First up I will say I know these are unprecedented times, I know there are challenges we have never faced before in our generation and I am more than aware of the effects of the pandemic in people and our day to day lives.
I had today off. I was due to attend Photo London.
I thoroughly enjoyed my visit last year and was disappointed (but understood) when the original dates were cancelled.
The organisation tried their best and rearranged the event for a different part of London in October.
I was nervous about attending in person but was keen to get into the city and experience some life and to enjoy the exhibits
Unsurprisingly the event was moved to a virtual one which I have been following since it started.
Like many things though, it’s not the same.
The sheer size of the works on show was bewildering and last year as I browsed Somerset House and the massive marquee that filled the central court, I got to see so much work. Work I had an interest in. Work I didn’t.
The galleries had so much variety it engaged me and made me excited and connected to the work of Photographers and photography.
It was also a great opportunity to people watch and to feed on the buzz and energy.
This hasn’t manifested in this year’s online event.
The site is much better than some I have seen (I’m looking at you The Photography Show) but still suffers from being virtual.
Yes, I can browse lots of work. But it’s not the same when viewing the works on my monitor.
I recall the vast scale and the clarity of the printed works and a computer cannot replicate this.
The talks have also been transferred to the virtual space. Sadly the timing has been quite poor and I’ve been unable to watch any that I was interested in.
I even tried to move my lunch to attend the Martin Parr presentation but something came up at work and I had to miss it. I am not sure if these talks are recorded but I have not been able to find them online.
I kept the day off and had a quiet day away from the office. But also away from everything else.
I wanted to go out and take some photos. I did that. But in the confines of the estate I live on. The wood is off-limits due to Network Rail working on the subway that connects my home to the countryside.
So I took a few photos in the park but nothing else.
I didn’t drive anywhere and chose to avoid Colchester as a group of students at the University of Essex decided to have a party on campus this week and the covid cases are increasing in Colchester as a result.
Nothing is the same and as we move into winter it feels like this is going to be the case for months.
My office is closed until the spring which ensures I won’t be anywhere near London for nearly a year.
I’m missing the buzz of the city and catching up physically with my friends.
I could travel to London and break the rules like many others but chose not too.
If the students and locals cannot adhere to the rules then I won’t be going anywhere near Colchester either.
I’m fortunate I have my health and live somewhere not heavily populated but that doesn’t mean I am not feeling the effects of the pandemic.
Since March I have been working from home and it appears that will be the case for at least a year.
I’m lucky to have a job and be able to work from home but we are busier than ever. Work is full-on and managing the day to day is challenging when all hosted virtually.
My employer gave everyone the day off Monday to thank us all for our hard work but again, just like after our break this summer, it felt like we simply returned to the same situation and are a part of a machine with no control.
I have created my next photo book which is a collection of photos I took during the first 6 months of the pandemic (more on that soon) but I have to find new projects and ideas to keep me motivated and to avoid going mad.
Photo London was an interesting experience but nowhere near as fun or educational as it was in person. And that’s pretty much the same for life as a whole at the moment.
I’ll persevere but to be honest, am not sure I’m going to bother with virtual versions of physical events for the time being as they are simply not the same. They are a reminder of what we are missing.
Thanks for your support and reading my ramblings. I hope you’re all safe and well.
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