Photographer who took viral photo of nurse during pandemic joins University of Sunderland as a lecturer

A photographer from Newcastle, who took one of the best-known images featured in an exhibition spearheaded by the Duchess of Cambridge, has started her new role as a photography lecturer at the University of Sunderland.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 4:36 pm
Johanna's photo being displayed on a billboard

Johannah Churchill, 37, who worked as a diabetic nursing lead at a hospital in London, created the image “Melanie, March 2020”, which went on to define the UK’s battle against coronavirus.

The picture shows Johannah’s colleague and fellow nurse wearing PPE and helping prepare a Covid-19 clinic for patients and was entered into Kate Middleton’s “Hold Still” photography project at the National Portrait Gallery as well as being displayed on posters and billboards around the country.

Johannah said: “Even as a child I was drawn to photography, making my first darkroom prints at age 14. I made a decision not long after leaving school that I wanted to study the arts in higher education. Work in photography can often feel like feast or famine and nursing provided me with the ability to support myself through a photography degree in London.

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Johanna's photo of a nurse during the pandemic which went viral

Johannah joins at a time when the University has invested £1.1million in a brand new photography centre, which is due to open its doors to students in the new academic year in September.

The Northern Centre of Photography (NCP) is moving from its location at City Campus to the David Goldman Informatics Centre, over at the Sir Tom Cowie Campus, St Peter’s and will be kitted out with architect-designed breakout spaces with access to the new Digital Incubator.

Sunderland Photography, Video and Digital Imaging graduates Joe Spence and Arlo Brown have been working alongside Johannah in a project documenting the development, shooting images of the facilities as they are being built and portraits of the workmen involved.

Professor Arabella Plouviez, Academic Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Creative Industries at the University of Sunderland, said: “The new NCP not only provides a beautifully designed and purpose built photography department, bringing together the digital and the traditional processes that enable our students to explore the whole world of photography, but it also provides a fantastic, student-focussed environment where work-in-progress can be explored and shared in new ways.”

Johanna next to her now famous photo

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