2020 review

Gosh, what a year... One I'm sure many of us will be glad to see the back of for so many reasons..

Photographically, it's been very tricky - with so many restrictions placed on travel, plans have changed and adapted, creativity has been pushed and challenged, and it's been tricky to find the motivation to get the camera out of it's bag at times.

But here we are, at the end of the year and looking back, and it's actually been quite productive being at home, I've been pushed to try new things and try new techniques, and that challenge has kept me motivated behind the lens.

« "STRAIGHT & NARROW" 20th Feb, » "THE SEEKER" 8th Feb trite collection
The year started with the exploration of a new technique - horizon blending. Applied here to 2 images taken in Feburary and before the first lockdown, when the world seemed "normal" (well, in comparison to now at least) these images were the foundation of a new collection entitled "Trite" that explored the beauty of decay in utilitarian objects.

The Harp, 6th March, Geometric Collection
Just prior to Coronavirus sending us into a national lockdown I was lucky enough to spend a few days in the wonderful city of Dublin. This image of the Samuel Beckett bridge had been planned for a while, as I knew the lines of the ropes and supporting structure would make a nice minimal study.

Escape, 26th March, Divergent Collection
The first photograph I took during the first lockdown, a reaction to the situation we'd found ourselves in. Locked inside, trapped as the world crumbled to pieces around us.

V, 1st April, Embryonic Collection
As we settled into our "new normal" I found myself looking into new techniques, exploring items around the home to keep myself busy behind the camera and keep creativity up whilst not being allowed to shoot outside. This mini self contained series was shot over a number of days, exploring various shapes made by oil on water with various colours underneath. Explore the full collection above.

Troopers Day Off, 20th April, Toys Collection
Continuing in the spirit of shooting items in the home, the beginnings of a brand new series was found by putting a lego minifigure infront of the lens...

Book Worms, 30th April, Creative Portraits Collection
As the toy collection grew, a new project started alongside - shooting a new creative portrait of my kids each week during lockdown. This image was the first in that series, and remains as one of my favourite images not just this year, but in my entire collection.

Fallen AT AT, 15th May
The toy photography grew into a large exploration of micro-studio building techniques, with the help of some BBQ ash and a lens blower I photographed a number of Lego Star Wars sets, that went on to make my first ever Zine - Bricks from another galaxy Vol I. This image is my favourite from the entire collection, and one of my favourites for this year.

Planets Align, 11th July, Divergent Collection
As restrictions from the first lockdown began to ease in the summer I headed to shoot an image I'd wanted to capture for quite some time - showing the core of the milkyway above Corfe Castle.

Disintegration, 19th July, Creative Portraits Collection
The last image in the creative portraits collection, and one of the most poignant, taken after lockdown eased, but showing the idea of a child being fractured.

View from Hitter's Hill, 21st July, Landscape Collection
The holiday that almost didn't happen - with so much uncertainty throughout the year I didn't know if this holiday was going to happen or not, but we were blessed that it was able to go ahead, and for me this image & associated memory is a reminder of the fluency of the country, as me, my wife, 2 kids & toddler (strapped to my chest) stood on the side of Hitter's Hill in the Peak District we watched clouds ebb & flow, we watched as the hills transformed from total darkness to glorious light within a minute, and were reminded that "the clouds will pass and the light will shine again".

The Three Brothers, 14th Sep, Monochrome Collection
You'll notice a gap in images here - though I did shoot some imagery during July-Sep I often find inspiration somewhat lacking during the late summer months, as such it's rare for an image taken in august to reach my favourite list of the year.. This image, taken as the coldness of autumn started to take it's grip with morning frosts and fogs marks a return for me to a comfort zone - foggy conditions.

Dead End, 22nd Nov, Twofold Collection
A number of images shown in this article (and some not) were featured in the WexMondays shortlist throughout 2020 - as the competition now draws to a close I'm delighted to have had a total of 19 images shortlist throughout the year, but it wasn't until this image - at the end Nov that I managed to gain a 1st place finish. A case of too little too late for the competition, but an image I'm happy to include in my favourites of 2020.

Solitary, 29th Nov, Monochrome Collection
Back to my comfort zone with a lone tree on a foggy morning, but a reminder to always keep a look out for photographs as you travel - this scene was spotted by my close tog friend en route to a totally different location, and would have gone totally un-noticed if we'd had our "blinkers" on, so to speak.

Steam and Lights, 29th Nov, Divergent Collection
As we come into land, I want to finish with a colourful image. Not really the strongest image from the shoot, but for me at least the most symbolic - as it shows light & colour on the horizon, it shows a clear sky with colour hurtling towards us, a reminder (I hope) of better things to come next year...

So, that's it - a year in which I shot oil & water and Lego at home, photographed socially distanced and reduced number "covid secure" weddings, a year in which I gave numerous club talks remotely over zoom, a year in which I had 5 images shortlisted for LPOTY and snuck an image into the shortlist of the British Photography Awards - nobody could have predicated this year, and although I hope for better things in 2021 I feel I can hang up the camera bag and leave the year on a high, looking back over a collection of 76 images I've taken in this unprecedented 12 months..

Wishing you & yours a very merry Christmas, no matter how that's spent - distant or together - and here's to a brighter 2021. God bless you all.