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Photography In a Pandemic

Not gonna lie, I do wonder how my photography skills would have developed if we hadn't gone into a global pandemic. Over the last year, I have learnt to become much more self sufficient with myself when photographing and it has helped to create a clearer picture of what I want to photograph post-university. I do think that if we had finished second year and then gone into final year then the skills that I would have developed would have been entirely different. Considering my final project was going to include documenting people, I feel like my anxieties regarding asking people for things would have been drastically helped. It is baffling to think how differently things could have gone.


Now we have the initial rambling that I just like to throw in so I can get the ball rolling, lets get into the nitty gritty of it all. How have I adapted to photographing in a pandemic? Well to start, I have learnt to better control light within my images. With all of the free time that we had until university started again, I would spend my time just shooting random things just so I could say I knew how to. It actually helped to generate a passion that I thought I had previously lost, which was just shooting nothing of importance. I think when you get to university, it gets drilled in that shooting your own stuff is good, but if you spend too much time doing your own thing then that is bad. After all, you have a degree to be getting. There becomes the need to prioritise one thing over the other and for me it eventually became a psychological thing that I was doing the wrong thing by shooting stuff that I was just interested in photographing. Even when I was shooting an experimenting with random stuff on film, I kept thinking how it could be utilised for my projects. I realised I wasn't shooting for me, but instead I was shooting for the need to fill a quota.

That is what the lockdown taught me. It's that sometimes you don't need to be photographing for a larger scheme or for anyone else. Sometimes, you just need to photograph because you love to photograph, after all, none of us picked up a camera for the first time and went "you know what I'll get a job out of this." This time that I had where I had no essays, no work to be submitting, it let me truly just think about what I was interested in photographing and what I was willing to go out and shoot. My personal photographs focused on landscapes, interiors and buildings. Did I feel obliged to shoot these buildings? Absolutely not. But I wanted to, and that was the most important thing here.

When we had guest lecturers, I listened to them talk about how their lockdowns influenced their mindset, and it seemed to prioritise around how they worked. Maybe it's because I'm not at that stage yet where I'm having to work within the industry, but it resonated to an extent but not fully. Instead what this has made me realise is that the only person making you shoot photos is you. Heaven knows our parents aren't making us do this. I don't think any parent wants their kids to go "you know where I'll get a job with consistent pay? The arts sector." We shoot because we like it, because it is our form of creation and expression and I think that after spending so much time making work because I had to, it's nice to make work because you want to.

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