With lockdown measures in place, city streets have been without their usual hustle and bustle over recent months.
But one man was determined to find a way to capture city life during this unique period in history.
Dan Barker, a marketing and e-commerce consultant, tells Metro.co.uk: ‘Lots has been written about coronavirus and talked about, but aside from big news stories there aren’t many photos of how it’s affected us day-to-day.’
Using the Monopoly board as inspiration, Dan captured lockdown life at some of London’s key locations.
Dan adds: ‘The Monopoly board is a great format for looking at London in a bit of a structured way.
‘Everyone has some sort of connection with the board, or with some of the locations, so I thought it would be a nice idea to try and show something about London without simply randomly picking areas.’
After finishing work early one day, Dan decided to use his free time to tour the city taking photographs – before catching his train back home to Sheffield.
The walk took him six hours to complete, in order to cover all the Monopoly spots.
Dan says: ‘I cheated a little bit at the start and took a street bike between some of the locations rather than walking.
‘For example, Lambeth North – which isn’t an official tile on the board, but was designated as “Go” by Ordnance Survey – is a long way from Old Kent Road (the first stop), and that’s miles away from Whitechapel Road.
‘After you get past the first side of the board, everything’s a little closer together: Fleet Street, Strand, Trafalgar Square are all close together, Bond Street, Regent Street, Oxford Street are all close to each other and the same with Park Lane and Mayfair.’
The variety between the areas was something that caught Dan’s attention – particularly with fewer people on the streets.
Dan says: ‘The Monopoly board was designed to cover a cross-section of London, even though it only features one “official” square south of the river.
‘You can still feel the variety today, and in a different way during lockdown – lots of security guards in Covent Garden and Mayfair guarding well-tended houses and shops, verses more obvious signs of poverty in some of the more residential areas.’
Trafalgar Square, in particular, held a special place in Dan’s heart.
He adds: ‘I was married at the church there – St Martin in the Fields – and love the work that they do around music and homelessness.’
But a few other things surprised Dan on his walking tour.
He says: ‘The stations were really interesting – the cleanest I’ve ever seen them, and quite beautiful in their quiet state. With just a handful of people they look almost like architectural drawings.
‘The other thing that surprised me was the number of homeless people still stuck outside.
‘I think a lot of people think homeless people had all been given accommodation, based on some of the things Westminster Council had communicated, but there are still a lot sleeping on the streets.
‘I ended up having a chat with probably half a dozen homeless people – one chap who said he hadn’t really had a proper conversation with someone for six weeks.’
After photographing the board game spots, Dan took to Twitter to share his project.
Naturally, social media went wild for Dan’s efforts and his post has now racked up more than 36,000 likes.
One follower commented: ‘This is amazing Dan. It’s fantastic to see London in such a calm state – albeit a little weird!’
Dan says, since posting on Twitter, he’s even had requests to put his photos into book and exhibition form.
He adds: ‘The intent had really been to record a once-in-a-lifetime period in one of the world’s most interesting cities, and I think from some of the responses, and the 18 million views, that it’s managed to capture some of that.’
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