Staying Home, Staying Creative

As most reading this will probably already know, Spain has been on lockdown since Sunday. People are allowed to leave their homes for certain specific reasons (to buy food or medicine, to go to and from work if applicable, to provide care for relatives, to walk the dog … among quite literally ‘some’ others) but are generally required to stay indoors.

Schools have also been closed, which means that as someone who works as a teacher, work is not among my reasons for leaving the house. (My reason for leaving the house has thus far exclusively been ‘taking out the rubbish’.)

Many people are worried about their livelihoods with businesses either forced to close or left with no customers and therefore no viable means of staying open, paying bills and paying staff. Freelancers are also finding jobs cancelled due to travel restrictions, or the effects of conditions stated above. These are very difficult, and largely unprecedented times. People are worried about paying rent, paying mortgages, and ultimately being able to put food in their mouths. Measures have been taken by the Spanish government to try to alleviate some of these fears, but for many people they will persist and only worsen as this crisis continues, continues for an as yet unknown length of time.

I’ve been somewhat worried about how this will affect my livelihood but it seems that my language school will be hosting our classes online in order to stay open. Obviously this is good news for me personally, but I also think it might be positive for parents and children facing extended periods of time at home, isolated from friends and other social activities. Parents love their children, and children their parents, but spending unusually extended periods of time together will certainly be causing a strain on some relationships. Tuning in to English class for an hour or so might help to fill some of that time, so I do think it’s worth doing.

Many photographers are among those struggling as freelancers and small business owners facing cancellations and loss of income. I’m not among those depending on making pictures to make a living. I simply can’t go outside and make pictures. It’s not the end of the world, but it is something that normally brings me happiness and that I’m currently unable to do. There are, of course, plenty of things happening right now which are far worse.

What I have been trying to do is redirect the time and energy I would normally put into my Photography. I can’t go outside, but I can still use my cameras. I’m not using my film camera very much because it seems like a bit of a waste of a medium which ultimately costs money to use. I’m not even making many photographs with my digital cameras. Instead, I seem to have turned to video as the outlet for my creative impulses.

Early in our ongoing lockdown, I made this short film of my observations, often of the mundane, related to being inside all day – or of my small window onto the outside world provided by our balcony where I spend as much time as possible taking in fresh air and sunshine. The video is quite slow in pace as I intended to share some of what there is to observe and the long periods of time I now have to observe it all. It is intended to give a sense of the often slow pace of life under lockdown. If you are also under lockdown and/or happen to have a quarter of an hour to spare, you can watch the video below or on YouTube.

I’m slowly gathering further observations for a follow up video on life under lockdown, perhaps over the period of a week or two. I’m not going to rush to upload another once, since I will almost certainly have plenty of time on my hands in the coming weeks!

My thoughts are with all of those suffering greater hardship than I am in this difficult time – whether it be through personal ill health, relatives affected by this virus, or great uncertainty in financial or any other terms. All the best to all of you.

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