Meet the man capturing a village in a pandemic – and how you can get involved
PUBLISHED: 07:21 16 July 2020 | UPDATED: 08:35 16 July 2020
A faded photograph taken decades ago has been the inspiration for a Hethersett man to record social history during lockdown.
Keen photographer Warwick Cooper hit upon the idea of capturing images of local residents on their doorsteps during the pandemic.
“I saw that people were taking photographs of the colourful windows during lockdown,” he said. “That gave me the idea of making some kind of permanent record of lockdown.
“I liked the idea of taking photographs of people. I wanted a project I could make my own and also which would give people something to look back on in the future and prompt memories.”
Then he came across a photograph of his maternal grandparents, Russell and Doris Vincent, taken in Hethersett around 1946 and his idea began to develop into a reality.
As Mr Cooper was born and bred in Hethersett, attending Woodside School, Hethersett Middle School and Hethersett High, it seemed logical to base his project within the local community.
“I could have knocked on doors or charged for the service, but I wanted it to be free and I wanted to work with people who wanted to be part of the project.
“The idea came to me when I found an old photograph of my grandparents. They lived close to Hethersett Memorial Playing Field and were standing on their doorstep. I had the idea of replicating the photograph to give people something they can look back on in years to come and say ‘hey that was when we were in quarantine.’
“Suddenly I had a project that would be ideal for lockdown and one that could go on in the future and capture images for future generations to enjoy,” he said adding that he advertised his free service on various social media sites and then used word of mouth as people began to contact him as they realised the importance of the project.
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Mr Cooper, 22, has been a keen photographer since childhood when he used a small 1.2 megapixel camera.
Today he photographs weddings, takes studio shots and street scenes and much more as his photographic world continues to expand.
Over the past few years, since leaving Hethersett High School (now Hethersett Academy), he has travelled the world capturing landscapes and people. He is hoping that Project Hethersett Front Door could lead to a full-time career in photography.
The essence of his project is to make his subjects feel at ease: “I have taken some formal photographs, but also crazy ones with people pulling faces or using props. Some people have dressed up and others have been photographed in their pyjamas. I have depicted them however they feel comfortable.”
To date Mr Cooper has taken photographs of individuals, couples, families, pets and also featured people’s hobbies. He has also captured two proposals of marriage, two anniversaries and birthday celebrations.
The images are currently available on the All Things Hethersett Facebook page which has over 3,100 members. He is hoping to set-up a dedicated website in the near future as his portfolio of photographs expands into the hundreds.
The project is also dedicated to the memory of his father Simon Cooper who died earlier this year from cancer. Warwick admits that it has helped him to grieve for a father who was always hugely supportive of his three children.
“People grieve in so many different ways. Dad loved looking through the photos I took from all over the world. This project is just a small way of thanking him for all his support.”
In February, just a few weeks after Simon died, Warwick’s sister Quenby and her boyfriend Connor Worby raised hundreds of pounds for the Big C cancer charity from a performance of the play “Lungs” in Hethersett Village Hall. Warwick’s brother Nathan has run marathons in Simon’s memory.
If you would like your photograph taken you can contact Warwick on 07476 411118 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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