A local lensman, who also works for the Belfast Trust, who took the powerful photo below, has told how he is capturing “history” with a camera while working to distribute vital PPE to health and social care workers.

Gary Johnston is one of a number of workers who have been redeployed by Belfast Trust to help in the fight against Covid-19. However, he also happens to be a keen photographer with over 31 years of experience.

As part of a PPE Distribution team working at Belfast City Hospital, Gary managed to capture a striking image of a colleague resting on top of boxes of facemasks used to protect frontline workers during the Coronavirus crisis.

In a personal capacity, Gary is the current Secretary of the North Belfast-based CB Camera Club and typically focuses his lens on abstract architecture.


Speaking to the South Belfast News, he described how he snapped this incredible behind-the-scenes image entitled ‘Fighting the Virus’.

“I had set some of the boxes of masks up so you could sit on it like a chair, but I just thought it captured a moment,” he explained.

“You know what the photo is all about. He’s got the mask on, he’s kitted out in his gear, which is the gear we wear when we’re working in the store.”

He continued: “That was just a one-off picture. I’ve been capturing some pictures on my phone.

“Belfast Trust, as a public organisation, is very mindful of the photographs that are being taken. We have policy, so we have to bear that in mind.

“The way I look at from a photojournalistic point of view is that you’re recording history. This is a once in a lifetime thing.

“Thomas McMullan (South Belfast News photographer) is getting some great shots, Hugh Russell (Irish News), Mal McCann (Irish News) – everybody is grabbing shots because in a few years to come, or maybe in a few months to come, when this is all blown over these are the types of things that people are going to be looking at.”

While working to meet the challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic, Gary is continuing to promote local photography and has been using Instagram collating just some of the incredible images captured by the CB Camera Club (Instagram profile: cb_camera_club).

Encouraging burgeoning local photographers, Gary said: “We have members of varying abilities and we’re always welcoming to new members. People are more than welcome to join.”