During the national lockdown, Gray found ways to create new work while championing local key workers. Here, he shares the story behind the image, now on sale as part of Edition365
For many people, the Covid-19 pandemic has led to a deeper understanding of the important role of essential workers. From nurses, teachers, care home workers and emergency services, millions of people work hard every day to keep the nation moving.
Many of these people may carry out roles so integral that they can go unnoticed. On his daily walks around his neighbourhood, then-photography student Cassian Gray became attuned to the red uniforms of local Royal Mail workers. Gray, who was studying at Kingston University, was forced to produce his graduate project from home due to the pandemic, and in his resulting project The Posties, these officers take centre stage.
His image is now included in Edition365, an immersive virtual exhibition of 365 works, documenting the events between 11 March 2020 and 10 March 2021. All of the artworks in the exhibition are available to buy as individual NFTs via ART3.io on OpenSea.
“I became excited by the iconography of the post officer — the red uniform is so bold. Despite the striking colour, postal workers can often be overlooked, despite delivering mail and packages to the nation, keeping us connected through the pandemic,” he says. “The blue pocket is soaked in golden light with the iconic logo sitting proudly, a symbol of Britain, togetherness, and in some way, hope. That’s the main message this image, and the series as a whole.”
Gray met the workers at a depot near his home in Kingston. “ I had been going to the depot a few times, then one of the guys that I was photographing introduced me to Claudia, another post officer. I wouldn’t have been able to shoot what I did without her; she organised the whole team, got people together, and asked all her colleagues if I could take their pictures.”
This collaboration and connection is at the heart of Gray’s project. The Posties does not just document the postal officers of Kingston. “As we progress further into our post-digital world it’s also pertinent to remember that the process of receiving mail isn’t automated and behind each delivery,” says Gray, “there is a pair of hands and a person with a story”.