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  • Writer's pictureSophie Sheinwald

Behind the Mask - Marie Curie social worker - Andrew Marshall

Updated: Feb 17, 2021

This is the first in a series of short posts featuring healthcare workers with their portraits taken by UK photographers for the 2020 Vision Project. Each photographer has brought to light the human story of healthcare workers who tirelessly worked through the intense period of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Andrew Marshall, pictured above, behind the mask, is the principal social worker at Marie Curie Hospice, Bradford. In July 2020 he arrived at the studio of portrait photographer Lisa Holmes with bunches of beautiful sunflowers. Lisa had asked him to bring items that meant something to him, so she could create a very unique portrait for the project.

Why sunflowers?

Andrew had organised a hospice-wide sunflower competition. He wanted to say a big thank you to his colleagues for everything they were doing. He created sunflower growing kits and gave them to his workmates as well as sending them to colleagues who worked from home. Bringing sunshine into people's homes.

"I've had so many difficult conversations with families who wanted to visit their loved ones, but couldn't due to the Covid-19 restrictions. It challenged my values as a social worker. My role is key in helping families work through difficulties and hardship and through supporting resilience. Telling people that they couldn’t come and visit was really hard, but this was the right thing to do to keep people safe. I provided lots of emotional support to the patients and their families. I used virtual visiting to help families stay connected. It was a privilege to support this process and be there to facilitate this. I created sunflower growing kits and gave them to all my colleagues and also sent them to home workers. It was so well received and everyone has enjoyed growing their sunflowers at home."

Bradford photographer, Lisa Holmes

Lisa Holmes portrait photographer
"I wanted the photography to show the healthcare workers as pillars of society that they have proven to be. I wanted the images to be multifaceted and communicate their story.

For inspiration I looked at the grand portraits painted in the 18th century of high ranking members of society that had been on The Grand Tour or those of Generals that had come back from a battle. They would be painted stood proudly, surrounded by their wares to show their important status and superiorness.

I was very aware that many healthcare workers would not see themselves like that, but it was how I felt they should be seen. As heroes who stood up for this country. So I asked each one to bring in different items that represent them, their work and their time during lockdown.

When Andrew arrived with beautiful dog Tanzi by his side, he was beaming and I could instantly see how he would be a comfort to anyone. His story was amazing and the work he had put in to create hundreds of sunflower kits to help cheer the Marie Curie staff was incredible. Whilst photographing we danced to Madonna doing the Vogue hand signals. It was one of the most fun shoots I’ve ever done.

Andrew Marshall Voguing to Madonna at Lisa Holmes photography studio
Andrew Marshall Voguing

The 2020 Vision Project

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.

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 over the coming weeks we will be highlighting stories, as we work towards more exhibitions of these beautiful validating portraits.

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