By Jessica Milberg
“Strange times”, “Stay Safe”. These are the things we hear several times a day now. And it is, indeed, strange times.
Our world and way of life are an ever-changing, moving target these days and at the same time, completely stagnant. Many photographers are finding their businesses on hold and unsure of what to do with this time. Like so many other photographers, my work is made out of the house but, that is not possible or responsible at the moment. So how do you stay inside, stay safe and continue to challenge yourself photographically?
I have returned to photographing the everyday. Before I started my business, I took photos documenting the world and people around me. I found beauty in the everyday and mundane. This kind of photography is ultimately what shaped my professional style. If this had been a normal wedding season, by now I would be eyeball deep in marketing, editing, and shooting not to mention my family obligations. I decided to see this time as a gift, to start shooting the things and people around me I don’t normally have time to photograph.
Every day, I look around at my house, my small garden, my daughter, cat, and husband, and notice the things that generally pass me by. I look at how the light in my house has changed over the last four weeks and how the sunlight filters and bounces into my garden. I have spent time looking at the shapes made by my daughter when she is dancing or sitting on her father’s lap, I have noticed the layers of lines in my house and the garden fence, I have embraced the chaos and mess of our daily, indoor lives. Not every picture is a masterpiece, or even mildly interesting but, the more I shoot, the more precious gems I uncover.
Trust me, I don’t feel inspired to pick up my camera every day and sometimes it’s hard to do this without an end goal of trying to translate it into business but, I try and remind myself that the value of this time and this kind of photography is important as a document for my family, and the future. It’s rare that we experience something like this on a global scale, that is universal with an intangible threat. Leaving behind a visual representation of our everyday experiences will help future generations understand how we came together as one world to support each other during this pandemic. If this isn’t enough of a goal, or you are the kind of person who needs a project (this lockdown has been my opportunity to undo that kind of future thinking and just be), why not make a photo book of your images and have it printed or put a set together for your Imagespace profile?
Whatever you decide to do to stay inspired and shooting during this time, just remember to keep it fun. The pressure to be amazing and productive during this time is strong, but some of us just need the space to stop and look around. Allow your camera to be part of that without making it the reason. Be kind to yourself, stay safe, and do what you can to find some moments of joy.