This week I'll be sharing some photography & video stills captured by my daughter and I during the first lockdown. At the time of writing in London, it's snowing outside and bitter cold. It’s our 3rd Lockdown and I think if you ask anyone in the UK right now - it's been the grimmist and most difficult.

For anyone following the news back in January 2020 it was clear something terrible was unfolding in China. I remember in early February noticing a parent of one of my son’s school friends looking ghostly ill, on the school run. Shortly after, I felt really rough for about 5 days. I would rush the kids into school, trying not to talk to anyone for fear of spreading whatever it was I had. It may have been the flu, but who knows?

 Kaleidoscopic rendering of ‘The Upside Down’

On Monday 23rd March 2020 the UK Government finally announced a nationwide Lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19. Looking back now, the early days of the first Lockdown in March 2020 were very surreal. My wife's work contract had abruptly finished and our kids (8 & 9yrs) school closed. Suddenly we were all at home together in our small house. The first week was pretty challenging, we had little understanding of what lockdown really meant or how long it would last. People were panic buying - the shelves were emptying. We began to realize the sobering gravity of the global pandemic. We slowly adjusted to the new ab-normal. Work had been replaced by our attempts at homeschooling, trips to the local supermarket were quick sombre affairs. In contrast to all this London was eerily quiet; you could hear the birds sing, feel nature breathe. Unusual for the time of year, we had months of beautiful sunlight. I hadn't taken any photos for months, the light pouring into our house in the morning and afternoon inspired me to pick up my Fuji X-T3. I photographed the way the light was landing on objects and surfaces around the house. Then I started photographing my family in quiet moments of contemplation, thought and bonding. This gave me a focus, a creative outlet, a distraction? I posted a batch of images on the gram each week - the routine felt good.

We ordered some seedlings - runner beans, broad beans, sunflowers, chilli and tomatoes. My kids helped me plant them. With the daily death count on the news, growing seedlings - nurturing and encouraging life seemed to help my mental state. The joy it gave me seeing these plants grow was priceless, I was overrun with runner beans and gave some to my neighbours.  

Around the time I picked up a camera, my daughter started making video clips of herself and us on my wife’s old i-phone. Sometimes with our knowledge other times not, using various filters, one in particular caused much hilarity, it made your voice go squeaky and your facial features exaggerated. In her own words “it kept me from getting bored and it made me happy” I love my daughters free flowing videos. We were all looking for coping mechanisms during lockdown.

 Video clips filmed by Lola Massey

My kids had seen trailers for ‘Stranger Things’ on Netlfix and had been bugging us to let them watch it. I had been saying “No it's a 15” My wife said “Yes”. So for the next few months it was on a loop in our home. They (We) ended up watching all 3 seasons 3 times - I confess I enjoyed watching it all over again.

Towards the end of the 1st lockdown I stopped taking photos, I felt the series was done. I was repeating myself visually. I immediately felt depressed, it made me realise how much the routine of making images had helped me.

It wasn't until the 2nd lockdown at the end of 2020 that I dug out these lockdown images again. I had just been working on my Kaleidoscopic ‘Rave On’ artworks (which you can read more about in my last blog). I tried the same Kaleidoscopic treatment with my lockdown photos. The title for this work comes from ‘Stranger Things’ in it there is a dark parallel universe called the ‘The Upside Down’. Below are some examples, you can see the whole Kaleidoscopic series HERE

 Kaleidoscopic rendering of ‘The Upside Down’

 Next Week I will be going back to MY FIRST DARKROOM 1987/88

 Limited Edition Print CollectionsHERE

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