Last weekend I was at the incredible Also Festival. Two days of amazing talks, food and drink, wild swimming, music, and comedy. I know I would have loved it anyway but it felt especially sweet after the last year. We’ve already booked for next year!
This wonder woodland lounge area was one of the sites for talks in the day and comedy in the evening. I couldn’t leave without getting a photo could I? Props to the ever patient Jedi Hamster who tramped through the wet morning grass in her pyjamas to get this shot early on the Sunday morning.
For rather obvious reasons, many of the photos from my February Photo Fest outdoor theme come from last summer. For the final shot of the week and the Sinful Sunday texture prompt, here’s one of me pressed up against an old oak tree. Sadly I was pressing myself up again the tree because this is from my distance diaries series, but I’m looking forward to this summer and some forest fucking!
This post manages to combine three of my favourite things – woodland, old graves and a naked man to photograph. This photo was shot in Tower Hamlets cemetery shortly after Exhibit A and I had been to the Masculinities exhibition. We were obviously inspired because we got some fabulous images that day!
This is a photo from last June when Exhibit A and I had our first day out once the first lockdown started to ease. It felt like such freedom! There have already been some photos from that outing shared, on his site and here. It was such a perfect afternoon and I hope when this lockdown eases we all feel the same sense of joy that we felt last summer and we’re not just beaten down and nervous that it’ll all go wrong again.
This is a photo he took of me that I haven’t shared yet. It’s unlike me to edit out the lush green of a woodland photo but this photo definitely works better in black and white!
This isn’t the first time I’ve used a Japanese word to title a woodland post – the first time was with Shinrin-Yoku, a shot from mine and Molly’s first photo adventure.
Komorebi is a word that means the play of sunlight and shadows through trees. I tweeted this photo way back in April when I was on a lockdown walk. But after last weekend’s beach photo I feel like sharing another hopeful sunny photo so I’ve decided to give it a permanent home on the blog.
These days vagary is most commonly used when we talk about the vagaries of a situation, meaning an unpredictable or erratic occurrence. But the etymology of the word is vagari, the Latin word for wander.
This weekend’s subject is @lovelustlondon. This coming Wednesday he’ll be joining club 40 and he should be enjoying a vagari in Tibet but due to the vagaries of 2020 he’s not!
This shot was taken a few years ago when we took an early morning walk in Richmond Park. We are going to do a new shoot for his 40th but much like a lot of 2020 it’s on hold until 2021. When spring rolls around we’ll take a day trip somewhere out of the city and get some truly celebratory shots, but until then you can feast your eyes on this one!
There is no repose like that of the green deep woods.
Sleep in forgetfulness of all ill.”
If had to choose my favourite photo from my lockdown photo project I think it would be this one. I love my legs, they’re the part of me that always give me confidence, even if I may be feeling ‘meh’ about the rest of me. I love their shape, their length and I really love getting messages back from lovers telling me how much they’d like my legs to be wrapped around them at that moment. Comments like that are a Pavlovian Bell for happy hot memories.
But I love this photo not just for my legs but for the woods. It’s no secret how much I love photographing in the woods but these woods now have a special place in my heart. I spent a huge amount of time wandering round the Great North Wood during lockdown and by the end of it I’d visited all the accessible patches of it (and snapped a daily photo in many of them!). Discovering all this woodland has been an absolute joy – so much so that I’ve now signed up to be a volunteer for the conservation work! I may keep my clothes on for the volunteering!
“Spread a fern frond over a man’s head and worldly cares are cast out and freedom and beauty and peace come in.” John Muir
On Tuesday, Exhibit A and I had a photo adventure in the woods. It was food for my soul. I’m lucky enough that he only lives a couple of miles from me so we’ve been able to see quite a bit of each other over the last few months, through doorstep drops of tasty treats and an occasional wander in a park. There’s been a couple of times where I’ve had a physical pang of missing him, when I wished we could be hanging out on my sofa rather than talking to each other from a garden gate, but on the whole apart from the lack of physical intimacy I don’t think lockdown has been too hard on us. On occasions I’ve probably felt closer to him than in before times.
But getting on a train and spending the afternoon wandering around the woods, taking photos of each other and idle chatting was a dose of ‘normal us’ coming back. Of course, while Liv is still on her current contract we have keep physically distanced so whereas as it would usually be back to mine after an afternoon out this time it was tea and wagon wheels on opposite ends of a big log and then me on the train and him in the car. But I woke up the next morning with the same contented feeling I do after one of our really great date nights.
This week has felt a world away from last week where it suddenly all just got too much and I cried for five hours one evening and then started again the next morning when I woke up. As well as mine and EA’s photo adventure, I was able to hang out with one of the other recipients of my daily photos (hallelujah!) and time has been spent in drizzly gardens and sunny woods with friends. Add to this the fact my hairdresser phoned to book me in for mid-July (almost deserving of another hallelujah!) and my Pilates studio is taking bookings for a few weeks’ time and it’s almost like my life is coming back to me. Things won’t be the same for a long time (if ever) but the things that are creeping in bring joy and hope.