Since the UK went into lockdown on March 23rd, A Printmaker from Salford has been collecting photos sent in from across the world via Facebook to document how people are feeling during the coronavirus pandemic.

Printmaker Malcolm Duffin created the facebook page ‘Viral Portraits‘ with hopes of receiving 100 photo submissions to turn into portraits. Duffin has since received almost 300 contributions including some from healthcare workers, supermarket staff and delivery drivers.

© 2020 Malcolm Duffin All Rights Reserved
Selection of portraits © 2020 Malcolm Duffin All Rights Reserved

Mr Duffin said:

“The coronavirus pandemic is one of the biggest things that has happened in the last century.

“I felt absolutely impelled to respond to that in some way.

“Social media in lockdown is a great outlet for people to keep in touch with family and friends and as an artist its a way I can reach out to people to be part of the project.”


The portraits will become part of the ‘Viral Portraits Project’. A response to corona virus and Mr Duffin’s latest art piece.

Mr Duffin continues:

“The portraits will be etched.

“Etching involves taking a metal or plastic plate and using a needle or other abrasive tool to cut into it. You then run it through a press to then put it onto paper.”

Creating in lockdown

Normally, Mr Duffin would complete his work in his studio but government restrictions placed during the lockdown has caused Mr Duffin to get even more creative from home. Mr Duffin says that the plates have been: “buried…had drain cleaner poured on them and wire wool rubbed on them.” This aims to represent a “contamination” which is then pressed onto the paper.

© 2020 Malcolm Duffin All Rights Reserved
Etching process © 2020 Malcolm Duffin All Rights Reserved

A page gone viral

The public page currently has over 500 members and has had submissions from people of all ages and backgrounds from across the globe.

Facebook user Debra Jansen’s post highlighted the harsh realities some people are facing during the pandemic. She writes: “Having an autoimmune disease, asthma, fibromyalgia, possible M.E. too. The stress is unbelievable, and has triggered symptoms of my conditions.”



Facebook user Odette O’reily posted this photo and writes: “From Hanoi. Not full lockdown here (yet), so making the most of the freedom. Good luck with the project!.”

“From Hanoi. Not full lock down here (yet), so making the most of the freedom. Good luck with the project!” © 2020 Odette O’Reily All Rights Reserved












A hospice charity worker, Heather Crabtree, has also submitted a photo of herself and another of her eight-year-old son Henson communicating online with friends.

Your contributions

Some more of the photo submissions to the ‘Viral Portraits’ Facebook page can be seen here:

Mr Duffin explained his feelings towards the response the page has gotten and what he hopes to do with the artwork:

“Its really interesting. Its not what I’ve expected. its taken on a life of its own. I’m surprised and really happy with where it is going.

“When we all come out of lockdown, when we all walk into the light- a bit like birds being released from a cage I’d do something with them.

“I’m hoping that there’ll be some kind of exhibition where all of these wonderful people involved can touch it, see it and feel it.”


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