They say every picture tells a story. And this picture certainly tells the story of 2020. As this unforgettable year comes to a close, photographer James Bass shares some of his lockdown 2020 pictures
Before Covid-19 things were promising and the expectation was that it would be a steady year although you can never fully know – some months are busier than others. From early March, news of Covid-19 spreading throughout Europe and landing on these shores was a real possibility. I wasn’t expecting the impact to be quite so immediate. A diary of jobs and event work right into August began to get cancelled or postponed almost overnight, and the emails and phone calls I received from clients were all with the same unwelcome but not unexpected response.
Factor into that schools closing, and a change of personal circumstances, things did not look very rosy. However, I got some temporary work to keep me busy and it fitted in well with homes schooling and juggling parental duties.
The benefits of living away from a town or city and in the countryside meant plenty of fresh air and exercise without the need to travel to far. I had already taken up running at the start of the year and doing that regularly helped my fitness and motivation. Also, spending more time with my daughter – whether that was doing educational work online together or going for long cycle rides or kayaking on the broads – helped lessen the anxiety and uncertainty in what lied ahead. There was also some relief in the fact that many other individuals were in a similar situation which they had no control over.
With Covid19, all large-scale events such as the Royal Norfolk Show, were cancelled and, even though the summer gave us great weather, regular photographic work was difficult maintain from month to month.
The lockdown project started on a whim really. As the end of the year grew closer and the day light hours became shorter, I looked to do something to keep me busier and I find photography, as a profession and hobby, rewarding – both for creative reasons and as a way of honing photographic skills and take pictures which I wouldn’t always necessarily take. After the PM’s announcement that the lockdown was planned to finish on December 2, I thought that it was a good time scale to plan such a project so with my fingers crossed that lockdown 2.0 wasn’t going to run for months like back in March I started.
I had initially planned a list of possible photo ideas which I could do within my daily routine. These included showing the seasonal changes in weather – whilst taking a walk I could aim to capture a sunset; when I was shopping, I could look for Covid-related signage and candid street images. The project certainly kept me busy and my camera was always to hand just in case I spotted something interesting or a potential shot. Sometimes I needed to come back at another time to get the best light or more favourable conditions. Much time was spent editing the daily shots, making sure that I posted an image on my business Facebook page each day. Even deciding which image to post and how it fits in with the rest of the project takes some consideration.
I think how everyone young or old has had different experiences and circumstances and has had to adapt and deal with the enforcement of rules and advice whilst dealing with massive changes to routines and still deal with everyday life.
Remembrance Sunday was a particular event in the calendar year which I knew would be completely different from any other year. No mass public gathering was allowed and with people encouraged to stay at home I looked to this as an opportunity to capture some photos to sum up the mood and event. During the silence, a veteran dipped his head. He was also wearing a mask with the symbolic red poppy design on it. To me it summed up that service and that circumstances that it was under in this challenging year.
All photos by James Bass Photography. Featured image: Facemask Man – ‘a complete stranger who I approached and he agreed to pose for me’