The Year that was 2020 – what a ride
It’s customary for photographers to publish an end of year post. A round-up of best bits, if you like. Historically I’ve always solely focussed on my wedding and family photography work, but last year, after a couple of very challenging years for personal reasons, I broadened my scope to share a whole load of my day to day images (mainly shot on my phone). Who’d have known that would pave the way for 2020, when I’ve hardly shot any professional work at all!
Ups and Downs!
Like a lot of people, I’ve had a challenging year.
There have definitely been ups and downs. Let’s get the downs out of the way first, shall we?
I went through isolation alone, having moved into a flat of my own (never having lived alone in my life…) two weeks before lockdown started.
I spent the best part of three months inside for 23 hours a day, with only my plants for company.
I had to find full-time work in the height of a pandemic, in order to financially survive as I’m not eligible for any meaningful Government support.
We lost my nan and didn’t get an opportunity to say goodbye. When we eventually arranged a celebration of life, the lockdown rules changed a week before. We had to cancel.
I got accepted for a university course, but that meant having to find a part-time job that worked around my studies. I am subsidising my job income with income from my photography business, so whether I’ll be able to stay at uni in the longer term really depends on my business getting back to capacity…
My business all but collapsed and I’ve had to find the energy to try to keep it afloat while working and studying.
All of that, plus the crushing loneliness and even more crushing boredom….
It’s been tough. But…
Looking through my pictures from this year, I feel such immense gratitude for the moments of joy, the moments of relief and the calm among the chaos.
I moved into my own place and I love it.
I walked Conniston Old Man, The Long Mynd, The Wrekin, Kinver Edge, Cubar Edge, Glastonbury Tor, Wazeley Hills, Clent Hills, part of the South West Coastal Path, and The Wyre Forest. When I walked to the highest point in the Lickey Hills, after three months of not seeing an interrupted horizon, I cried.
I saw wild ponies in Norfolk and wild deer in Worcestershire.
I cycled along Birmingham’s endless canals and explored the River Rea in the sunshine.
I grew and nurtured my plant collection.
I hung out in fields of sunflowers at sunset.
I swam wild in a reservoir in Derbyshire.
I turned 40 in the middle of lockdown and the people who love me made sure that I didn’t feel alone.
I had the best bath of my life in a roll-top bath, in a shepherd’s hut, overlooking the Shropshire countryside.
I endlessly explored the suburbs of South Birmingham.
I marvelled at the stars while sitting around a campfire in Wales.
I chased rainbows and fragments of light around the walls of my flat.
I quit alcohol.
I finally got my fledgeling Mindfulness business off the ground.
I started studying at university to become a counsellor and psychotherapist.
I attended a (really, really!) transformational retreat.
I continued to learn about myself and the world.
I felt very, very grateful for the people in my life who support me.
Gratitude truly is a powerful thing. Just writing this list makes me feel immensely lucky.
I am grateful for the relationships that have sustained me.
I am grateful for my own resilience in the face of seemingly never-ending challenges (and not just in 2020 either…the last three years has been the most challenging time of my life).
I am grateful for the small number of clients I worked with this year.
I am grateful for my part-time work with The Stroke Association, which not only financially supports me but enriches my life in so many ways.
I am grateful for the patience and fortitude of every couple and family who has worked with me to reschedule their shoot or wedding to next year and beyond.
I am grateful to every single person who has recommended me or told a friend about me – you are helping to keep my business afloat.
Most of all I am grateful for every single moment of joy that I have felt, in spite of how hard things have been.
2020 has been a year of finding joy in the little things. It’s been a year of integration and reflection. It’s been indescribably hard but it’s also been really, really beautiful.
Here are some of my pictures, both my professional work and pictures shot for fun on my phone, from the year that was 2020. If you’d like to work with me in 2021 or 2022 get in touch.