Updated: May 21
The odd thing about this lockdown is its give me (probably many of us) the opportunity to look at the fundamentals. I have to say, although I feel guilty about it (many people aren't nearly as lucky as my family and I have been), I haven't handled the pandemic well. I put it down to the idea that when you have witnessed trauma the inbuilt safety net of "that'll never happen to me" disappears. Anyway lets leave that there.
So, for me, I've obviously over thinked the whole thing. But then also, I have tried to re-establish what I enjoy about the world, what is my ambition now, seeing as my son is coming up for eleven and I'm coming up for 48!
It occurred to me this morning that this pandemic could be the change in chapter that I've been looking for for soooo long (been held up because of bringing up Oscar mainly, but also perhaps disappointment and difficult times with my photography career).
I have been planning this website for some time, reforming my work, thinking about how to present what I've done over the past 15 or so years, etc. yet it hasn't really coalesced into anything until now.
This pandemic has forced me to think on the word 'escape'. Much of photography is about escape, metaphysically and actually. I guess for some of us, to just move and experience life is very, very important. I've always shied away from seeing my practice as some kind of performance or ritual, but it is. Oh bloody hell it is. If not for anyone else just for myself.
So in order to put the nuts and bolts together to allow within my busy world (work, family, child, wife, friends, not necessarily in that order) to perform my favourite ritual, I have formulated a plan, the first part of which I enacted yesterday morning.
I rode my bike, importantly, with a new tripod which I purchased this weekend (yes it was expensive but its small and light and very robust, already its paid for itself (this whole thing is going to be expensive, but not sports car or yacht expensive)). I took my Mamiya 645 with its mouldy lenses (I've got to work on that!) and I have to tell you that in places it was bloody marvellous.
Just time for escape, to breath the early summer air (I started at about 5.30, but I need to start probably at about 5.00 or earlier really).
Incidentally, although I didn't know it at the time, the field at the start of this article was the home to hundreds of Polish people just after the war. They lived there for about 15 years until it was safe enough to travel home or resettle in the UK or elsewhere - https://www.marsworth.org.uk/marsworth-polish-hostel/hostel-topics/
The thing is, the bike that folds so I can put it in my car and then ride out, the bag that I thought was too big but is perfect for my new tripod and a medium format camera, even the camera that I bought years ago for wedding photography (just before everyone went digital!) and never really got on with, this morning were all perfect.
I'm not saying that this is the beginning of perfection, I know that won't be the case at all, but it is the start of something and it fits, very nicely.