Teenagers dress for proms that never happened in Alys Tomlinson’s Lost Summer

The photographer’s portraits of teenagers, taken after the cancellation of milestone events such as proms and graduations, emphasise the impact of 2020’s summer lockdown

The Lost Summer series, which is published in a book of the same name, features 44 black and white portraits of young people, all taken after social distancing measures were eased.

Tomlinson positioned each of her subjects outside, using gardens and London’s local parks as the backdrop for her images. The portraits show teenagers in dresses and suits, ready to attend the end-of-school celebrations that were called off as a result of lockdown.

Top image: Fabian; Above: Dulcie

The images are a moving reminder of Covid’s effects on young people, serving as a kind of poignant parody of the prom photos teenagers would be taking if parties had gone ahead as planned.

The photos – three of which are shortlisted for this year’s Taylor Wessing Portrait Prize – were meant to be shown at London’s HackelBury Fine Art gallery, however fresh restrictions mean the show has been rearranged until February 2021.

Lost Summer is self-published by Tomlinson, priced £30; alystomlinson.co.uk