Today my weeks in lockdown reach double figures (I isolated a week early because I was sick). Like almost everybody my experience of time is warped. Things I did last weekend feel like a month ago yet ten weeks seems to have passed in a flash.
While so much of this entire chapter has been truly terrible and it makes me sad and very angry if I think too much about it, personally there have been parts of it I’ve enjoyed. I was chatting to a friend yesterday about my experience of lockdown and he replied: ‘You’re a survivor’. I think survivor is a too grandiose word, but I am very good at adapting and making the most of situations rather than letting them get the better of me. Of course, I haven’t sailed through it completing unscathed – I’ve had two separate days where I felt really sad and lonely and one evening I got myself unnecessarily upset about something I should know better than to dwell on and picked a petty argument. But largely my bubble has been a happy place.
Early on I decided to make food a hobby not just a function and trying new recipes and delivering treats to my neighbours and the friends who live close enough for a doorstep drop has brought hours of pleasure. I’ve loved exploring parts of my neighbourhood that I didn’t know existed, although when I sent my oldest friends a sound recording of birdsong in a wood one of them responded with: ‘Is this your emergency message, have you been kidnapped?’ I’ve had some epic clear outs indoors and in the garden, got through four and a half series of Mad Men, watched stage shows I’d never pay to see and enjoyed them. Still only on part two of my BSL course though!
Perhaps the most satisfying thing has been doing a forensic dive into my finances. I have always lived beyond my means and been too quick to put things on credit cards rather than say no. This situation has forced me to have some honest conversations with myself and the lack of anything to spend money on is a unique opportunity to pay off credit cards in four figure chunks not minimum monthly payments. I’m being explicit about this because one thing I’ve done is attend a seminar about women and finance and one of the key takeaways was women need to talk about money more. It’s one of the very few things we don’t talk to our friends about and we are literally and metaphorically poorer for it.
Related to money is work and that’s been the biggest success for me. At the beginning of this all our shoots and training sessions were abruptly pulled and we had no idea how we’d come through this. Two months on we’ve repurposed the business and it’s blooming. I hope soon it will also be booming! I’ve always loved my work but at the moment it feels new and exciting and the time and effort that we’re ploughing into it makes it feel like we’re just starting out again, but this time with the experience from chapter one to feed into it.
While lockdown has been good for me, I’m ready to come out of my bubble. I want to see my family and hug my friends. I want to go for a swim. I want a haircut and a pedicure. And I don’t want to be physically distanced from partners and lovers anymore. As I come out of the period of business and financial stock taking my libido is shaking off its dust. For a while my daily photos and the messages and photos I’d receive in return were enough. But not anymore. I want to kiss and fuck and cuddle. I want to have my hair pulled and my arse slapped. I want to breathe in the smell of necks and and run my fingers through chest hair. I’ve sorted business, finance, home and garden, I want the rest of my life back now.
I sent this photo with the caption: “I hope I get to wear fancy shoes and flash my cunt in real life before I lose my teeth.” That time will come and while lockdown celibacy may seem endless, I’m pretty confident I’ll still have my teeth when it does! But until that time I’ll just keep putting myself in the frame for my daily photos.
The photo that’s been chosen for today’s Sinful Sunday was photo number 51. I’d briefly toyed with stopping the daily photos at number 50, thinking maybe it was becoming boring for the recipients and because creativity can occasionally go frustratingly MIA when available locations are limited.
But when I woke on Thursday I realised I’d miss it if I stopped so later that day, while enjoying the afternoon light that bathes my room on sunny days, I snapped this shot and sent it with with the caption ‘51: afternoon light and lockdown bush!’ It’s been one of the most well-received photos of the series so I guess it’s a good job I carried on!
Today I left home planning to head to some woods where I think there maybe some bluebells. But for no reason I can explain I suddenly thought: ‘I want to go to a cemetery.’
I love cemeteries. I have no idea why. I first photographed one in 1995 when I was still at university and I’ve visited many in cities around the world since. They even have their own tag on my blog! Today I went to West Norwood, one of London’s Magnificent Seven. This is the fourth I’ve shot nudes in and, of course, I now need to visit the last three.
This is day 45 of my daily lockdown photo endeavour. The days where I resent it are increasing (it’s hard coming up with new ideas to shoot solo in a two bedroom flat!) but I also love it. It’s a little thing that keeps a red thread of creativity in my lockdown experience and I value the daily contact with the recipients. The photo I actually sent them earlier had a slight edit applied – a sepia tone that suited the vine-covered mausoleum. But this is the unedited version, straight out of the camera – complete with the shadow of my glasses on my cheek!
This week I decided to do my take on the #GettyMuseumChallenge (if you haven’t seen it, check out the hashtag – there’s some excellent interpretations) and recreate seven photographs by great photographers.
