Essential

With things the way they are it has affected everything about our lives. It dictates the places you could go, the things you could do, and took away many of the things that people enjoyed. We were forced to adapt, and in order to continue with things we loved we had to find new ways to do them.

For photographers we had to get creative, more than usual. Many had begun to photograph around the house, revisit old photos and bring a new life to them, and even use FaceTime to take portraits. I, like many others, used my daily exercise to take photos and being limited to my local area wasn’t a problem.

I had recently been using my camera to discover my local area (more on that soon!) and inspired by the news I had an idea for a theme. With a few locations in mind I gradually added them into my daily route and over the next few weeks managed to visit them all.

I wanted to try and capture the emptiness that we don’t see everyday. With a shopping culture that is pretty much 24/7, or as close to it as it can be, we don’t see shops closed and car parks empty. The impacts of a lockdown had huge repercussions, especially through the retail and hospitality industry.

When lockdown was introduced in the UK there was speculation and discussion over what an “essential” service was and some stores argued the right to stay open. Over time some places were able to introduce social distancing procedures that allowed them to protect their employees and customers and began to reopen. Others weren’t able to even though at first they had tried.

One place that became important to the project was the old parchment makers in Havant. Since it was on a busy road as well as the high street it has been difficult to capture it with as little car and foot traffic as possible. Havant was once the location for a parchment makers known for its high quality white paper, the ground floor of the current building is now occupied by a Weatherspoon’s.

Each of these images represents a different aspect of how social distancing and lockdown has impacted various retail and hospitality businesses. Once normality returns I believe it will happen quite quickly. It will be these images and others like it that remind us of what life was like.

Further reading:

Each month I am creating a limited print, or in this case, a print series. These are usually shot on film and will be limited in number only available for that month. This months feature is my Essential Series.

A great project I have been following from another photographer is Matt Day’s Social Distancing book.

Sibelius Monument

Jean Sibelius was born in 1865 and was a composer of classical music, his music is often credited with giving Finland a national identity as they struggled for independence from Russia. Sibelius’s image was on the 100 mark note before Finland adopted the euro and his national day is celebrated on his birthday, December 8th.

The Sibelius Monument was inaugurated in 1967 and since then has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in Helsinki. The monument is 8.5 meters high and 10.5 meters wide with 600 metal pipes making up its vast size. The monument also contains a likeness of Sibelius seen on the right.

During the summer the monument is crowded with tourists posing next to the metal pipes and even putting their heads inside. Another popular photograph is to take one pointed up to the sky through the pipes. On this autumn day the area was empty except for a lone woman sitting on a bench just out of frame to the left.

Sculpture of Helsinki #16

Autumn in Helsinki

You can find almost 500 outdoor sculptures, pieces of environmental art and historical monuments in Helsinki and they are accessible to everyone. See more and search through the database at HAMhelsinki.fi.

Seurasaari

Seurasaari

Seurasaari is a small island close to the Helsinki city center and serves as an open air museum. You are only allowed to enter the island by foot and once there you can enjoy the natural surroundings. Throughout the island there are different buildings which have been brought from all over Finland to show how local life was in those areas.

Not only are there older buildings but there are also more modern ones like this wilderness church hidden away on the south coast of the island.

Seurasaari

Photo Challenge: Local