Friday Fry Up: Alys Tomlinson — Lost Summer


  • Who knew the world could change so much, Disturbed routines, submerged in houses.
  • Mask on with freedoms gone,
    Emotions creep up, but I hold on.
  • Proms canceled, nurses abandoned,
    Forced to walk in uncertainty.
    But I learn, grow and remember that today is ours,
  • So, let us live it and enjoy what we have.

Ruthann Mburu, 16 years, London

Lost Summer consists of 44 black and white portraits of north London teenagers. From June to August 2020, once lockdown had eased, Alys Tomlinson photographed young people whose proms and end-of-year celebrations had been canceled due to Covid-19. Instead of being in the usual settings of school halls or hotel function rooms, she captured them all dressed up in their gardens, backyards and local parks.

The portraits illustrate the poignancy of a lost summer for teenagers who were unable to mark this significant step in growing up and leaving school. There is a quietness to the images and a merging of the inner and outer worlds, the psychological and physical. The images represent a loss and longing, but also celebrate each teenager as an individual, navigating this uncertain and challenging time.

Alys Tomlinson (b.1975) is a photographer based in London, UK. Her personal work is often concerned with the relationship between people and place, exploring themes of ritual, belonging and identity. In 2019, her monograph Ex-Voto was published by GOST Books. She has recently been named as a nominee in the Prix Elysée and was awarded the Public Prize in the 2019 Discovery Award at Rencontres d’Arles. She was the winner of the Sony World Photographer of the Year 2018 for her acclaimed series ‘Ex-Voto’ and has recently been named as a Sundance Institute, Documentary Fund Grantee for a feature-length documentary film she is making, called Mother Vera.

To see more of Alys Tomlinson’s work visit — Website / Instagram.