Lockdown - my experience
Lockdown; have you enjoyed it? I have rather loved this (somewhat) hassle-free life, seeking some of life's simple pleasures. The great new luxury is time – acres of it, but as days have turned into weeks, so the challenges have made my heart ache.
It's hard to know how to feel...
I feel so lucky to have been given the chance to take life a little bit slower, catch up on those chores that I have been putting off and spending such consistent time with my children. However, Lockdown wasn't/ isn't a bed of roses. Like everyone else, I am concerned about the spread of this virus, people's health and the impact that this will have on our economy, not to mention the hole I have had in my heart not seeing my family and friends. I've been so thankful for all they key-workers out there that continue to work so hard despite the conditions and risks.
Setting my worries to work
I was a born a natural worrier, sadly, so I have to be quite strict with myself with how much NEWS I watch, with that in mind, I set to work to create a MASSIVE list of things to do, that would help me focus my thinking on positive things.
I put my hands up, I have a problem with lists and highlighter pens. It just looks so darn pretty when it is all crossed off . The list I had drawn up was completely unrealistic of course. I would have had to of been in lock-down for an entire year to finish it all.
From painting the house to getting fit, landscaping the garden to revamping my business, it was definitely an ambitious list! Now, no single parent in their right mind was EVER going to be able to achieve everything on this list as well as home school, care and look after said children and a menagerie of animals but nevertheless I had high hopes! (by the way, I had a list of things to do for each room in my house, not just the kitchen!)
As the weeks rolled by, I found my paperwork pile got smaller, I sanded nearly everything in sight (and painted it). Unfortunately including the odd cat paw and dog tail (sorry animals). Most of my wardrobe is now covered in paint splodges and I noticed that my motivation started to wane. I continued to be positive "what are you going to do today, Louisa?" I would ask myself. I was starting to miss my family and friends. I needed that contact with the outside world. Video calls just weren't cutting it and I found myself starting to look at my family photographs, reminiscing over family gatherings and events.
The kids and I have started to become an amazing team together. I have really been enjoying it. I have loved the reduction of pressure from our lives and not having so many time restrictions and appointments to attend to. I have loved going out on dog walks with the children and the bike rides, baking, sewing, learning new skills together. We've played instruments in the street with our neighbours, painted, danced and worked out. We have even managed to re-felt the garden shed! Don't get me wrong, there were moments though, where we have bickered. I often felt like a referee in a boxing ring. 'Ding ding, let's go! Who's going to win this round?' I would scream in my head. But the truth of the matter was they needed their friends and family too.
When anxiety takes hold
Before I became a full time photographer, I was a mental health nurse. I worked for the NHS for about fifteen years. I learnt then the importance of being with other people; it gives us a sense of belonging and enhanced well-being. We are social animals and we need other people, in both times of joy and distress. Lock-down and isolation is completely alien to us all. When feeling stress, worry or anxiety, those are the times where we would reach out to someone - but we had to keep away. Kisses and cuddles have always brought us comfort and affection and suddenly they were potentially harmful and dangerous. The world as we knew it was no more. But we understood that we must work together, to do our bit, to stop the spread of this virus and we remain vigilant now.
The value of you
I've always loved working with people, throughout my life as a nurse and a photographer. It is the human complexities and connections that we have with each other that fascinate me. That is why I was so drawn to photography in the first place. Regardless of the technical elements of photography (which are extremely tricky), for me it has always been the moments between people. I've missed seeing all that love in the world and documenting it and as the restrictions start to lift with lock-down I'm yearning more than ever to capture it all.
I've never had a family shoot. Isn't that a shame? I photograph families regularly, I can see and feel the love between them on every shoot. Yet, I've never had one for myself. I understand the importance of what I do for a living: to capture those moments, that are often over within a blink of an eye. I am proud of it. To have empathy to connect with other human beings and to see moments that naturally unfold and to shoot it as artistically as I can is really important to me. I think that Coronavirus and isolation has taught me how precious the connections we have with other people are. How fragile life is and how special those little moments are. I for one am going to go out and get myself a photo shoot!
Lifting restrictions; lifting my heart
So, with the restrictions lifting, I would love to photograph you all! In line with government guidelines, I will remain socially distant from you all, but, as of the 1st of June 2020, I can photograph families of up to five people, from one house hold in the open air. Any other precautions required can be discussed at the time of booking. Bring on the love!
Stay safe and well all. Together we will get through this!
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