Like many of us, the COVID-19 lockdowns in 2019 and 2020 have been a bit challenging to cope with after prolonged periods of time, being unable to travel and see new places and experiences. Of course, this is just a small sacrifice compared to those many thousands of people who have lost their lives to this awful virus.
On a personal level, what this enforced home-stay has enabled is plenty of time for self-reflection and an appreciation of the smaller, often unnoticed beauty that surrounds us everyday. It has meant more time for reading, drawing and photography or sitting and contemplating; drinking my morning coffee and just watching the moving shapes of the shadows on the wall as the sun moves across the sky. Or noticing the shafts of light that form through the tiniest of gaps… wherever there is a gap, light will pour in and, yet, there is always a shadow.
Sat there one winter morning with my coffee, I read Emily Dickinson’s poem “There’s a certain slant of light”, which started a chain of thought about how to capture those moments. Of course, through the light, Dickinson’s poem conveys the more heavy and oppressive feelings that winter can bring on and that longing for the less harsh and longer-lit days of spring and summer. This new ongoing project is about just those small moments of light and shadow, be they joyful, playful or sorrowful, and how they play on everyday subjects. It also resonates with the little gems that were her poems, largely unpublished until after her death, which for their time, were considered unconventional, as you will see from their unusual use of short lines, capitalisation and punctuation.
Beauty is in everything, even the tiniest, and to see it we need to slow down a little, just observe and live in that fleeting moment.