Lockdown Photography

lockdown photography rubber gloves on washing machine

Lockdown-Photography

How hard times can help your photography

Die originale Version dieses Posts auf Deutsch, “Lockdown-Fotografie”, wurde auf dem bekannten Fotoblog www.fotografr.de veröffentlicht. Hier ist die englische Übersetzung:

Do you recall the last days before your personal Corona lockdown? I remember them like it was yesterday and the pictures that I`ve taken. I had a strange feeling sitting in a coffee shop on Bethnal Green Road in London, just having read the headlines of the first COVID death in England. Somehow, I have taken deeper breaths that day trying to soak in as much freedom and fresh air as possible. And I have photographed even more than usual.

Despite all the weirdness of the situation, I knew that at least I could always document everything with my camera. That I don`t need to passively wait, but that I can actively move my focus on something. That has given me some feeling of control and at the same time a creative challenge.

Lockdown Photography window view
Lockdown Photography bed sheets

Documenting being at home

As a matter of fact, the challenge soon turned out to be documenting being at home. During that time, I found it more helpful than ever to photograph „what is“. Even though there wasn`t happening much – after all, I was at home all the time – in my head there was going on a lot. Somehow, I wanted to find a way to express that.

And really, the more confined we are the more of a challenge this becomes, and the more there is to learn. I have been following the „One-picture-a-day-projects“ of other photographers and I`ve noticed that they haven`t just captured something very special , but as well that they have become much more sensitive to the ordinary.  

Lockdown Photography Glasses by the window

Each days' hero shot

Somewhere, I`ve read about a man, who couldn`t get around much due to his poor health. However, he went for a daily walk around the block with his camera. He probably didn`t get THE shot every day. But because he kept on going persistently looking for the special on his everyday route, he eventually kept discovering more and more.

Do you know when the light on your sink is at its best? Since Corona I know that – and I have noticed how that changed when my boyfriend blocked parts of the window with wooden panels. Lucky enough I didn`t know then, that now, meanwhile in Germany, I would still talk about Corona. I just tried to focus on one day at a time and get each days hero shot.

Each night I would be looking forward to reviewing my “pictures of the day” when transferring them to my phone before I went to sleep. That was my incentive – I`m sure you know the joy of finding a picture that you really love when scanning through your photos. (And by that I don`t mean technical perfection, but a picture with expression and meaning, one that evokes a feeling. That`s a different topic though…)

light trail lockdown photography
Lockdown Photography cat looking out

Open to surprises

As a photographer, I want to become better and better. And sometimes weird circumstances feature surprising opportunities to learn and to evolve. Times of restriction invite us to look out for our hero-shot of the day. And to consider the possibility that the most boring, stupid, or difficult situation might turn out as the moment of the day, at least in terms of photography.

I do recommend trying this approach for yourself. Especially when in a low mood, it can feel like hard work to pick up the camera. Yet after a few days it will become second nature and you will anticipate making progress with your personal at-home-project.

Head to www.fotografr.de to read the original, German version of this article. 

New Year

New Year lights celebration

New Year

As we enter the new year, it`s a good time to go through all our photos of this year. Of course, to reflect on the past twelve months. But as well to see how we grew as artists and to motivate us to keep on pushing forward and to become better in the new year ahead.

(On a side note: In my case, the new year is a good opportunity to organize my picture chaos, too. Click here for an article about a good organizational structure. I`ve started some organizing by the beginning of the lockdown in March but didn`t finish. Once I`ve established a consistent system that works for me, I`ll share it here.)

It`s not about pretty

Lately, I`ve had some days when I felt a little discouraged in documenting the ordinary. Because you know on Instagram you see all these super-pretty rooms and stuff and well, I don`t find my place so picture-pretty. However, looking back at the 2020 photographs, I realized that it weren`t the “pretty things” that made the best photos. But it was good light. Plus, ideally some meaning, and a very present moment that stayed.

That really motivated me again to shoot daily what is meaningful to me and focus on the light (in the truest sense of the word). Let´s feel and observe the very moment as often as possible without thinking about later or before. I`ve read and noticed that this can make an ordinary moment more meaningful.

As well I can report that it`s often just about getting started in order to get us into a habit. Like in this case the habit of documenting our lives in pictures. For example, we can begin with taking a picture of something simple as our feet and that can get us going to “see” and become aware of more.

For the year to come, I hope that I can always be thankful, curious, and unbiased. That I will be open to new experiences and surprises. And that I have faith in God`s support in order to be brave and to take healthy chances to document more. What are your wishes? Have a good start in 2021 and don`t let yourself get disheartened if the start doesn`t turn out as hoped. 

Neues Jahr

Der Start ins neue Jahr ist eine gute Zeit, um durch die Fotos von 2020 zu blättern. Natürlich um nochmal auf das Jahr zurückzuschauen. Aber auch um zu sehen, wie wir als Künstler gewachsen sind und um uns zu motivieren, weiter an uns zu arbeiten, um noch besser zu werden.

(Übrigens ist es für mich auch eine gute Gelegenheit, Ordnung mein Bilder-Chaos zu bringen. Ich habe beim ersten Lockdown im März damit begonnen, aber bin null fertig geworden. Sobald ich ein funktionierendes System entwickelt habe, werde ich es hier teilen.)

Es geht nicht um hübsch

In letzter Zeit hatte ich immer wieder Tage, an denen ich mich ein bisschen entmutigt darin gefühlt habe, das Alltägliche zu dokumentieren. Auf Instagram sieht man doch immer diese superhübschen Räume und Orte – und naja, ich finde, bei mir sieht`s nicht so „bildhübsch“ aus. Aber als ich durch meine Fotos von 2020 geschaut habe, ist mir aufgefallen: Es waren nicht die „hübschen Dinge“, die die besten Bilder ausgemacht haben. Sondern es war gutes Licht. Und idealerweise eine Bedeutung und ein „erlebter“ Moment, der mir im Gefühl geblieben ist.

Das hat mich wieder motiviert, jeden Tag zu fotografieren was Bedeutung für mich hat, und auf das Licht zu fokussieren (im wahrsten Sinne des Wortes). Ich habe gelesen und bemerkt, dass ein gewöhnlicher Moment mehr Bedeutung bekommt, wenn wir ihn richtig „fühlen“ und beobachten, ohne an vorher oder nachher zu denken.

Beginne einfach

Außerdem kann ich berichten, dass es oft einfach nur darum geht, zu beginnen, um etwas zur Gewohnheit zu machen. Wie eben die Gewohnheit, unseren Alltag in Bildern zu dokumentieren. Zum Beispiel könnten wir damit starten, einfach etwas Simples wie unsere Füße zu fotografieren. Das kann uns dann dazu verleiten, mehr zu sehen und wahrzunehmen.

Für das neue Jahr hoffe ich, dass ich dankbar, neugierig und unvoreingenommen sein kann. Dass ich offen sein werde für neue Erlebnisse und Überraschungen. Und dass ich daran glauben kann, dass Gott mich unterstützt, um dann mutiger zu sein, damit ich mehr dokumentieren kann. Was sind deine Wünsche? Hab einen guten Start in 2021 und lass dich nicht entmutigen, falls der Start nicht so läuft, wie erhofft.