Capturing art-world and creative figures at home in their living room, at their desks and by their windows, British photographer Joanna Vestey’s portraits are a marker of our strange times. Wearing their masks, her subjects, including Grayson Perry, Jenny Saville and Camille Walala, have been photographed as part of a series to raise money for art therapy charity, AT The Bus.

Before the most recent UK restrictions, Oxfordshire-born Vestey travelled across the country to document life under lockdown. Relying only on her tripod, camera and a stool, Vestey shot her subjects using only natural light, creating portraits that are remarkable in their intimacy.

Portait image of Grayson Perry wearing a mask shot for Joanna Vestey’s Masked portrait series
Grayson Perry

The masked portraits are now on sale as limited-edition prints in an auction that aims to raise £150,000 for the art therapy programme delivered by AT The Bus.

Based inside a double-decker bus with custom-built studio spaces, the programme runs creative sessions for young people aged 7 to 18 during term time. The bus, whose exterior was designed by Walala, takes up residence in school grounds across Oxfordshire and London throughout the year, providing a safe space for students to attend classes where they learn to create and transform objects.

Portait image of Camille Walala wearing a mask shot for Joanna Vestey’s Masked portrait series
Camille Walala

 

Portait image of Joy Labinjo wearing a mask shot for Joanna Vestey’s Masked portrait series
Joy Labinjo

With young people’s mental health being heavily impacted by the pandemic, the opportunities offered by the programme are more vital than ever.

‘AT The Bus helps children rediscover their habits of creativity,’ says Saville, a patron of the charity. ‘The process of being utterly present in the moment, where all your concentration is given to a particular creative task – it’s when humans play their best game, can love life, and themselves.’

Portait image of Dame Zandra Rhodes wearing a mask shot for Joanna Vestey’s Masked portrait series
Zandra Rhodes

Alongside Saville, Perry and Walala, the impressive line-up of portraits includes Joy Labinjo, Zandra Rhodes, Richard Wentworth, Fiona Banner, Philippa Perry, Dawn French and Cornelia Parker.

Each limited-edition print is signed and is part of a run of only 50, costing £150 per print and available to purchase at atthebus.org.uk. The funds raised from the project will enable AT The Bus to deliver 5,000 hours of art as therapy. §