Award-winning war photographer Giles Duley documents our response to Covid-19
In May, award-winning war photographer Giles Duley spent a fortnight documenting our response to the coronavirus pandemic. Now, his powerful images and accompanying article are featured in this month's British GQ magazine.
You can find the issue on newsstands now and read the article online.
We’ve also made a documentary about Giles’s time with us, where he speaks brilliantly and movingly about the experience.
For Giles, the decision to come and spend time in ICU was a difficult one.
In 2011, he was injured when he stepped on an IED while working in Afghanistan. He spent 46 days recovering in hospital and lost both his legs and one arm.
“It was actually some of the teams that helped save my life and helped me regain some of my independence that got in contact and asked if I would come along and document what was happening,” says Giles. “They felt this was a historic moment for the NHS and there should be a record.
“If I’m honest, I struggled with the idea of going back. I’ve continued to work in conflict zones, but if I’m honest I was more scared of going back to the intensive care unit to document the work there.
“But what I was looking – searching – for was to find that humanity.”
In the film, Giles talks about the picture he thinks best captures our response to the pandemic.
“What was the most moving photograph, for me, was taken during a night shift in what was the Paediatric Intensive Care Unit at St Mary’s, which was now operating as an adult Covid-19 ward. [It’s] of a doctor holding the hand of a comatose patient, and that, for me, represents everything that I’ve seen here. In a place that was struggling with such a complex and difficult virus, what I kept seeing again and again was the humanity of all of the staff who work here.
“Watching those little details of life – shaving a patient, holding their hand, spending time with them, being close to them – I can’t tell you, as a former patient myself, how important that is.”