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  • Writer's pictureSophie Sheinwald

Behind the Mask - David Sadler - Healthcare Worker

Updated: Jan 18, 2021

Welcome to the forth in our series of posts featuring healthcare workers with their portraits taken by UK photographers for the 2020 Vision Project. We bring to light the human story of healthcare workers who tirelessly worked through the intense period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Here we recognise the incredible work of forensic pathologist and skateboarding lover, Dr. David Sadler. David was photographed, behind the mask by Scottish portrait photographer Frank MacDonald for the 2020 Vision project.

David Sadler photographed by Frank MacDonald in Dundee

What Covid-19 brought to the mortuary

Thanks to many of the photographers on the project, we have a variety of nationwide healthcare workers. Each role is vital – the area of forensics is no exception. David tells us firsthand of his experience. “The greatest challenge has been managing the risk relating to post mortem examination of possible COVID-19 cases – specifically, whether to perform an autopsy or not. Secondly, maintaining standards of hygiene and protective precautions in the short and medium term."

"The risk of exposure in the mortuary will be with us for some time. The need for death investigation continues as before, with considerable risk to police, funeral directors, pathologists, mortuary technicians and other mortuary related workers.”

Inspiration and gratitude

“The response and gratitude of the public towards front line workers, quite apart from the Thursday evening public applause, people are genuinely grateful to frontline workers who are working in difficult circumstances and in the face of considerable risk.”

What can we take away from the experience?

“Some of the enforced measures during lockdown and social distancing actually represent improvements and should be made permanent. Eg. Use of video conferencing to cut down unnecessary travel. Introduction of novel distance learning techniques which may enable wider outreach to students all over the world.“

Why Frank got involved in the 2020 Vision Project

Dundee based portrait photographer Frank MacDonald joined the 2020 Vision Project in June and before Covid-19 hit, Frank enjoyed travelling the globe photographing fashion shows.

"I got involved in the 2020 Vision Project because I felt that in some small way I could be part of a collective group that would show the world how much we respect and indeed love our NHS. "

"My son’s fiancé is also a doctor. They were supposed to be getting married in May 2020, but due to Covid it has been put off until May 2021.

I felt really deflated after that and I so wanted to thank the NHS and being part of this project has allowed me to do it.

For that I am forever grateful."

Behind the mask with the skateboarding doctor

"I first met David about 10 years ago, we are both members of Dundee Photographic Society. Indeed, David was president up until 18 months ago. David is also a great photographer who has, dare I say it, a weird and wonderful style."

"David loves to skateboard and he also uses a motorised longboard. He also snowboards – not really expected for a guy in his 50’s. So let me explain a little further. As a forensic pathologist, David works with the local police and is also a member of Dundee University medical department. I didn’t know this for a few years of knowing him. I can only guess that (with this type of day job) his photography must be a huge release from the pressures of work."

"I took many photos of David with his longboard and his skateboards beside a wall totally covered in graffiti as I thought that was in keeping with David’s out of the box attitude. The photo I chose was David coming towards me on a footpath by the graffiti wall at speed on his skateboard. I use large flash with outdoors a lot in my work and I used that to capture David as he came towards me to make him stand out more in my photo.”

The ‘behind the mask’ 2020 Vision Project portraits, reflect our healthcare workers’ dedication, resilience, courage and teamwork throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. We share the human story and we will be highlighting more stories, as we work towards more exhibitions of these beautiful validating portraits. The 2020 Vision Project is a collective of talented UK portrait photographers and visual storytellers. Each share their creative vision towards a visual commemoration of healthcare workers nationwide.

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