Wandsworth photographers raising money for St George's Hospital

SW London Stays Home doorstep photography project raises money for St George’s Hospital

By Frank Pachas
May 20 2020, 14.40

Two photographers are raising money to support St George’s Hospital taking portraits of people at their doorsteps.

Laura Shimili, 40, from Albania, and Amanda Summons, 29, from Australia, are photographing people with a long lens while keeping social distance.

Doorstep Photographs is Mrs Shimili’s project while Ms Summons’ is SW London Stays Home —they have both raised more than £1,500 since April.

Mrs Shimili, a mother of two boys, whose initial goal was £500, said: “I’m so glad to have reached the first goal. Thank you so much to the families that have been involved and have contributed! Let’s see if we can hit the next £1000 goal.” 

Mrs Shimili launched her photo project when she realised a friend of hers was doing something similar in Yorkshire.

Ms Summons started hers after coming across a similar fundraising online project from an American woman.

Ms Summons thought no one was doing something similar in her area until she met Mrs Shimili online.

Each of them has raised more than £750 so far.

Ms Summons, also a full time graphic designer, said: “I come from a family of nurses and I believe what the NHS is doing is great so that’s why I’m encouraging people to donate.

“I’ve been finding ways to enjoy or make the most of this time and work on new projects like the portraits.”

Mrs Shimili’s job ground to a halt because of the lockdown, but she still wanted to document this unprecedented time in history.

She said: “It was a bit of a shock initially when I was out of work suddenly. I work with babies and families and I couldn’t do that anymore.”

Donations to Ms Summons’ campaign are made via a Pay Pal site created by Critical NHS, a community supporting staff at St George’s Hospital.

Mrs Shimili created a fundraising page on Facebook where donations go to St George’s Hospital Charity.

Both of them, while chatting briefly with the people they photograph at a 2 metre distance, have met wonderful individuals during lockdown.

Portraits from Isolation

One of the people Mrs Shimili met is Lavinia Hughes, 46, originally from Ireland, who runs a photographer’s agency in Clapham.

She said: “It’s incredible and a really interesting project. I think it will be fascinating for the history books in the years to come.

“I really like the photographs that capture the mood of what is happening.”

STEPPING OUT: Lavinia and her family ©Laura Shimili Mears Photography

Laura Worthington, 33, a Tooting lawyer, was photographed with her twin boys and husband James also by Mrs Shimili.

She said: “Our twin boys were born at St George’s Hospital so donating money to them was something we were happy to give.”

GIVING BACK: Laura, her husband James and their twin boys ©Laura Shimili Mears Photography

Nicole Donne, 39, from Balham, preferred to have Molly, her one-year-old mini goldenmoodle photographed by Ms Summons.

Ms Donne thought her dog in the picture was going to be more uplifting for people.

She said: “It’s been very difficult with the uncertainty of not knowing what is coming next, when it’s going to end and if we’ll ever get back the way things used to be.

“Molly genuinely makes me laugh. She is the best company.”

GOLDEN HOUR: Molly, Nicole’s dog © Amanda Summons

Ms Summons also took a portrait of Vicky Newbold, 46, a performance nutritionist, originally from Scotland, but now living in Balham.

Mrs Newbold, who advises about nutrition on her Instagram @vickynutrition, said: “What I also like is the fact that the charity is also helping businesses within the same local community.”

COMMUNITY SPIRIT: Vicky Newbold at her doorstep © Amanda Summons

Laura and Amanda are thinking of launching a joint physical photograph exhibition in due course after lockdown.

Jacqueline Totterdell, chief executive of St George’s Hospital, said: “I would like to say a huge thank you to the public for the amazing support they have shown our staff.”

If you would like to help Laura or Amanda to raise more funds, you can contact them on Instagram on @amandasummonsphotography or @lauraphotographylondon.

Alternatively, you can also donate to St George’s Coronavirus Appeal at or to CriticalNHS at 

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