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Powerful and personal portraits by acclaimed photographer Rankin of three frontline Midlands NHS workers who responded to the COVID-19 pandemic have been unveiled today to celebrate the NHS anniversary.
Anne Roberts, Claudia Anghel and Jack Hannay Manikum, were selected to be photographed for the collection, which will be showcased at local bus stops, roadside billboards as well as iconic pedestrian areas including the world-famous Piccadilly Lights in central London this week to mark the 72nd anniversary of the NHS.
In a mark of respect and thanks to the NHS, the renowned photographer, who has previously shot the Rolling Stones, Kate Moss and the Queen, offered to take portraits of 12 people across the country playing a vital role in the NHS response to COVID-19.
British photographer, director and cultural provocateur, Rankin, said: “As the coronavirus pandemic began to unfold, I was moved by the incredible efforts of people across the NHS and I wanted to document who they are and their role in fighting this disease. Taking a portrait is a unique and intimate experience, even with social distancing in place. Everyone had their own inspiring story which to them was just doing their job. I hope these images portray the resilience and courage they show every day in the face of real adversity.”
Sir Simon Stevens, NHS Chief Executive, said: “As we approach the NHS’s anniversary, these striking portraits pay tribute to all NHS staff and their extraordinary dedication. On July 5th we also want to say thank you to those from all walks of life who have played their part in helping the NHS and our communities deal with this unprecedented health emergency.”
Anne Roberts, District Nurse, Midlands Partnership NHS Foundation Trust, said: “When I heard I’d been chosen to take part in the photo shoot I was gobsmacked. It made me giggle because I’m 53 and not much of a supermodel. I told Rankin: ‘If you don’t make me look like Kate Moss, I’ll be having words with you.’
Claudia Anghel, Midwife at University Hospital Coventry and Warwickshire, said: “I don’t like having my picture taken so when I heard about the photo shoot my first thought was ‘I can’t do that.’ I felt really nervous and embarrassed about it. But then I thought it’s got to be a good thing if it promotes midwifery which I feel is a very noble profession.”
Jack Hannay Manikum, 111 call handler, West Midlands Ambulance Service, said: “I’m so honoured to be a part of this campaign – I just wish I hadn’t had to shave my own hair during lockdown!”
Nigel Sturrock, Medical Director at NHS England and NHS Improvement in the Midlands, said: “Rankin’s strong and powerful portraits provide a lasting legacy to the dedication of NHS staff during the COVID-19 pandemic. Anne, Claudia and Jack are inspirational examples of how NHS staff across the Midlands have pulled out the stops to tackle COVID-19 and provide exemplary care for patients”
Alongside their portrait, Anne, Claudia and Jack have shared their own personal stories from the frontline, providing a unique and touching insight into the lives of the people who are battling this pandemic and saving lives.
All portraits are being donated by Rankin to the NHS as an ongoing legacy for years to come. Advertising space to display the portraits has also been donated.
The full selection of portraits and their stories can be found here: www.england.nhs.uk/rankin