‘It came with a quiet creeping, like a sunrise, or a sunset. We knew it was coming, and yet it took us by surprise. Leaving us standing still and silent. It’s not violent, but it’s deadly’ – a poignant poem echoing Sidmouth in lockdown has been written for a moving new video.
Photographer and videographer Kyle Baker, aged 22, of Sidford, spent the coronavirus lockdown filming Sidmouth’s empty streets, putting together a three-and-a-half-minute movie of the town, which has been viewed more than 60,000 times across the world.
And lockdown images of Sidmouth, photographed by Kyle, of Fleming Avenue, Sidford, could be turned into a book for posterity if there is enough interest.
The video is expected to be archived and kept by the town for future generations.
The cinematic shots of Sidmouth’s deserted streets, shut shops, empty beauty spots, featuring local keyworkers – binmen, shopkeepers – and the town’s clap for the NHS, is narrated by Imogen Hudson-Clayton, who wrote a poem to resonate community feeling.
Kyle, whose wedding and commercial photography business went on hold because of the coronavirus pandemic, said his video, Locked Down in a Small Seaside Town, was created after he started producing short films of natural sounds for those who were shielding and unable to go outside.
He said: “I started creating short video walks around Sidmouth, of natural sounds, from walks were doing while exercising.
“I made them for those people that couldn’t go outside and were stuck indoors, to allow people to have a few minutes of natural sounds.”
“We thought we would walk through town. I noticed the change and how eerie it was. It gave me the idea to film a short documentary on Sidmouth in lockdown, because the focus had been on larger cities. I wanted to portray what was happening in small seaside town.
“A lot of the media was showing the busy places, like London, Plymouth and Bristol, so I wanted to film something from my perspective, a really quiet seaside town which is usually buzzing with life, especially through the summer, and how that turned around into nothing.
“I wanted to show how haunted and eerie it had got in the matter of hours.
“I started taking photos first them I soon realised it was a good idea to document this so I started filming. And then I wanted to include our keyworkers and anyone doing anything for our community. There’s a big community spirit in Sidmouth.
“There’s some transition from empty streets then it builds up into community spirit, children drawing rainbows, people creating scrubs and masks, and it ends with Sidmouth hospital, and the staff outside.”
Kyle appealed for help to narrate the video, collaborating with artist Imogen who, he said, added emotion to the film through her words and narration.
Her poem tells how ‘even in this little seaside town we went to war, by closing our doors’ and ends ‘make no mistake, we will pull together. We will keep our hearts open. Even when we’re having to stand two metres apart’.
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