A change of tack this month. I was planning on writing about the photographer Cindy Sherman, but the world has shifted slightly on its axis, and we now find ourselves in the midst of a pandemic, and that will affect the way many of us practice photography.
When I’m not taking photos, I’m an Anaesthetic Practitioner, working for the NHS. My role is front line, dealing with incoming cases of Covid 19 as we intubate, and prepare them for mechanical ventilation in ITU. Photography is not only my alternative career, but it’s my stress release; it’s what drives me from the moment I wake up, and the thought of having that restricted is not one I relish.
I’ve been giving this some serious thought recently, and ultimately, I’m in a more fortunate position than most. Many will be completely isolated for long periods of time, but with some consideration could this actually kickstart a different stream of creativity? I follow the work of a photographer called Geraldine Charity who now suffers with Multiple Sclerosis and is almost entirely confined to one room. Her work is testament to what can be achieved even under those limiting circumstances, and in fact she claims that the scope of her work has actually broadened within those four walls. Sometimes it’s the challenges we face that actually lead us to viewing the world in a different way.
A house is full of opportunities to capture. Light refracts through windows throwing surreal shadows on floors and walls. The people we live with make good subjects for portraiture. Plants grow and die, forming interesting shapes for macro work. There really is no end of photographic opportunity inside, and of course if you have a garden that opportunity extends outside as well. Ultimately the only thing that stops you creating is the limit of your imagination, or the restrictions you place upon yourself.
Everyone who takes their photography with any degree of seriousness tends to favour one genre. With this in mind I’ve chosen three of my own photos which demonstrate different styles. The first is a fairly straightforward photograph of some dried Honesty in a vase, which uses a shallow depth of field, and works because of the backlighting from the leaded window behind, and the tonal range throughout. The second is a very simple observation of how the light from a landing window throws shadows on the floor. The third, and most recent is a self-portrait, and was taken the night that I received a message from my manager at work instructing me to shave off my beard, so that I could be fitted for masks to hopefully protect me from Covid 19 in the line of duty. It was the first time I’d wet shaved in almost two years, and I still can’t get used to what I look like clean shaven.
The next few months are likely to be very challenging for many of us, both physically and mentally. I hope you all stay safe, and that in some small way, if you are at all interested in photography, it helps you stay sane!
Geraldine Charity’s work can be seen on Instagram @gerrychar
My work is available to buy, or I occasionally undertake interesting commissions.