Print 'R.C. 1922’ reconstruction album cover by Robert Speker, 2020. Produced with Sydmar Lodge Care Home residents and staff during the first Covid-19 Lockdown in the UK. Copying an album cover by Taylor Swift, Renee is shown close up, the image cut off at the eyes and chest. She wears lipstick and a pale purple top with birds. Lettering in black below. Printed at the size of a standard LP record sleeve.
This set of 12 Care Home Album Covers attracted significant media attention in July 2020 after being tweeted by photographer Robert Speker. Working as Activities Coordinator at Sydmar Lodge Care Home, North London, Speker collaborated with residents and staff to recreate a series of famous album covers. In each case the figures in the album photographs are replaced by a care home individual, and the artist’s name or album title are replaced with the new sitter’s name or a reference to the care home.
Renee’s was the tenth photo in the series and recreated Taylor Swift's 2014 album named after her year of birth. Speker explains that he, “wanted to include Renee's initials and year of birth correlating to Taylor Swift's use of her own initials and date of birth on the album cover. Although I had tried to source a replica of the jumper that Taylor Swift wore for the album cover, I did not want to get into an extortionate bidding war on a particular auction website. I decided to print out an image of the jumper in A3, cutting out the neckline and asking Renee to hold it up in position.”
These first 12 album covers produced by Speker and care home contributors were developed into a charity calendar for the Alzheimer’s Society for 2021. Together they help to capture the particular experience of those living and working in care homes during the Covid-19 pandemic, which attracted wide media attention and public criticism for seeming to be ‘abandoned’ and for the extreme isolation imposed on residents, unable to see loved ones for many months. Equally, however, Speker’s joyful work demonstrates the creativity that flowered across society during the first lockdown, and the work by many artists to offer support – whether financial or emotional – to NHS staff, the wider public, and each other.