LOCKDOWN LESSONS

I’ve wanted to write something during these exceptional times, but have struggled with what to write. I’m fortunate that at the moment my finances are secure, and as a keyworker still able to go to work. So moaning about small sacrifices concerned with photography seem insignificant, when many more people are making greater sacrifices than myself.

That’s not to say that it isn’t easy. As we enter week 4 of ‘lock down’ in the U.K. there have been some dark days. One thing that this has taught me so far is that I think I can loosely classify what type of photographer I am. I enjoy all forms of photography and try all aspects, evident in my weekly attempt at doing portraits of our daughter (you can see on Instagram), but I’m missing the coast and finding wildlife. My photography really took off when I moved to Cornwall, and wanted to explore what was around the next corner on the coast path. So with my passion for both landscapes and wildlife, this whole thing has taught me that I’m an ‘outdoor photographer.’ This doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy and won’t do other forms of photography.

Home life has changed. Schools being closed, and with my wife and I both keyworkers we have found a new norm of juggling the kids and work. This leaves very little time for photography if I was allowed anyway. I’ve said before that photography is my release from the stresses of everyday life, so this is a hard adjustment. I will continue with my weekly portrait of our daughter and the odd indoor/garden macro shoot. It’s important to keep picking the camera up.

We’ve also seen the most settled period of weather this year (rather frustratingly). We had an autumn and winter of strong gales and persistent rain. It’s almost like a switch was flipped when Boris Johnson announced the stay at home measures. I’m not sure chucking it down with rain and two children would make for an enjoyable lock down, but it would make me feel better about photography!

Another small sacrifice is the loss of camera club. If my week is not filled with any other photography, I know at least once a week I have two hours with likeminded members discussing a subject I love. And photography aside, seeing friends. There is the online element, but this is never the same.

Many photographers have taken to ‘dipping into archives’, and editing older shots that may have been previously over looked. I’ve never had a strong desire to do this, often seeing flaws in my own work. I hope I have developed as a photographer and quite frankly some of my older work doesn’t meet my own standards.

I don’t yet feel comfortable taking a camera out on my exercise walks. And I certainly don’t believe taking a tripod out and setting up in one spot to take a photo is within the spirit of the stay at home guidance. My view on this may change if the lock down continues for a significant period of time. But at the moment it doesn’t feel right.

However the exercise walks have become a coping mechanism. I’ve always enjoyed walking, evident from my series of ‘50 walks in Cornwall,’ (something else I’m missing deeply). So I have turned to my iPhone for some photography release on these walks (some of which you can see here on Instagram). Everyone is trying to find their way through this new norm.