Women on the Frontlines with Elizabeth Okoh.

Women on the Frontlines with Elizabeth Okoh.

Buckle Street Studio’s latest art installation is a celebration of the unsung heroines of the pandemic. Encapsulating the stories of ten women who worked in essential industries during the pandemic.

Photographer and writer Elizabeth Okoh’s latest project dives into the ‘mental, emotional and physical realities’ of women working on the frontlines during the time of the COVID pandemic, from nurses to postal workers and bus drivers. Okoh tells their stories of those that "significantly contributed to society during the pandemic; and to learn from their experiences for the future.

Elizabeth Okoh is a multi-disciplinary artist and author. Lize’s art practices focus on bringing light to stories and experiences of marginalised communities. Having worked as a creative writer, Lize was “bolstered by that experience and the excitement of creating fictional worlds that could inspire others”. Her debut novel, The Returnees, was published in 2020.

<p>Image Credits: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/lizeokoh/">Elizabeth Okoh</a>.</p>

Image Credits: Elizabeth Okoh.

As a photographer, Lize's persistence and curiosity has seen her produce a number of exhibitions in both solo and group shows, alongside features in publications such as The Guardian, BBC and Amateur Photographer magazine, as well as curated in exhibitions nationally and internationally. 

We caught up with Lize ahead of her solo exhibition at Buckle Street Studios, Women on the Frontlines.

<p>Image Credits: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/lizeokoh/" id="isPasted">Elizabeth Okoh</a>.</p>

Image Credits: Elizabeth Okoh.

What was the moment that led you to embark on Women on the Frontlines? 

The idea for Women on The Frontlines was born during a reflective moment in 2020. Apart from the pandemic, the world was descending into chaos and there were some days I felt so sad and wouldn’t have been able to work even if I wasn’t in lockdown. But it dawned on me that there were people who still had to work – essential workers who we couldn’t have some of our modern-day comforts without. 

I was curious about how they could work daily with everything going on. This sprung the idea to document their experiences and importantly, celebrate their efforts. 

How did you meet the women who would become involved in the project? 

 As a boudoir photographer, I have a big list of women signed up to my email list. So I started by sending emails to them about my project and making a call out on social media too. I also emailed the various essential industry unions to share the project with their members. And my friends shared it with their network and so it snowballed from there.  

<p>Image Credits: <a href="https://www.instagram.com/lizeokoh/" id="isPasted">Elizabeth Okoh</a>.</p>

Image Credits: Elizabeth Okoh.

What tips would you give budding photographers to break into the industry? 

I’d say follow your heart and your why. Also, keep checking in with yourself to ensure your actions are in alignment with your vision for your career. Finally, invest in yourself and your business. Find the best tutors with proven results to help you scale your photography business. As an artist, your work deserves to be seen and valued. Advocating for yourself with the right tools ensures you take care of yourself and ensures the longevity of your career.  

As women we are continuously reframing what success looks like in our lives. Whether that be in career, passion, love and what we see for the future....How has your idea of success developed over time? 

As women we are continuously reframing what success looks like in our lives. Whether that be in career, passion, love and what we see for the future....How has your idea of success developed over time?

2018 was the year I decided I wanted to do photography professionally. At the time, I wanted to use my photography as a means to tell stories and dreamt of my work being exhibited. Making money from it was secondary but I quickly realised I loved working as a portrait photographer and wanted to make a living out of it. 

But my idea of success on the whole hasn’t changed much. To me, it’s always meant being able to earn from my art – living a comfortable life that allows me to own a home, travel around the world, pour back into my family and friends and tell stories that uplift and inspire others to make the best out of life.  

I’ve already been featured in several exhibitions and I now work full-time as an artist. So, I’m thrilled to be on my way to achieving my version of success. 

Women on the Frontlines can be viewed at Buckle Street Studios by Locke until 31st March 2024.


Buckle Street Studios

Check into Buckle Street Studios hotel near Shoreditch, Liverpool Street and the Gherkin to discover a stylish abode within easy reach of The City.  Stay for a night or a week in your own compact studio. Find focus in the large coworking space. Or explore Leman Locke next door to find a café, restaurant, and gym.

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