'Brave new streets of London' – photo collection captures a city under Covid

Heavy rain, Piccadilly Circus, London, 2020

Heavy rain, Piccadilly Circus, London, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

A South Kilburn photographer spent 2020 walking the streets of London, recording a city coming to terms with life in a pandemic.

Abbas M Ahmed was born in Baghdad, Iraq, and moved to London as a child. Now 28, he works as a sales manager in the City.

A keen photographer, he captures moments of everyday life, inspired by faces, lights, shadows and objects that are somehow out of place.

Stories from across London are captured on his website and Instagram page. Abbas said he favours the "unrestricted form of art" of street photography that "allows you to express or link your emotions to others".

Yellow handbag, Mayfair

Yellow handbag, Mayfair - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

"I picked up the camera in the early days of the global pandemic to project the stories I saw in the brave new streets of London via photographs to my viewers," said Abbas.

"Sunk in my own thoughts and emotions at the strike of the new world we were unpleasantly introduced to, I found myself in desperate need to voice my emotions and let people know my side of the story we have all become a part of. So, I began to take my evening walks, observing the city – empty were the streets I roamed in search of normality."


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Abbas went out every evening, until he "began to witness London somewhat adjust and learn to breath in its new restricted lifestyle". 

In the shadow, Piccadilly Circus, 2020

In the shadow, Piccadilly Circus, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

"As I watched the city I love go through this, a spark of urge within me wanted to project this to others so the next time I went out for my evening walk, I took a rarely used camera I had for occasions...snap! - a six-foot, sharp-featured man stood in the heart of Piccadilly Circus looking down at the staircase emerging from its underground station, awaiting someone, the bright lights of the city shining behind him yet slowly lighting up the darkness in front," said Abbas. 

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"Almost two years on I find myself seeing, capturing and sharing stories like the one above with an inexpressible passion and commitment to continue." 

Smoke in the West end

Smoke in the West end - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Piccadilly Circus, London. 2021

Piccadilly Circus, London. 2021 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Heavy heart, Soho, London 2021

Heavy heart, Soho, London 2021 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Drifting apart. West End, London, 2020

Drifting apart. West End, London, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Shut, Soho, London, 2020

Shut, Soho, London, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Chair, Carnaby Street, London, 2020

Chair, Carnaby Street, London, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Phone call, Mayfair, London, 2020

Phone call, Mayfair, London, 2020 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Solitude, Oxford Street, London, 2021

Solitude, Oxford Street, London, 2021 - Credit: Abbas M Ahmed

Visit Abbas's website at www.abbasmahmed.com or find him on Instagram at www.instagram.com/absalpha

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