Wear a Mask

"The Covid19 pandemic is a unique moment in British history. The variety and individual taste that these photographs demonstrate is totally fascinating. Martin Stott has located a wonderful collection of mask wearers.”
Martin Parr

Wear A Mask!

Oxford’s Pandemic Portraits

Martin Stott

“As this striking diversity of photographs illustrates… masking policies have not changed who we are: they have helped reveal who we are.” —Trisha Greenhalgh, Professor of Primary Care, University of Oxford

Between early 2020 and spring 2021, Oxford – like the rest of the UK – was subject to a series of restrictions to combat the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic. After initial hesitation, the government stipulated that face masks should be worn in certain contexts to reduce transmission. These masks soon became obligatory but also a matter of personal choice in terms of how they looked and what they signified.

Over a year, Oxford-based photographer Martin Stott recorded hundreds of images of masked individuals in the city, revealing the extraordinary diversity and individuality at play in a public health measure that was previously unfamiliar to most people. Politics, identity, fashion, subversion and resilience are all colourfully expressed in Stott’s subjects who were photographed in a range of everyday contexts. This book presents 56 of these photographs.

Wear a Mask!, echoing Anthony Fauci’s memorable plea for collective action, provides a striking visual record of how Oxford’s population reacted to an unprecedented public health crisis and turned face masks into a powerful expression of identity.   

Martin Stott is a photographer, writer and former Oxford City councillor. He is author of a number of books including The Cowley Road Cookbook (Signal 2015), a member of the Oxford Photographers Group and Chair of Writers in Oxford. This is his first photobook.

£10 paperback

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72 pp, colour photographs

September 2021

ISBN: 9781838463021