Covid restrictions are being relaxed today (edited July 19) and it feels like there is a tilt of the axis which could mean that we learn to live with Covid in a much more normal, open and dear I say it positive way. Much of the last 18 months since Lockdown has been sad, mundane , frustrating and not very inspiring to be honest but at least I have been blessed by not being personally affected in any major way. In May 2020 I was prompted to make a small series which focused not so much the Covid crisis but actually on the context of it with an idea that with the much larger bio diversity and global warming crisis looming , this kind of obsession with all the constantly changing detail of lockdown is a bit like looking at the trees and not seeing the wood; or to put it another way, the runaway train heading in your direction is still 15 minutes away so still time to get a cup of tea and a sarnie from the platform café! This view is not to negate the importance and tragedy of the Covid crisis but perhaps I’m saying we and the media must learn to hold more than one idea in our heads and to give as much urgency to a crisis that is looming than to one that is here already.
The Daily Tweeter Lockdown Project-Bird Snaps and Headlines in the Month of May 2020
Doesn’t it seem like yesterday when everyone, every day was talking about Brexit? Then Covid 19 came along and now no one ever mentions it. It seems to me the ‘affairs of men’ can be very fickle and yet at the time we obsess over the headlines; let them consume our every thought and conversation. As a response to the anxious chatter of the 24 hours news cycle, I decided to shift my focus and photograph a bird a day from my garden and home. Modern birds have been on the planet for a lot longer than we have, and yet we take these remarkable creatures for granted. As lockdown compounds existing mental health problems or even gives rise to new ones, like #coronapsychosis (linked to “the dramatic increase in media coverage of the virus’) it felt like turning the camera on those birds could remind us of something important: we are part of the natural world and the more we forget this, the more we suffer as individuals and as a society. The UN environmental chief is right in seeing the virus as Mother Nature’s warning. Conversely, the cure for many of our modern malaises are found in the natural world. Bird-watching for example, is a tonic to many mental health issues. By running a daily headline over the print of my bird shots (inspired by the metadata shown on pre-digital machine prints), I’m inviting the viewers to reframe and widen their perspective, and take solace from this. Even one month on, the daily news seems less incendiary and in a year, who knows what we will be talking about.