Location: London Road, Mayday Hospital (Croydon University hospital)

This gentleman caught my eye due to a near collision. He confidently rode his scooter alongside traffic. I love the way he rides calmly with one hand on the steering wheel with total calm as drivers waited to overtake safely.

Date: 14/5/2020

Location: London Road, Croydon Mosque

This is Marios he is 51 years old, he is a courier that works in Croydon. He has been living in London for 3 years and is originally from Romania but lived in Amsterdam for some time. He let me into his history, informing me that he used to be a special forces soldier and specialised in the discipline of sniping. He told me about how he parachuted out of planes. He later went on to be a professional boxer and has always preferred an active lifestyle.


He spoke about the comparisons of lifestyle in Romania where people are staying inside due to expensive fines faced if they break the rules. He liked that Britain was more relaxed. He did observe as a cyclist that they are generally not respected even though they keep fit and benefit the environment. As you can tell we spoke for a while.

Date: 14/5/2020

Location: Croydon Mosque

Because it was Ramadan I wanted to take a photo of the Muslim community. I completely forgot I lived near a Mosque until I saw some activity. This group of volunteers were giving food to those in need and local Uber drivers from the community they reach out to. At first, they were curious about my presence (understandably) however after me chilling for a while talking to passes by they realised I was not so bad. I was able to take this photo just as they were packing away. I spoke to a lady (who can't be seen) and asked her if this was the weirdest Ramadan she had experienced? She responded no and suggested things are going on pretty much as normal for her.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: West Croydon

A worker takes a moment to stand in the shade of what was a hot afternoon. Locals would know that this part of Croydon is usually crowded. However only people who can't work from home are in general travelling within the community.


Location: Croydon High Street I met a man called Ebo, he is Kurdish and has been here for 4 years. He was chilling and asked me to take his photo, so I did. With not much to do, some people took the time to just chill. For once Croydon centre was relatively calm.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Croydon High Street

Central Croydon was still a shadow of its former self, many shops not trading. Those who were able to trade did not have a lot of customers for understandable reasons. However deliveries were still being made, and people were still commuting through it.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Croydon High Street

I asked a couple who had been working out at a nearby gym followed by a brief shopping session. His partner told me he was shy around cameras as they proceeded to walk, past. Some gyms were able to open once the restrictions were loosened.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Croydon High Street

A cyclist had free roam through the town with few people to dodge and avoid. The government advice was to exercise and not use public transport where possible. This became a lot easier due to clear roads and city streets.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Croydon High Street

This family were enjoying the weather as they took a stroll through the town. The oldest looks at his father to see how he is going to respond to this sudden dash from the youngest.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Wandle Park

This man shows off in front of his friends, completely unaware his photo was being taken. I believe he was attempting the flying lotus position from karate kid.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Wandle Park

A group of young people practice their skating skills. They are not an official group but have skating in common. One of the groups I caught en route to the location earlier in the afternoon. Fortunately going to the park was one of the few activities allowed within the community. It was great to see more people using the facilities.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Wandle Park

I met a group of men from India who were of the same household. They were chilling after a hard days labour. In this group, we had some workers for various petrol stations around London.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: Wandle Park

I met Shaliza on my way out of the park, she makes clothes for a business and studied business and Law. She informed me of the next steps of her business such as outsourcing the production which involved a trip to China and possibly Turkey as it was more efficient. She informed me of her plans to launch next year with an advertising campaign. She was in the park to chill and to do some exercise.

Date: 18/05/2020

Location: West Croydon

A social distancing conversation with two responsible people keeping in contact whiles maintaining a safe distance. It was a strange thing knowing you could pop into an address but that an act of Parliament was restricting you from doing so.

Date: 19/05/2020

Location: Norbury Park

Judy is chilling on a hot 27-degree day in Norbury Park listening to music. His outfit stood out to me as it is not common attire in Croydon. He is weather leather boots and a jacket, with a cowboy hat. Most importantly he is not overheating! This is his style and I think it's cool. Judy is from Algeria from the Kabyle tribe.

Date: 19/05/2020

Location: Norbury Park

Jemel is a personal trainer and boxing coach. He was out doing his exercise in the park to keep fit. He has been affected by the Covid due to loss of ability to trade but is looking to get back into it when the sanctions are uplifted.

Date: 19/05/2020

Location: Norbury Park

This is Ramilla she is from Brazil and is here in the UK, studying English. She also came to the park to do some exercise and enjoy some of the weather. Technically this was breaking the rules as all forms of the gym were banned. Norbury park equipment was not blocked off so many locals used it freely.


