Hi everyone, Calum Heywood here for the last time this week. For the last post of my takeover I wanted to share something a little different with portraits of myself that other people had taken from a social distance. This almost brings the project full circle and shows the behind the camera. This acts as a sort of behind the scenes to the project framing the photographer as the subject both images are shot on the same camera as the rest of the images which give a consistent style. The first is by my partner on a trip to Wales and the second is from Daniel Oyegade
Author: Calum Heywood
Hebden Bridge Photowalk
These images are a collection from a photo walk around Hebden Bridge with Naomi Lee Voss. We planned the walk as a way to connect with other creatives. I set myself the goal of approaching people and asking to take their portraits from a social distance as a lot of the people I had shot into this point I already had a prior connection with.This turned out really well as everyone was happy to get involved and interested in the project. I definitely plan to explore this style of shooting further in the future.
You can read more about Naomi Lee Voss and her photo walks on her blog post here: The Photo Walk Project: Naomi Lee Voss on Photo Walks as a method of creative inspiration
I had been planning to shoot Nathan’s portrait since the start of the project but I was unable to till a couple of weeks ago because he was still studying in Middlesbrough. Similar to the style I shot with Daniel I wanted to be more creative and test out new ways to take portraits. The first is a spontaneous natural photograph of Nathan at home with his cat Otis. The second is a set up shot of Nathan in the sea on Lytham St Annes beach. Personally I prefer how the first image came out because it fits with the rest of the project and explores the subjects personal space whereas the second uses a more sterile and contrived environment which although making for an interesting shot does not really give the view much information about the subject.
I shot Daniels portrait on a photo walk we took together around Manchester after the end of the first lockdown.
I was being more experimental at this point in the project and trying to work more with scenery and experimental techniques. Rather than the more natural style I was using in the beginning.
Both images are shot using Kodak Portra 400 set at 200 ISO to create the dreamy blown out look.
I shot Orrin a bit further into the project when I was more comfortable moving around under the lockdown restrictions as I could cycle to shoot people from a social distance and class it as daily exercise. Orrin is also to thank for developing most of the film for the project in his home darkroom as my usual lab was closed.
Socially Distanced Portraiture, an Introduction
To begin, this project started as a study of landscape development and local gentrification through exploration of how the UK was moving forward with power and energy, with the rise of green energy and subsequent decrease and removal of traditional power stations. The aim was to explore the effects this was having on a local level by visiting and documenting the towns and local areas which had been affected and how the landscape changed as a result of the now absent landmarks which had become a part of the community. I photographed the demolition of Ironbridge Power Station in Telford to document this change in landscape, with the hope of revisiting this site and others to re-photograph them and document the change in landscape over time. I was forced to abandon this project due to the national lockdown last spring as I could no longer travel further than my immediate home. Although I will still be working on this theme once everything returns to normal, the project then morphed into a documentation of the 2020 UK lockdown through capturing portraits of people living in the North West of England.
The basis of the project was to create a connection between the subject and the viewer through a socially distanced environmental portrait. Each photograph in this series shows the subjects in their home environment, whether quite literally outside the front door or within an environment the subject would call home such as a garden. I wanted each photograph to show the viewer something about the subject in a subtle way so that the information was there for the viewer to unpack, either who the person is or where they are. I also wanted to explore the idea that everyone had lived through the same event during the 2020 lockdown but in vastly different ways through individual experiences and different geographical areas. I wanted each shot to feel unique and to show the subjects space with a personal feel to each image as if using the photograph as a window into peoples’ personal spaces or the home environment during a time of forced isolation.
This project has changed and adapted with the everchanging rules of Britain’s lockdown, meaning that each stage had allowed me to explore the project in different ways as the restrictions changed. I started incorporating photo walks into the project to work with other creatives and shoot in different locations and situations, which by virtue expanded the projects visual material and cultural coverage.
A major theme of this work that I want to explore in the next six days worth of posts here on Two Forty Four’s blog is the connections between the people I have met and interacted with since the start of the lockdown in March 2020. Each day I will be posting a new portrait and a bit about the person, my connection to them and why I decided to photograph them.
To start off this week I’m going to share where this work started with some initial portraits of my family. Like many, I started lockdown stuck at home and decided to use the time to document my time during isolation. I also had a large amount of Kodak film, which I bulk bought in case the Kodak factories shut down production over the lockdown, so I wanted to test it out. My family try to live a sustainable lifestyle with a lot of work outdoors growing food, looking after animals and self-maintaining our home. So, it was interesting to photograph and become involved in this environment and in a way reconnect with that aspect of home life through photography, adding a personal element of nostalgia to the project. Included are images of my parents and sister, taken during this initial exploration of working in lockdown.