PHOTOGRAPHS taken by teenagers of their lives in lockdown have gone on display on billboards, lamp posts and houses across the district.

The ‘ Our Street Gallery’ is a 12-month project transforming the district’s streets into a canvas of over 50 images capturing moments and feelings of 13 to 18-year-olds stuck at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Hamza Saraj, Amy Lorrimer and Abdi Shakur with their work

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Morgan Foord and Jay Kundu with their images

The photographs were taken for Through Our Lens, a project led by Shipley photographer Carolyn Mendelsohn, who came up with idea at the start of lockdown, when nearly all her upcoming work was cancelled or postponed. Having secured a grant from Bradford Council’s RESPONSE fund, Carolyn put a call-out on social media and got a huge response. In collaboration with Bradford College, she mentored more than 40 young people in photography, through video conferencing and weekly online workshops.

The resulting images, which the Telegraph & Argus featured in May, include glimpses of the outside world through bedroom windows, poignant journals and self portraits reflecting a sense of isolation. Teenagers taking part include a number of refugees who moved here shortly before lockdown.

The striking photographs - which gained global attention and were praised by the New York Times - are on Instagram @through_our_lens_covid19_proj/. Now some of the images are on billboards, sides of houses, pavements, lamp posts, windows and school railings across Bradford, Ilkley, Keighley and Shipley. Through Our Lens is the first ‘episode’ of the street gallery project, bringing to life the powerful work created by local people thanks to the council’s RESPONSE grants, launched in April to help the arts sector survive and thrive lockdown and beyond.

Through Our Lens will be part of a Bradford Museums and Galleries photographic archive, which will show in years to come what life was like during the pandemic. The teenagers’ images will also be exhibited next year at Bradford’s Impressions Gallery.

Said Carolyn: “I have three teenagers of my own and as soon as we went into lockdown it became apparent that with cancelled exams, a sudden lack of interaction with peers and a huge change in life structure, teenagers were facing a huge upheaval at a crucial time in their lives. With almost all my own work on hold, I wanted to use the time to give these young people a voice and help them to tell their own important story.

“The project started life as a collection of images on social media, it’s brilliant that we can now showcase these incredible photographs outside across the district as lockdown eases.”

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Carolyn Mendelsohn, who led Through Our Lens

Bradford Telegraph and Argus:

Esme Duckworth and Amilah Majid with their images, now on display as part of Our Street Gallery

Cllr Sarah Ferriby, the council’s Executive Member for Healthy People and Places, said: “We have some amazingly creative people in our district.

“Through Our Lens was funded through one of our REPONSE grants which have supported both those in the creative and arts sector, as well as the mental and emotional wellbeing of residents from across the district. I’m incredibly proud of the work produced by these young people during this incredibly difficult time for them and I hope they're proud that their work has been chosen to form the first chapter of the ‘Our Street Gallery’ project.

“The work they have created is a testament to the sheer talent we have here and this project makes sure people get the chance to see that talent displayed big and proud.”

Our Street Gallery is supported by Bradford Council; Impressions Gallery; Bradford 2025 and Bradford-based design studios and artists Lee Goater, Split Design and Aimee Grundell.