It's taken me a few weeks to adjust to this "new normal", life at home 24/7 with a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old. It continues to be a rollercoaster of emotions. Some days I'm almost euphoric with gratitude for my family, our health, our garden, the weather..... And yet on other days, I'm not sure how I'm going to get through it. But we always do.
I'm happiest when I've got a camera in my hand. I'm not going to lie, the Covid-19 lockdown hit me hard as a photographer. I'd finally found something that lit me up, that I was good at, and I created a business that I'd poured my heart and soul into. I built it up to the point I could resign from my corporate job and was all set to become a full-time photographer on 2nd April 2020. Who could have ever predicted that time would coincide with a global pandemic? And just like that my busy diary was cleared. Completely empty and I don't know when I'll be able to work again.
And so I started by taking A LOT of photos of my own kids. I figured it's as good a time as any to practice with my camera and really hone those skills, so I can be ready to be back even better for my customers post-lockdown.
I realised though that I really missed being creative, and documenting memories for other people.
And so my "Doorstep Photo Project" started.
All I've ever wanted to do with my photography is to bring people joy, and I'm being able to do that in these strange circumstances has given me a newfound sense of purpose. It's nice to have a bit of a "plan" for the day.
The project started as purely a creative outlet for me and was my gift back to my community. I didn't ask for payment for the first few....but then as requests grew and became further afield, I realised I needed to charge a nominal amount (£20) to keep my business afloat. I'm not eligible for any sort of government support and all my work has been cancelled, so this is my life back. And honestly, providing professional family photos and excellent service is stilll a gift at £20.
What's really stood out for me during this time is the sense of COMMUNITY. I already knew Wetherby was a pretty special place to live, but suddenly people are looking out for each other more. I'm talking to people I would have usually walked past with my head down. Being able to see all of these happy faces, exchange a few words and know that people are coping ok is precious.
The other thing that's really struck me, is how happy and content the kids are. It's hard for us as parents being on demand 24/7, homeschooling AND working - but the kids just love being home with their Mummies and Daddies.
Since I started this project last week, people who have had babies during lockdown are now contacting me. Unable to have a proper newborn shoot, or any of the usual visits from family and friends, they want to be able to send their loved ones beautiful photographs of their babies whilst they are still tiny.
The babies will be oblivious to what's happening around them right now, but in years to come their parents will be able to tell them the story of how they were born in isolation.
Naturally, I've given due consideration to how I can do this safely and comply with social distancing rules, so I'm using a zoom lens to ensure I keep my distance.route as part of my daily dog walk that could take in a few houses, I could document a little insight into what the Lockdown of 2020 was like.
I'll continue this project a few days a week as part of my daily exercise for as long as lockdown lasts and aam happy to walk or cycle to anywhere within 5 miles of Wetherby. If you would like to be included please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or 07779 271447.
You can keep an eye on the project at https://facebook.com/hannahbrookephoto or www.instagram.com/hannahbrookephoto