Photographer Tony Fisher is currently showing an exhibition of work at The Art House in Wakefield, Yorkshire, from his ongoing project ‘Only the Lonely?’, which explores loneliness.

The exhibition will be on show till 20 February 2002. Prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, Fisher was the recipient of a 2019 Arts Council England Grant, supporting him in the development of a new project also titled ‘Only the Lonely?. It was initially envisioned as a series of portraits and nature photographs exploring the theme of isolation, depression, and loneliness, but the unprecedented series of lockdowns and restrictions which unfolded across the world in 2020 made Fisher’s topic more prescient, extending both the length and breadth of the project.

Undeterred by the impact of Covid lockdown restrictions, Fisher adapted the project and, amongst the difficult feelings and circumstances of the time, he was able to capture moments of hope through his lens; shining a spotlight on the importance of creativity, connection and personal passions to increase personal well-being in the process.

'Camper Van Dreams' from the 'Only The Lonely?' project. Image: Tony Fisher

‘Camper Van Dreams’ from the ‘Only The Lonely?’ project. Image: Tony Fisher

Fisher explained, ‘I had to find new ways of working and go out in the fresh air on exercise walks from my doorstep frequently visiting my local park and woods, discovering nature and my own personal journey. When it eased a little, [I was] engaging with people at a distance who were keeping up their spirits, from a dark place, into celebration and hope. I met “ordinary people” doing extraordinary things; a celebration of humanity.’

The town of Belper, Derbyshire, (close to where Fisher lives) became a very important place for him to visit during lockdown, having discovered the ‘Belper Moo’. As a way of keeping the community together during this difficult time, the residents of Belper would call out a mighty ‘moo’ at 6.30pm every day. As time went on this became increasingly popular, with residents coming up with some very creative ways of taking part.

One of the 'Moo' images from the 'Only The Lonely?' project. Image: Tony Fisher

One of the ‘Moo’ images, from Belper, for the ‘Only The Lonely?’ project. Image: Tony Fisher

For over 40 years, mental health has played a key part in Fisher’s life, a succession of personal tragedies having led to depression, anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder, which left him struggling to cope with the extreme loneliness caused by his loss.

The ‘Only The Lonely?’ project is continuing throughout 2022. The easing of lockdown restrictions has allowed many of us to return to a sense of normality but Fisher has said he remains committed to, ‘documenting both the vulnerability and sense of community found amongst those who live with loneliness and isolation on a daily basis.’

Part of a series of regional exhibitions, a number of recent works from Fisher’s ‘Only the Lonely?’ project are the ones now on display at The Art House until 20 February 2022. The Art House is Wakefield’s largest studio complex and visual arts charity, which holds exhibitions and events, as well as providing professional development support for artists. For further information, visit The Art House, Wakefield.

To find out more about his story and view more of Tony Fisher’s work go to: Anthony Fisher Photography

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