Snow Capped Mountain

Being confined to one place while everyone else carries on with their lives can be a source of anxiety, but if the whole world is forced to stand still with you, the experience is profoundly different.

When the door to the outside world was closed by the pandemic, we gained a renewed appreciation for everything around us. For many, having no contact with the natural world was felt acutely: we humans have a strong connection to nature – one forged over millennia.

The frantic activity at the onset of lockdown subsided and was replaced by a chasm of ‘empty’ time. Here was an opportunity to make a considered assessment of what our future priorities should be. And we only had to look out of our windows for guidance: we experienced cleaner air, less traffic, clearer skies… and birdsong echoing through our cities.

In my vision of the future, the pandemic has served as a poignant and timely reminder.

My flag says: don’t hold nature hostage for short-term economic gain. Lockdown has proved that travelling less, consuming less, rushing less and ‘missing out’ more is not detrimental to our happiness.

If we lock out nature, it will lock us in forever.

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John MacLean (UK) worked at The Royal College of Art and has been a London-based, independent photographer since 1998. He has published ten photobooks in his career, and has exhibited at Unseen Amsterdam, Lodz Fotofestiwal in Poland, and Unseen Paris.