In the Eye of the Storm: London’s Covid Wards Captured Through Nurse’s Lens


A photo exhibition by a London nurse, who used photography to cope with the stress of the pandemic, is set to show the stark reality of what life was like on Britain’s Covid wards as coronavirus hit.

Paediatric matron, Hannah Deller, from Bermondsey, who transformed her children’s ward into an adult covid ward specialising in palliative care through Nursing agencies in London, is displaying her dramatic portrayal of life in a London hospital at the height of the pandemic, at this year’s The London Photo Show in November.

The show is free to enter and takes place at London’s Bargehouse Gallery, situated in the iconic Oxo Tower Wharf, between 11th and 14th November 2021. Visit for information.

Hannah’s collection features her colleagues dressed in full PPE, looking like they’ve beamed right off the set of an apocalypse movie. Yet for 18+ months this was a daily reality for the staff at Paddington’s St Mary’s hospital.

Talking of how she came to start her pandemic photographic journey, Hannah recalls:

“I remember one day I was walking down the corridor and there in the doorway to ICU was one of my colleagues looking out of the window. It was a one-way system, and he was actually stuck at the door, dressed in full PPE. It looked like a scene from a scary movie.

“I love taking photos, it’s a huge passion of mine. I trained as a photographer in New York, and now I mainly do it in and around my other passion – nursing.

“I just looked, and I was like, wow, that’s a really good shot. I felt like I needed to take that picture. So, I asked his permission and he said, ‘yes, of course’. That was my first photograph.”

From then, Hannah began to record daily life, both on the wards and on the streets around her local area. Attendees at the exhibition will be reminded of some of the bizarre sights that resulted from coronavirus restrictions. She continued:

“Looking back, I think the way I dealt with the stress was to take photographs.

“Right at the beginning, when we all started putting on PPE it was almost like dress up. It was really odd. I remember thinking ‘wow’, this is just bizarre. I think that’s why there are so many shots of me and the other doctors and nurses in PPE, it was a way of helping me to process what was going on around me.

“I started to take photos not just on the wards but on my way home too, I remember seeing some swings in a park that had been cordoned off, they looked as if a huge spider had come and wrapped them in webs. It was a surreal time.”