2020.. Annus horribilis or new creative challenges? The year so far..
For me 2020 unusually started with a bang! The weather was unusually mild, I moved into a dream apartment back on the Thames and I had nine urbex shoots booked to look forward to. What could possibly go wrong??? Especially when 2019 ended with work like this..
So January 8th came and Stephen Edwards came up on a very cold morning to attempt a challenging urbex on the Wentworth estate not far from our previous explore there. We were travelling to the site around 10am when I received a phone call to say my partner had had a stroke and been taken to hospital.Knowing we were close by and tests etc were going to be a while we decided to re route our shoot to a site we'd visited before across the road from the hospital for a shortened shoot before heading there. Given the exceptional circumstances I think we still had an amazing shoot with some stunning light and very special as it was one of the last shoots at this stunning location!
At this point life became a bit hectic juggling a part time job, daily hospital visits and the shoots booked but despite everything I still managed to complete all my shoots and make the most of my local locations before they were re developed.
The last shoot at Silverlands was the wonderful Hodgie. We first worked together when I started out nearly seven years ago so it was good to catch up after so long in such a special location but dam this was a cold day!
Oscar Tornincasa and I payed my very last visit to my local greenhouses ever and a unicorn appeared! Sadly this iconic location has now gone the same way as it's neighbouring mortuary and it's the end of an era for me sadly.
I managed a second visit to a wonderful local location with a very famous owner with Alondonlens..
And Steve Trussler and I had a wonderful shoot at home..
There is still some work to re visit from January editing wise but things started to get a little crazy when Tony was transferred to the stroke unit, however continuing to shoot saved my sanity in a very difficult month and as always provided some much needed continuity and normality!
Things started to become ominously quiet in February with Covid rumblings starting to surface, storms ripping through the country, and Tony coming home after only six weeks and huge amounts of physiotherapy at home to get him walking again.But in some ways it was actually the calm before the storm..
Defying the odds again however Stephen Edwards and I managed to venture out again to another awesome location involving a risky drive to Sussex. The first location wasn't what we hoped, but this one def made up for it!
And Jon Downs came to visit for the weekend and catch up, braving a rather hectic house. We sadly had a challenging weekend with what we were able to shoot as the storms hit and we either had to take cover in a basement or wrap up but we still managed a little flashing on the river causing the dog walkers some amusement..
By my birthday mid month everything had pretty much ground to a halt in an creepy silence, however Joe Bogar and I managed to squeeze a quick shoot in my loft, and he even brought birthday cake and chocolates..Thank you Joe!
By the time April came I was pretty low with lock down already, and began to resurrect an idea I'd been thinking about before for derelict buildings. Remote shooting! Sadly the gods weren't on my side starting out as it required my laptop as the desktop was out of action. I learnt a painful lesson never to hand your laptops security over to anybody..Even computer companies and I'm hugely grateful to Pete Symes for the time he spent on the phone to help me break in!!!!
So I was pretty late to the table behind many other models.I also felt that Facebook needed a friendly group that allowed not only those already shooting but also others I've already worked with to have a go, with some wonderfully surprising results!
Before committing I wanted to try and make sure I could produce a similar standard of work to usual, with stable tech, and with a photographer I haven't worked with with their own strong style to produce something they would normally shoot. I've admired Gavin Prest's work forever with his strong black and white, and after a message he happily agreed to help out, producing this rather topical shot at the time.
SHOT REMOTELY UK-UK
The first shoot after with Steve Trussler was def not conventional, and the light horribly harsh and trying.
So after a brief but productive session that morning to get our head around everything we had a break to re charge batteries on the camera and work some stuff out, pick up milk etc..I came home to realise the window shadow was literally bang in the middle of the sofa, and phoned Steve. We were logged in in ten minutes with the camera hooked up and just went for it while we had the light. So many awesome shots and the start of a cool, relaxed remote shooting relationship through lock down.