It was mid-morning on Wednesday 18th March that I received the not-unexpected call from my consultant – please stay home for your own safety. It was an instruction dressed up as a suggestion/recommendation. She conceded that I could use my backyard for fresh air but insisted that this should be my boundary until further notice. Like so many others with medical conditions that make them particularly vulnerable to Covid-19 I was in Lockdown before the phrase had been uttered by HM government.
From the start I was determined to keep my 366 Project going. This might be Lockdown but I was determined it would not be a shutdown photographically. I am well past the 900 days mark with my long-term picture-a-day challenge, and I was not going to let this “inconvenience” stop me from going past the 1,000-day mark; my eyes are still firmly fixed on the end of July!
We only have a small backyard and a tiny front yard (three metres from the front door to the public footpath – I measured it) so it was going to be challenging.
In the event I’ve more than met my required daily image, partly because of the Bronica ETRS which I bought on my last trip out of the small town in which I live prior to Lockdown. Oh, and a drawer of film bought for shooting landscapes and urban monos over the coming months which are my usual photographic fare.
So, I have had to improvise and have found myself shooting the flowers in the backyard, the bark of the tree in the front yard, still life images of fruit and so-called intimate landscapes within the confines of the back yard. I’ve also “discovered” Ilford PanF+ but that’s another story for another day. The Bronica is such a joy to use it actively encourages me to shoot every day, so much so that I’ve just purchased a Bronica SQ-A to partner with it (just don’t tell my wife!)
The handful of images here were all shot on black and white film within the very compact confines of either my back yard or the dimensionally-challenged front yard. Lockdown has made me work harder to create images but it hasn’t stopped me pursuing my hobby nor indeed from developing (pun intended) my skills into areas I’ve not really attempted before or at least not seriously. I have been experimenting with colour too but again that may be a subject for another day.
I see this plant every morning when I walk into the backyard for the first breath of fresh air of the day.
Inspired by internet browsing the evening before, particularly Edward Weston’s still life. I woke up thinking “I know what I will do today!”
This one was shot on world Pinhole Day 26th April 2020. Having missed last years event I had this years all planned and a couple of composition worked out … but … well, let’s just say that this is not the River Calder!
One of the upsides of Lockdown is I’m not spending money on days out etcetera so there’s a little in the kitty for impulse buys. This half-frame camera is one such purchase. My father owned one years ago and I was intrigued by the concept of taking images in pairs as here to create a “third” image as it were. The house in the background is actually a pair of semi-detached houses which I’ve managed to shrink.
This is actually growing in my neighbours garden but hangs over the wall into ours. It is another thing that I see first thing every day. Rain or shine I always start the day with a potter around the back yard whilst the kettle boils. At 6.30am it is very peaceful and if it isn’t raining I can sit on the bench and enjoy the quiet before the grandchildren get up and the moment is lost. This one has some movement in the foliage but serves to remind me that it, like me, is going nowhere and will be there the following day ready for my camera.
The only thing I’ve not felt inspired to settle down to is a spell or two in my makeshift darkroom in the cellar. I can rest assured though that when the motivation does strike I will have a good selection of negatives, 35mm and medium format with which to feed my enlarger.
I’m locked in but that won’t stop me honing my photographic skills further and working my way through the film I bought for my Spring and Summer travels! If you fancy a look at my other work, digital and analogue, you can find my website HERE. I also frequent Flickr where I am known as Father Pie and where my 365/366 images can be found.
Thank you for reading this far – stay safe!