And although these restrictions are slowly lifting and each rule change seems to be bringing us closer to the days we once knew, we're still stuck in a strange and isolating existence. The coronavirus pandemic has been particularly tough on creatives and artists, as, for most, their work was abruptly paused for an indefinite period of time. Here are some of our favourite female photographers and their lockdown endeavours:
When the world pressed pause, Danielle Levitt began exploring her impressive photography career. From celebrities to regular folks to the pleasantly peculiar, Danielle recounts the impressions she had at the time of her photography subjects through the lens of her thoughts and feelings today. Pondering old photos, she also mediates on how she viewed herself and her photography back then. It’s a tale of growth. It’s about finding confidence in oneself and one’s art. It’s the story of a curious creative who has captured everything and everyone. Danielle Levitt is a true appreciator of the human experience and we’ve been getting lost in her fascinating flair for storytelling.
Under the hashtag #quarchives, Elizabeth Weinberg has been rediscovering her old photography and the stories and people behind them. This rediscovery simultaneously allowed Elizabeth to reflect on her personal life around the time of taking these photos. Despite the pandemic creating difficult work conditions for photographers, next to reminiscing, Elizabeth has sought to overcome the limitations of social distancing. Unafraid of a challenge, she recently shot a feature for Teen Vogue using a drone: “no drone operator, no remote viewing station, just me. Bending the rules of what a “drone shoot” can mean. Not just aerials but portraits”. She certainly proves that nothing is impossible whilst in quarantine.
Amber McKee is another strong player who didn't bow down to the pandemic's antics. In her recent story with AJ Mitchell for BBG, Amber challenged the traditional ways of doing photography. Usually, that entails being in the same location as your subject, but as coronavirus was raging on everyone's doorstep, that just wasn't a plausible setup. Instead, over video call, Amber directed AJ's team who acted as camera operator. If you ask us, this series looks just like the type of quality photography she is known to deliver and we can't distinguish it from her pre-COVID work. Obviously, genius is not faced by a *major* hurdle such as a global pandemic.
Jade Danielle Smith
During the lockdown, photographer Jade Danielle Smith began scouring the new world for subjects, documenting the deserted streets and the few people walking them. On her daily bike rides - or sometimes through her window - Jade captured a mixture of portraits and documentary imagery, transforming her Instagram feed into a sea of masks, much like London itself. People flock into mile-long queues but remain two meters apart. Pubs, once bustling, are now bare. Abandoned and enclosed playgrounds appear ghost-like. Her project shows people adjusting to their new reality.
Venetia Dearden documents her family, mainly her two sweet, curious daughters, in Puglia, Italy during COVID-19. A completely different perspective to that of Jade’s London, this is a story of Italy’s beautiful countryside. It’s about life in the slow lane and appreciating our surroundings. In her lockdown diaries, Venetia connects with family and nature, and every image seeks to fortify those relationships during an unprecedented time. Scrolling through her Instagram is an enticing escape into nature and openness, away from the small and crowded city living spaces many of us have found ourselves enclosed within.
Chieska Fortune Smith
As was also an important topic in Venetia’s lockdown photography, Chieska Fortune Smith’s recent BBG lockdown documentary focuses on the role of motherhood. Lockdown offered a strange reality for parents across the globe when schools and kindergartens closed down. Overnight, parents began juggling jobs and their child’s curriculum. In A Mother’s Perspective, Chieska invites us into her energetic and playful household where she captures her two young boys at play. Her lockdown documentary tells the story of her two children’s wandering minds.