A PHOTOGRAPHER has artfully documented life in Bolton over the unprecedented events of the past six months.

Don Tonge, 70, who has lived in Halliwell all his life, has taken a series of pictures which illustrate the ‘new normal’ of closed businesses, mask wearing and social distancing.

Don, who worked as a freelance photographer for more than 30 years has always had a passion for capturing everyday human images in the town.

One spectacular photograph, shot in black and white, shows a man wearing a mask on Newport Street in the town centre.

The image shows Bolton last month, shorty after increased restrictions were announced for the borough when it had the highest Covid infection rate in the UK.

Don said: “I took that on September 17 .

“People who’ve seen it have commented on the social distance between the man and the woman with a bag forming a barrier and also on the graffiti on the walls that frames the photo.

“I’ve not seen these images as a particular project as such but I have been taking some pictures of how the pandemic has affected people and businesses in Bolton.”

Other images, taken earlier in the pandemic in late March, depict shuttered businesses and empty streets.

One shows the handwritten closed sign outside Whiteside’s chip shop on Halliwell Road, and indication of how things taken for granted were suddenly taken away.

Don, who was the front of house photographer for the Octagon Theatre for eight years, said the lockdown has offered him a ‘renaissance’ and a chance to catalogue and show his work.

He said: “I’ve been able to go through my archives. I’ve found allsorts going back to the 1970s.

“I’ve been publishing some on various nostalgia and history groups on Facebook and the response has been overwhelmingly positive.”

Don has previously published a book of his work called Shot In The North, a personal selection of photographs taken in Northern England.