Date: 19/06/2020

Location: Thornton Heath

Fishmongers struggled to keep the social distancing as the work often required working side by side. Staff needed to serve the customers and people needed to earn a living. The fishmongers was one of the few shops allowed to trade at this time.

Date: 26/06/2020

Location: London Road, Thornton Heath

Opportunist takes the time to bask in the sun on the grass. Right by the main road, it was probably one of the few spots you could truly claim to yourself as parks were filled.

Date: 26/06/2020

Location: London Road, Thornton Heath

An onlooker looks on as McDonald's is back open and delivery drivers and customers fill the car park. At this time McDonald's had not allowed any sit-in customers in their restaurants. Strangely enough, McDonald's remained close for parts of the lockdown. However, when they finally opened for takeaways/drive-throughs the ques came.

Date: 11/8/2020

Location: West Croydon

During the lockdown, many boroughs did things to be more green. One of the more popular ones were bike lanes. These are part of the councils' attempts to improve the air quality and the cycling infrastructure.

Date:11/8/2020

Location: Whitgift Centre, Croydon

This shopping district in Croydon even on lovely days is not it's the busy norm. Some shops at this time were not able to open due to the extended block of trade. Other shops went into administration or were liquefied. The riots, crime and lack of investment have seen Croydon's economy suffer. Like a negative cycle, this leads to less renovation which in term makes Croydon less desirable to commerce.


Date: 14/9/2020

Location: Thornton Heath

This is a painter on their first day working on this project. To their luck, I was there to capture this moment. I could not tell by her accent but she was French and spoke Spanish, French and English (with the London Twang!). Not wanting to get her in trouble I spoke to her boss and informed him that I was a nosey photographer. He explained that the school being built was delayed 10 weeks but was still able to be built on time. One of the results of people losing their jobs meant that vacancies were filled very quickly.

Date: 6/1/2021

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

It's a new year and another lockdown. Boris has told us that there is a new deadlier form of the Covid which is more infectious and deadly than before. Croydon is under Lockdown 3.0 where we are informed that we are not allowed to mix with people outside our social bubble, we must stay inside, we can only go out for essential business. Here a small wholesalers are restocking for their grocery shop.

Date: 6/1/2021

Location: Thornton Heath Pond

It's winter, normally there would be a buzz from the new year, people will be out getting bargains from the January sales. However, all non-essential shops are closed. Businesses are going into liquidation, debt with no security for the future. This season has hit people in so many ways, death, job loss, new ways of working. I am grateful to have been able to capture a snippet for the records.


Date: 29/3/2021

Location: Croydon Cemetery

Death was an unfortunate part of the Corona season. Not all death was caused by the virus however the restrictions people faced on funerals or visiting loved ones that were ill was a double sting. It is a shame that the only place people were really free to visit their loved ones was the graveside.


I must point out that the sense of community by this time was not as strong as before. People longed for life to be back to normal and though during the first lockdown the community would all be out "exercising" by this time people were not out as before.


Date: 13/04/2021

Location: Croydon Centre

The shops were open from the 12th of April and the people were back in force. Croydon centre was buzzing with life again, students, commuters and eager shoppers. It was good to see the economy kicking back into gear again.


Date: 13/04/2021

Location: Croydon Centre

I loved the look of this male riding his bike with his dog through the centre. When I first explored the centre a year ago, a few foot traffic came by and mainly cyclist were present. I wanted to make sure now that I was back I took another photo of a cyclist riding by.


Date: 13/04/2021

Location: Croydon Centre

I first captured this gentleman a year ago, he was looking trendy that day and clearly it was not a one-off. He immediately recognised me and asked about the last photo. I reminded Philip my project was throughout the Lockdown and that I had not released my blog yet.



Date: 13/04/2021

Location: Croydon Centre

On the left is Mera and the right Sami. I saw a group of young men of various ages gathered and I decided to approach them. Sami was on his moped, interestingly he is looking to get into video editing. Mera was with his older friend and was happy to be back in college.


Date: 13/04/2021

Location: Croydon Centre

The shops were welcomed back open with a mass of shoppers looking to get that personal experience. Primark was a store sorely missed as it did not establish an online platform for the entire lockdown, this meant fans of the shop had to wait for restrictions to be lifted in order to get their items. Non-essential shops were allowed to open 12/4/2021 to the public.


Closing remarks

Thank you for taking the time to go through my blog. It truly has been an interesting season. There were so many things I wished I could capture in this blog, however, it was not possible.











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