Essex photographer snaps healthcare workers with their dogs as part of nationwide ‘thank you’ project

Francesca Low of

Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Essex portrait photographer, Francesca Low, volunteered to take part in the 2020 Vision Project to celebrate the hard work of our healthcare professionals during the Covid-19 pandemic. Here she shares an insight into the exhibition and her contribution towards it

Laura & Minnie (photo: Francesca Low of

Laura & Minnie (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Francesca Low became involved in the 2020 Vision Project back in March when she saw a post by the project creators, Sophie Sheinwald and Annie Murray. They were looking for 100 photographers nationwide to help pay tribute to healthcare professionals who have worked throughout the Covid-19 Pandemic to keep the nation safe.

The 2020 Vision Project is all about capturing the person behind the mask, which is something that Francesca loves to do in her photography work. It’s not just about a uniform in a hospital or care home but the strength, passion and dedication of all the people working both on the front line and behind the scenes throughout this pandemic.

Jamie with Lyra and Lexi (photo: Francesca Low of

Jamie with Lyra and Lexi (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Francesca explains: ‘Each photographer could put their personal touch on the project. For me, I knew instantly that I wanted to capture each healthcare professional with their dog. I completely appreciate the unconditional love and support we get from our dogs at the end of a hard day - they get us through some of the darkest times and they deserve to be celebrated too.

‘Over the past few months I have met six incredible healthcare professionals from all across Essex. I’ve learnt all about their jobs, their struggles and what they love about what they do, but the best part is we had a great chat and a giggle together while I took their photos with their furry best friends. It’s been incredible to be part of the 2020 Vision Project and I can’t wait to see all the other photographer’s images at the big exhibition.’

Kelsey with Coco and Mylo (photo: Francesca Low of

Kelsey with Coco and Mylo (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Here Francesca shares a sample of her images from the exhibition with the readers of Essex Life magazine...

Samantha & Chester (photo: Francesca Low of

Samantha & Chester (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Laura Smillie-Henson

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Laura, a paramedic for the East of England Ambulance Service Trust, is pictured with Minnie, her Poodle Cross Dachshund. Laura often takes Minnie to the ambulance station and she is the best morale boost to whoever is sitting in the crew room; she brings so much joy to everyone. Laura said the most difficult part of her job during the Covid-19 pandemic was, ‘the feeling of not being able to give enough reassurance to my patient’s relatives as they didn’t know when they will next see their loved ones again. It has been heart breaking.’

Lauren & Willow (photo: Francesca Low of

Lauren & Willow (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Jamie Hooper

Natasha with Achilles and Odin (photo: Francesca Low of

Natasha with Achilles and Odin (photo: Francesca Low of - Credit: Archant

Jamie, a Paediatric Occupational Therapist, is pictured with Lyra and Lexi, both Miniature Dachshunds. Jamie works closely with children who have special needs, helping to rehabilitate them and adjust them to their new surroundings. She explains: ‘I felt really inspired by the way parents have accepted the difficult role of a managing therapy. Playing a part in the 2020 Vision Project also helps to show the people behind the roles.’

Kelsey Stewart

Kelsey is an Essex Care Coordinator and is pictured here with Coco and Mylo, both Chihuahuas. Kelsey described it as ‘a privilege’ to be part of the 2020 Vison Project and that, ‘it is nice to see healthcare workers finally being recognised for the work we do’. Like many of us, Kelsey has found it hard throughout lockdown but said her dogs Coco and Mylo have kept her going. ‘They truly are my best friends.’

Samantha Merritt

Samantha is a Supervisor Care Assistant for the elderly and is shown here with Chester, her Cocker Spaniel. Chester has been part of Samantha’s family since he was a puppy and she loves how loyal and affectionate he is. Samantha reveals how her job has been, ‘tough during lockdown, not allowing family/relatives to visit their loved ones and some of the residents not understanding why’. But that the residents have also inspired her with how positive and happy they’ve been.

Lauren Knight

Lauren is an Orthopaedic Therapist and Willow is a chocolate Labrador. Lauren said it has been scary working through the Covid-19 pandemic, but went on to describe how, ‘the huge support the NHS has had from absolutely everyone has been unreal. Coming together to show such support has been very moving.’ She is ‘super excited’ to be part of the 2020 Vision Project and has loved being able to, ‘highlight the joys in my life (my Willow), which has helped me massively throughout this pandemic and brings me so much happiness.’

Natasha D’Aversa

Natasha, a midwife, is pictured here with Achilles and Odin, both mixed-breed rescue dogs. Natasha said that the most difficult thing for her during the pandemic has been losing a colleague to Covid-19, but that all the kind donations from the public have been a big inspiration.

More about Francesca Low: Francesca Low is a natural and relaxed documentary family, pet and wedding photographer based in Chelmsford. She particularly enjoys taking on creative projects, which is why she couldn’t wait to be part of the 2020 Vision Project. You can see more of Francesca’s photography at and

More about The 2020 Vision Project: The 2020 Vision Project exhibition runs from September 25 to 27 at St Ethelburga’s, Bishopsgate, London. No ticket is needed but there will be a donation area. See

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