Updated: Apr 23, 2020
I hope you and your family and friends are staying safe in these uncertain times. It is a strange moment in our lives and one where we must all work together and support each other. I have found it difficult to know what to write in this new situation to be honest, so I am just going to write how I feel right now and share some of my favourite images.
I am seeing amazing posts from people online doing fantastic things, keeping everyone fit, entertaining children, teaching, blogging, making people laugh and raising money. Captain Tom Moore has raised an incredible amount of money (over £12 million at time of writing) for the NHS by walking up and down the length of his garden at age 99! I have been in awe of all of these humans using their time to help others. I’m also seeing it in my own community, we are all taking extra care, checking in with each other via phone or over the fence, helping each other out with food shops etc..., I don’t know about you but I feel like I'm in touch with my family and friends even more. It’s funny how something like this suddenly slaps us round the face and makes us remember how important people are. We always manage to pull together in a crisis, it’s in our genetics as homo sapiens!
A very special family shoot from last year
For all of us this is a frightening time, no one knows how this is going to go. The thing that brings us all together is that everyone is effected by this. This isn’t a problem for a country far away that we hear of on the news, it’s global and so we are more connected than ever.
Day to day life has changed, we are now living with restrictions and cannot do the things we normally do or see the people we want to. Work has changed for a lot of us and adjusting to that is taking great strength. Many of us are at home and having to work out how to adapt, work from home or just stay afloat. We all manage ourselves differently and there is no right or wrong way to do this. For some, routine is key, making a plan and splitting up the day into sections. For others, working it out as they go is more comfortable. I am certainly the latter as I think a lot of creatives are.
A beautiful Beagle from one of my studio and outdoor sessions.
I really love capturing the detail in the face in a studio setting.
As a self employed photographer I don’t know what the future will hold for me. As with many self employed we can work week to week, jobs can come in all at once or sometimes not at all, we can have travel plans in place for the year which we account for financially and shows booked to promote our businesses, we have to manage ourselves and our income really closely. This is an unprecedented situation and I really feel for my fellow creatives who for most have had all jobs cancelled or postponed and simply do not know when they will work again. Many fairs and shows have also been cancelled until next year which will affect a lot of small and artisan businesses.
This is going to take a toll on mental health and we need to be mindful of that. I have certainly already had days of anxiety and feeling low. In times like this I find my best way to cope is to listen to music, go for a walk (once a day and on my own, of course!) and to look back at images from trips or shoots, maybe do a re-edit of an image. I also like to declutter at home, I find that quite good for my mind. Speaking to friends and family, I am hearing that even though we have more time, motivation can be low and enthusiasm to do all those jobs on our list is just not there yet. I can totally relate to this. I think the important thing is to try not to get too stressed out about being productive and to take the time to look after ourselves. Do a bit, leave a bit.
This was such a special shoot with a beautiful pony who is cherished so dearly by his owner. His field was an important aspect of the shoot so capturing him looking out at his view was a great moment.
Interestingly, we are adapting like nature does. Industries are turning their hand to other things to help the NHS with PPE and other medical equipment, pubs, restaurants and shops are doing deliveries or takeaways and using their supply chains to support their local communities. A hospital has been built in something like 9 days to cope with the numbers of patients expected, NHS staff are coming out of retirement to help. It’s amazing what we can do when the red tape is removed.
I feel like our outlook on work and jobs will change after this and it should. I have always had a problem with the term ‘low skilled work’. Having worked in service and retail industries previously I know how hard it can be, the hours you have to put in and the toll on your body for some jobs and all that to take home barely enough to live on. But these jobs are crucial and they include many skills. Aside from the NHS let’s all just take a minute to remember that cleaners, supermarket staff, farm workers and local shops are pretty much keeping us all going at the moment and they deserve our thanks and respect.
Every job requires skill, every job is valuable to somebody and someone is valuable to every job. How carers are under the banner of ‘low skilled’ is beyond me. They are amazing and are also putting their lives on the line to look after our most vulnerable.
Perhaps we can scrap the term ‘low skilled’ after this.
A highlight at the beginning of the year was to go back to Norfolk to photograph the Grey Seals. I was really pleased with this portrait of a pup.
As my work has come to a halt right now it’s given me time to think through what I want and where I want to go. There are many ideas in my head and projects to work on in the background. As someone who suffers from anxiety and confidence issues (as a lot of us do, I know I am not alone in this) pushing myself is sometimes hard. I have always struggled with this and I always will but I have learnt to handle it better and I do break through that invisible wall of self doubt more often than not these days and when that happens it feels good!
I love photographing families outdoors, it's where I like to be and we can all go back to being kids, exploring, looking for bugs, finding sticks or just running around without a care in the world. Being in nature is so valuable.
My business I guess is “non essential” but to me it is absolutely essential not only financially but for fulfilment. Creating memories for families, immortalizing our four legged friends with special imagery, photographing wildlife from around the world for viewers to enjoy and learn about is all something I love to do. So whatever happens, thank you to all of you that have had a shoot with me, bought a print, come to an exhibition or just simply liked an image on my Instagram or Facebook page. It really does mean a lot and I so appreciate your support.
A wonderful Wire Haired Dachshund, enjoying the woods.
So I can’t do a fitness class for you, teach your child the school curriculum, give you any healthy and delicious recipes or come up with funny sketches. All I can do is share my images with you in the hope that you enjoy them and remember that the natural world is carrying on regardless. This is a wake up call to all of us, I feel this is a massive hint that we need to reset and make changes. We cannot carry on as we were. Life is not about economic growth, life is about LIFE! How amazing is it that we are on this planet and it provides everything we will ever need all in a delicate balance so we must not tip the scales too far one way. When this is all over nature will still be there for us, we should show it the respect it deserves.
A quiet moment
Timbavati, South Africa 2019
I wish everyone all the best getting through this time. Be safe, stay at home, social distance, support each other and stay kind. Keep in touch, we’re in this together.
I am on Instagram and Facebook if you want to connect with me there, just click on the links below and follow.
Hope to see you on the other side, whatever that looks like!
THANK YOU NHS
THANK YOU CARERS
THANK YOU FARMERS
THANK YOU FOOD PRODUCERS
THANK YOU CLEANERS
THANK YOU SHOP WORKERS
Timbavati, South Africa, 2019