In the first project of its kind for British Vogue, editor-in-chief Edward Enninful commissioned 14 special covers for the August 2020 issue. The country’s greatest artists and photographers, from Tim Walker to Nadine Ijewere, Nick Knight to Lubaina Himid, present striking images of UK landscapes they hold dear in a series that explores the theme of reset. The original prints of each depiction of nature – be it an everyday skyline or the memory of a place much missed – will be auctioned off in aid of Covid-19 relief charities later this year.
First up, David Hockney shares a personal view of East Yorkshire. “This oil painting is of late spring in the village of Kilham,” he says, of the 2006 painting. “Now, I am in Normandy, a paradise of a place for me. I have made 120 iPad paintings of our large garden – it is like having drawing and painting equipment always at the ready, and there is no cleaning up needed. It’s quite fantastic. The other night I got up to pee at about 4am and saw the largest and brightest full moon in a long time. I was thrilled by it and recorded it on the iPad. Photography is useless for this, it pushes everything away, including the moon.”
The impact Covid-19 has had on our planet was evident early on in the pandemic, when the world delighted in watching dolphins swimming in Sardinian ports and waters turn crystal clear in the Venice canals, while enjoying reduced pollution levels in their hometowns. “Some commentators maintained that Covid-19 was planetary revenge for the havoc humans have wreaked on natural systems,” writer Helen Macdonald reflects in her accompanying essay for the cover story, titled “All Across the Land”. “Others, more quietly, carefully and humanely, have wondered if it might signal a reset in our relationship to nature. Even before the pandemic, the ongoing climate emergency was requiring us to urgently rethink the terms of that engagement.”
Hockey’s vibrant scene might look typically Hockney at first glance, but the global health crisis has made us see nature – among many things – from a new perspective. British Vogue invites you to pause and truly look at the 14 photographs and paintings in the August issue, while reflecting upon the theme of reset. As Macdonald writes, “The British countryside isn’t just woods and farms and hills and fields. It is a place rich with myth and reflection, and has long been seen as a repository of national identity.”
The August issue of British Vogue is on sale on 3 July.