It’s been interesting keeping my camera handy and shooting as I see things catch my eye. There have been so many missed moments that passed by purely because I’ve been too involved in the moment to think about picking up my camera.
My plan was to practice shooting in manual mode in a variety of different situations. I also wanted to capture images from different viewpoints to the ones in which I’m used to viewing my household. Another aim was to incorporate storytelling into my photographs so the viewer could tell what was happening within the frame. I wanted to capture our lockdown life as it happened and as truly as possible.
Initially I found it very hard to photograph in my own house as I felt conscious of the mess and other imperfections that showed themselves in the images. I found it easier to get over this hurdle when I took the view that I am purely documenting things as they happen, not attempting to portray a perfect family life for social media.
I also found myself trying to tell a story. I wanted a beginning, middle and end. However as lockdown stretched on before us it because harder for me to ascertain what these times might be. As I look back at the images I’ve taken to date it bothers me there seems to be no conclusion. I can also see huge gaps in my attempt to document how we’ve passed our time; the boys haven’t stopped playing with their Legos – they cover the house – and yet these don’t really feature in the images, Ada has come so close to taking her first steps but there’s no evidence of it in my photos yet, we have spent a huge chunk of time in the garden and embarking on various DIY jobs, but you wouldn’t know it. As a result I don’t feel I have a complete set of images yet and need to shoot more. I’m going to make a conscious effort to look out for these situations and how to photograph them.
I feel some of the more interesting images are those with usual viewpoints and I like the idea of the series of images giving the impression that the viewer is “peeping” into our every day life. I’m hoping this might be apparent even with some more ‘typical’ angles and compositions in the images too as I don’t want the record of some moments to be left out as it doesn’t fit within this idea. I’m also aware that where I have deliberately used alternative angles some of the storytelling of the image is lost, so I have to work out what is more important to the image.
Technically I have struggled at times too, highlights seem to be giving me the most trouble, with very bright parts of the frame causing distraction, blown highlights, or rendering the rest of the image too dark.
I also see scenarios in front of me and then struggle to capture what I want to portray. A prime example of this is when my husband was attempting the popular “Joe Wicks’ PE lesson” in his pajamas, with Joe wicks dressed as batman and my daughter watching on in amusement. I only thought to grab my camera just as he was finishing and so in the short amount of time I didn’t manage to get into a good position, get the settings right in camera, and capture the action in an image I liked. I feel a wider lens would have helped, and a little longer with a burst mode and faster shutter to capture the juxtaposition as I saw it in my head.
Start: Looking for everyday moments that happen more frequently, using a greater depth of field with a narrower aperture and take the camera outside.
Stop: Using the same lens, worrying about what the viewer thinks, voiding photographing the mess and worrying too much about the end product when shooting.
Continue: Choosing alternative view points, looking for stories within a frame and shooting frequently.