We've been reading about the different experiences from photographers around the world during the Covid-19 pandemic. The next one in the series takes us closer to the TDL home where we hear from Bex Maini, the founder of our community and its internationally published magazine (whoop!). Many of you might already know this but as well as developing the TDL brand AND being a super storytelling photographer, she's also a part time NHS dentist (based in Sussex, UK) and a mum of twins! And breathe - what a lotta work! So we want to know what her lockdown life was like, what her typical day felt like (how did she fit it all in?) and how this journey led her to the birth of the TDL magazine.
My experience of lockdown is probably similar to most - full of ups and downs, struggles and fun. Initially I was jealous of all those who suddenly found lots of time at home with their partners around, enjoying family time and a slower pace of life. My husband is a surgeon so was as busy as ever (if not more so) and I still had responsibilities as a part-time dentist to provide remote care, triage and prescriptions. I couldn't comprehend how I would home school my 5 year twins as well. Then you remember we are all in the same boat - this is happening to everyone and each of us had (and still have) our own Corona struggles and juggles.
When we were at home together, our journey started with rainbows! If you don't know me, I am rather obsessed with rainbows and bright colours in general so of course we jumped on the bandwagon and painted them directly on our windows after schools closed in the UK (on March 23rd). We only cleaned them off a couple of weeks ago!! I was thrilled that they had been a symbol of love and community during lockdown.
Schooling became remote; zoom classes and distance learning the new norm, screen time increased dramatically for both school work and where I desperately need to cram in my own work. My Bexphoto business was suddenly my lowest priority, I just didn't have the mental capacity for all the business admin I needed to do behind the scenes and obviously couldn't photograph clients. Instead I found solace in documenting our own lives.....
Screens have been such a daily norm I started a new "Screen Time" project, photographing all the different ways we use screens. It's not just games and telly, we also use them to learn, to dance, to keep fit and most importantly, to keep in touch with family and friends.
Of course, we did escape the screens a lot too. We're lucky to have lots of countryside to explore nearby, all from our doorstep! We neighbour an orchard who granted me permission to go down one morning to wander alone with my camera at 5am and capture the sunrise. It was stunning and so peaceful!
We've since been back as a family to pick cherries and plums and I've definitely found nature to be a big help with my mental health throughout all of this. I find it especially calming to take macro photos in my garden.
We baked a lot as well, like the majority of people who retreated to the kitchen for home comforts.
And er hem! Here's my little snack monster - caught red handed sneaking into the treat cupboard!!
What else? Well, dens were built by my son on a daily basis!
I also still have an obsession with photographing my daughter's feet!
And we had our fair share of lazy days indoors....
I also documented the parts I struggled with too: the home-schooling; being out and about; wearing masks and preparing the kids to return to school. The moods and tears are part of the story too.
Not to mention the fear and reality of seeing patients again - face to face. I took photos of us being fit-tested for our special masks at work.
But I also enjoyed so many days which felt like a holiday - especially when my husband had annual leave for what would have been our group family holiday. The heatwave was intense and we were able to start seeing grandparents and friends again outdoors.
And then there are some images which we now just associate so much with lockdown life - the lockdown haircut at home for example.
And more recently, the Covid Test my son had to have when he spiked a temperature with a cold.
Normal life has changed in so many ways, with outdoor eye-tests and masks in shops. These are all the things I want to be able to show the twins when they're older as they might not remember a lot of this and in some ways, I hope they don't.
I've even jumped in the frame a couple of times myself!
The story isn't complete of course without mentioning the birth of the This Detailed Life magazine!
Despite how frazzled life felt during March and April we finally found a rhythm. Not only could I work things around my NHS job and being mummy, I also felt I had time to invest in something creative. It had long been an ambition of mine to be a part of curating something like this and when the Dear Photographer magazine ceased publishing, I missed it and the excitement of being part of something so inspiring.
It was a life-line to have this to focus on. It felt completely driven and was thrilled when so many others felt the same and either jumped on board the team or joined in some other way by submitting and/or cheering us on. So thank you for being part of this community and making it so special.
Aren't we lucky that as photographers, we are able to tell our stories so visually?! Recording memories in various beautiful ways, using light and details to compound those moments, it's really very remarkable. I already treasure these photos. Just imagine how much more special they will be years from now!
Bex photographed this series using her Nikon d750 with Sigma Art 35mm and Sigma Art 20mm lenses. She also shot with her Nikkor Micro 105mm.
You can find Bex here: