Sunday, 16 August 2020

Life in Lockdown

 I can't believe it has been almost a year since I wrote. My bad. Since last September when I touched base here, I have completed Year 2 of my Bachelors degree and, I am truly proud to say, earned myself 5 straight As, giving me another First to follow Year 1 with. Naturally, the last twelve months brought up challenges I wasn't quite prepared for. I hit a creative block at the beginning of November, & for a while I was seriously worried as to what direction I was going in with my photography. I've always considered myself a creative photographer, not one for working on things that don't resonate with me. I usually always create work for catharsis, and prefer to work slowly and meaningfully rather than to a commercial brief. 

Before the UK went into Lockdown, I managed to start work for one particular uni brief capturing images that I felt represented a moment of escape. It was a personal project I started back in 2012, when I started noticing that familiar places around the town I lived in started to look unfamiliar when viewed with a fresh set of eyes. The preconceived ideas I had about somewhere were cast aside just for a moment and I realised I could be absolutely anywhere on earth, my perception of the status quo was challenged. As the UK was plunged into Lockdown myself & the rest of my class were faced with yet another challenge - to curate and execute an exhibition for the work we were creating - while being in isolation at home.

Cue Zoom calls galore, a group WhatsApp chat that was going off the hook, and day after day of photo taking, sketchbook work, website creation, reading, writing, planning and numerous emotional and nervous breakdowns. We got there in the end though, and the fruits of our labour can be seen over at www.carryonregardless.org. Opening night on 27th May was a hit, and the show will remain live for a minimum of twelve months until May 2021.

For my part in the show, I decided to combine the images I was taking to show my escape to reality with those taken by friends, family and even strangers during the Lockdown period and create a large scale mosaic. When viewed from afar, it appears to be a somewhat pixellated image taken from a beach in some far off paradise, but when viewed up close it reveals its secret and the viewer can spend hours getting lost amongst the rich tapestry. I have since had a professional print made of the piece, measuring up at a huge 107cm by 71cm, and it is hanging proudly in the bathroom of my new home. Which is my other news! I am moving in with my boyfriend to a beautiful new home we have just spent ten months renovating alongside his parents. And a little secret about the paradise image for the mosaic 'cover' - it was an image I took whilst in Mexico with him back in February. Phew, what a year!

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