In the end I found the exercise a little bit frustrating at times. I kept choosing photograph of women with completely different body shapes to mine and then wondering why I couldn’t do accurate interpretations. In the end I relaxed into an ‘influenced by…’ mindset rather than true recreations.
It was Exhibit A’s turn to choose my Sinful Sunday this week and he opted for this one. The original shot, Nude by Edward Weston, features in just about every book of photography nudes I own and constantly crops up in articles. I think it’s a great photo, but reading this week that “the image has since been declared a Modernist paragon for its extraordinary investigation of the human body” just makes me do a massive eye roll at the waffly bollocks of art commentary!
I think we can all agree that lockdown is really fucking strange. Sometimes a day feels like a week, other times a week feels like a day. Is it really six weeks since I last kissed or hugged another person? In truth it doesn’t feel that long because in many ways I feel more connected to the people who are important to me than ever before.
Saturday coffee mornings with my Mum and Aunt, Friday night pub with some of my oldest dearest friends, weekly lunches with a group of brilliant fellow consultants who offer professional solidarity and friendship. Because of video chat I’m actually seeing some people far more frequently than I would in the normal course of things. Of course, Zoom will never replace the joy of being in the same room as your loved ones, hugging them, cwtching up on the sofa, sitting in companionable silence, but at the moment it’s allowing us to still come into each other’s lives and homes.
Another thing that’s increased is my photo taking. As I approach day 40 of my photo a day project I can’t believe that 28 (or 29!) days of photos for February Photo Fest ever felt like a long time. This project continues to delight me (and the recipients, I think!) and even on the days I curse it because I’m busy with work or the photos are not coming out as I want them to I am still relishing the daily creative endeavour.
I’ve never been someone who needs or wants daily contact with partners and lovers and I’m sure once this is over we’ll all slip back into less frequent contact but while I’m home alone the daily contact is part of my landscape of joyful things. I love the positive messages (sometimes horny growly ones, sometimes thoughtful ones about the photo merits) and photos that come back to me. It might not surprise you to hear that the photo below resulted in more horny growly messages, but I’m really happy with the photo merits too!
Lockdown continues and so my daily photos continue. I started this on day three of my own self-isolation so there’s been 33 photos to date. Pretty sure there’ll be at least another 33!
Some days I have an idea in advance and I set about creating it but most days I just grab my phone and let some spontaneous inspiration strike. On Monday I noticed my Godemiche Adam lying on the bed and this was the result. This was the first shot, which I initially thought was for the bin and took a second with my hair out of the way. I then realised it was much better with the hair.
I gave American Chap the decision on what today’s Sinful Sunday would be, but I didn’t really need to ask him as I knew which one he’d choose – he’s a much bigger fan of this kind of photo than when I come over a bit ‘arty farty’. But I did check in with the other two recipients and they both would have picked this one too. The first unanimous result!
A temporary change in the rules of play this Sunday. So far during lockdown my Sinful Sunday has been chosen by one of the recipients of my daily photos from the shots I have sent over the previous seven days. But I do love an opportunity to theme my posts so even though this is the photo they’ve had today it’s also going straight on the blog.
Happy Easter everyone. I hope you have woken up to some treats from the Easter bunny, whether they’re tangible treats or digital delights!
I’m still sending a photo a day to those I can’t be naked with for a while. Having had symptoms already, I went into self-isolation a week before lockdown started so it’s been three weeks already. I’m still loving the daily creative endeavour but I’m also bloody-minded – I think three weeks is in deep enough now for me to not give up, even if I get bored at times!
In order for the photo that got chosen for today to fit with this month’s food and drinks prompt I had to make every photo last week themed. It’s only two months since my food theme on February Photo Fest so it felt quite soon to be doing strange things with fruit and veg again!
The person who I asked to pick their favourite this week chose this one and one involving a pineapple. The croissant felt more appropriate to Sunday breakfast so I’ll save the pineapple for another time. One thing’s for sure – if I do keep this up I’m going to be sorted for next February super early!
If you saw last week’s post you’ll know that I’m doing a photo a day during lockdown. At the moment I’m really enjoying the daily dose of creativity and so far they’re being well-received. Not sure how I’ll be by the time we’re out of this though; I did joke to one recipient that after three months I may be sending photos of out of control chin hair and chipped toe nails!
One of the things I’m doing is putting the decision on which of the seven photos gets my Sinful Sunday spot out to the recipients. This week Exhibit A got the decision making baton. When I asked him for his pick of the week/pic of the week he replied: “do you even need to ask??” and sent this one back to me. *sigh*
I did tweet it earlier in the week as an outtake but I wasn’t expecting it to have a permanent home on my blog, but you can’t change the rules of a game once it’s started just because you don’t like the outcome. So here I am, wedged naked between my exercise ball and the wall, legs akimbo. To be fair, this photo had created a lot of amusement this week. Even my mother has received it!