Reflection, renewal and recharging during lockdown
I’ve lost track of how many days we have been cocooned in this weird limbo that is the coronavirus lockdown. Like so many other small businesses and freelancers, I’ve had to freeze my commissions and stop going out to meet clients. Thank goodness for technology! Apps like Zoom have meant that I have been able to have virtual ‘face-to-face’ meetings with clients, rearrange portrait photography sessions for later in the year and discuss packages, preparations, location, props and so on.
But in the meantime, and especially as none of us knows just how long this lockdown is going to last, nor how slow the process of returning to normal activity is going to be, many of us feel oddly cocooned in our homes. So what do photographers do when stuck indoors? When we can’t get out and about, camera in hand? Well…we take photographs!
Photography is an art form in itself. Although as a mum to two energetic young boys that have been issued home education packs, even at home during lockdown time is a bit of a luxury, I just can’t avoid taking and editing pictures.
The weather has been glorious recently, and we have taken to spending as much time as possible in the garden. Spring is a time of renewal, new growth, for us as well as for plants and flowers and other wildlife. We decided that we would use all that pent-up energy from spending too much time indoors working in the garden. Together we have dug the soil, cleared weeds, laid new turf on our ailing lawn and planted loads of fruit and vegetables. Not only is that great for the boys (and for me) – for exercise and for learning – but I have discovered a fascinating miniature world of nature right outside the back door. And my camera comes outdoors with me every day.
TIME TO SLOW DOWN
Being at home and not having the rush and pressure of going out to meetings, or spending hours and hours on shoots at various locations around Kent and Medway, this period of lockdown has given me a chance to reflect on my art and my business. I have reworked business plans, practised different techniques for portrait, family and pet photography and have re-edited some older images.
In fact, re-editing older images has been a bit of a revelation. While the boys worked online with homework assignments, I reorganised some of my older digital files and rediscovered photographs I had taken of my kids and family years ago. My goodness, how quickly time goes by! It was an absolute pleasure to revisit photographs I had taken of my boys as babies, and then as toddlers playing at the seaside or in the park. They spent their first years in Gibraltar before we moved to Rainham in Kent a few years ago, and working on new edits of these brought back some lovely memories.
There are also other ways of taking portrait photographs. I was reading an online article about how photographer Jim Barker has put a new twist on portrait photography by creating ‘Doortraits.’
Of course, this period of lockdown also means spending time with our immediate families – online if we are not able to physically visit them. A bit like being a caterpillar in a cocoon, we are busy resting, recharging, rethinking the way we live our lives and relate to each other, reflecting on what is really important and what perhaps can take a back seat. For me, photography is a form of self-expression that to me is as vital as being able to speak. It’s my way of expressing myself. When we emerge from this enforced cocoon, I hope to be able to bring opportunities to my clients to express themselves through the images that I take for them. And I plan to have a collection of stunning images that create a personal record of my time during lockdown.
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Jessica Richardson Photography
Medway, Maidstone and Kent