Southampton Doorstep Portraits - Documenting Life in Lockdown.
I don't know about you, but I took quite a long time to get used to life in lockdown. Just leaving the house felt scary, everything was uncertain and all of my wedding and family photography bookings were cancelled or postponed to later in the year or 2021. I went through quite a period of not leaving home at all, but staying cooped up wasn't helping me either. I wanted to do something useful again, and that was when I saw another photographer in Sheffield who was offering socially distant portraits, and inspiration struck.
I started offering my own Doorstep Portraits for local families in Southampton. The reaction has been brilliant and I'm still getting round to all the people who have requested one.
Firstly, I want to make sure that what I am doing is safe, so always keep within the Government guidelines by only doing them during my daily exercise and keeping to the social distancing rules (while also using my alcohol hand gel every 3 minutes!)
Secondly, I want the portraits to be useful in some way, and not just something which could seem frivolous or like I am not taking this situation seriously. So, I am asking everyone who has asked to take part in my Doorstep Portrait project to do two things:
- Donate what they can to the NHS charities via my Just Giving page. So far the project has raised £400. Not huge in the grand scheme of things but every little helps and I am hugely grateful to everyone who has donated.
- Answer a short series of questions about how they have found life during the Coronavirus pandemic and what they have been doing during the lockdown. People's words combined with their portraits will capture a snapshot in time, a visual time capsule of what everyday life is like in Southampton during this unprecedented time.
As a trained curator, I know how important these personal insights will be when looking back at this time in years to come. Yes, we will have the official statistics, the overview of how the country coped, what plans were put in place and how the Government dealt with the situation, but we also need to record individual memories and feelings. These are what people will relate to when we look back at this time, what will make it feel real; everyone who is taking part in my Doorstep Portraits project is doing their little part for the future history of Southampton. I am working with the local museum team to donate these images and words so they will be kept safe and as a permanent record of Southampton's life in lockdown.
On a more personal level, this project is also having a huge impact on me. I am meeting some truly wonderful people and learning about how life has changed for them over the past few months. Talking to people in my local community and doing something which takes me out of my own personal bubble has helped shift my focus and given me a huge bump of positivity, which I wasn't expecting.
So, thank you everyone for taking part.
Thank you for donating to the NHS.
Thank you for wanting to be part of your local history archives.
Thank you for helping a Hampshire wedding photographer find her positivity again!
Here are a few shots from my first week of Southampton Doorstep Portraits...
If you would like to be a part of my Southampton Doorstep Portraits project, there's still time. Click the button below for all the details and to arrange your Doorstep Portrait.