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Home Safety

Lockdown 2021 feels so different to the one last spring. Obviously I haven’t been out much, so I could be wrong, but there is a general sense this time that people are just resigned to it and getting on with it. I’m not seeing the rainbows or the teddies in the windows; and clap for carers is a bit of a damp squib (which I find totally understandable, as it became politicised and tired. Even the person who initiated it won’t participate this time around).

On social media there is a distinct lack of quirky lockdown memes trying to keep our spirits up, and even the advertising seems to have changed – no more romanticising how we’re all in this together and trying to outcompete each other on the Coronavirus caring stakes. Instead we’re seeing lots of adverts for nurses and teachers (hmm, can’t think why……), and some quite amusing ones too, as if humour is allowed again. Oh and a lot for property sites, which I guess is a reflection of the stamp duty holiday, and for home delivery. Who doesn’t love the ‘Just Eat’ advert with Snoop Dog doing the catchiest jingle since ‘Do the shake and vac and put the freshness back’? I think that, and the ComparetheMeerkat adverts, are just about getting me through lockdown.

Well, I’m digressing, but I do think that this has been a fascinating period for social history, and it is interesting to see how fashions quickly change, even in terms of the perceived acceptable public response to a pandemic. I guess, one year on from when we first started hearing about that ‘Novel Coronavirus’ in Wuhan and wondering what it has to do with us, living with the virus is now the new norm.

So, maybe today’s picture, which was taken in Ramsgate incidentally, looks suitably nostalgic. It harks back to that time, way back in 2020, when war was declared on a virus and we all pulled together to help defeat it, with that misguided belief that it could all be over by Christmas….

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Rainbow Umbrellas

It’s been a miserable couple of weather days in the UK, so I thought I’d cheer folks up with a picture of some colourful umbrellas. It was taken in Paris, back in the days when I could jump on a Eurostar train there on a whim. Oh how I miss Paris! On fine days I can see France tantalisingly on the horizon from Kent – it’s so near and yet so far!

Oh well, these rainy, lockdown days are incentive to stay in and catalogue my photographs- so you may be seeing more Paris pictures soon. If they look a bit blurred don’t blame it on the focus – it’s just my tears as I yearn for my favourite European city!

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Extreme Social Distancing

This picture may look like it was posed but I promise you it wasn’t. It’s just two people outdoors doing their thing during lockdown 3.

The feeling of solitude and sense of possible loneliness reminds me slightly of Hopper paintings. But there is also a sense of defiance – these two are owning Lockdown 3 and are not going to be beaten by it. Well, they did have a fantastic vantage point of what turned out to be a stunning sunset – so I’d say it’s 2-0 to the girl in the red hat and the guy in the yellow coat vs Covid 19.

I just want to know when they will drop the album….

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Parakeet

This morning I spotted some cheeky parakeets from my back window. They were happily chattering away and preening themselves, seemingly without a care in the world. It was a lovely sight, which makes me all the more sad to hear that the government is considering culling these birds.

It appears that in the last decade parakeets have spread out from London and are becoming an ever-growing threat to native wildlife – the grey squirrel of the skies, so to speak.

The good news is that Jimi Hendrix has finally been cleared of blame for introducing them to London in the first place, when he released a pair in Carnaby Street back in the sixties. It turns out that they have been spotted in London skies as far back as the 1800s. It’s nice idea though, that his presence lives on through more ways than his music – and somewhat apt, as they have a flamboyant appearance and like to make a lot of noise.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Coastal Zen

Just a little moment of coastal tranquility – a seagull perched on a coastal marker with a ship anchored in the distance. Calm, turquoise waters, a pastel blue sky and a gentle reflection. That is all.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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A Moment

One thing that surprises me when I am out and about with my camera is that, in spite of the cold and the lack of places offering respite from it, I don’t see many miserable people, not even the kids. Maybe when they’re at home it’s a different story, but I haven’t seen any tantrums on the beach, even when it has been bitterly cold or blowing a gale.

I remember when the pandemic first happened I would say “I can handle this; it’s the second wave in winter that I’m dreading”. But so far it isn’t as bad as I had feared. And maybe I’m not the only person feeling that way. Whether it’s parents spending quality time with their kids, or solitary people just being still and embracing nature, there’s a sense that we’re all pressing pause again for a while, and that that isn’t such a bad thing.

I love this image of a mother and child just quietly watching the breaking waves together. It’s a tender moment of peace, comfort and togetherness. I like to think that both will look back on times like these with fondness.

Perhaps not everyone is having such a good lockdown. Apparently the sea reduces anxiety and brings a sense of calm, so people who live by the sea are generally happier, even if their standard of living may be lower. I do feel blessed to live close to the ‘blue pill’ that is helping me not just to get through this, but to embrace parts of it even. Us coastal folks may generally live in areas of deprivation but it seems that, during a time of lockdown, we are rich.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Morning seagull

I spotted this seagull outside of my window this morning. It was to the side of me so I couldn’t quite get all of him in the frame. But there’s something about the colours, with his eye seemingly reflecting the colour of the moss, and also his lovely webbed foot, that I loved. So I’ve featured him anyhow. Besides, sometimes less is more.

This is one of those pictures when the grey sky works, creating a gentle, harmonious backdrop to the vivid moss, and to the soft colours of the gull. Winter photography can be great.

People often confuse my photos with paintings. I’ve a feeling this is going to be one of those images.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here

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Point of Interest

I started out as a street photographer, but I haven’t done much of that in recent years. This daily print project is allowing me to embrace an aspect of photography that I love again.

I couldn’t help but smile when I saw this lady purposefully park her pram and whip out her phone. I naturally assumed she was going to photograph one of Margate’s icons, the Lido, as I had just been doing. But no, it appears she is photographing the baby, oblivious of what is in the background. Which is totally understandable because I’m sure it’s very cute – but it just seems to put Margate in its place all the same. It was like the clock had been turned back and the Lido was just a forlorn reminder of what Margate had lost, not of what it had gained. I hope it isn’t a premonition of times to come.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here.

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Turner Reflection

This was taken today at sunset. I was taking the usual pictures looking out to sea and then turned around and noticed how interesting the Turner Contemporary windows were looking, reflecting the light. I couldn’t help wondering if it had been designed that way all along, or if it was just a coincidence that as the windows age they are becoming like a Turner painting, in the right light. I’m sure the architects will be happy about it anyhow.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here.

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Life

Life. It’s what this pandemic, and all the measures to fight it are about. Ending life vs preserving it. Fighting for our lives; mourning lives lost. Limiting our own lives so that someone else may live.

Over 1,000 Covid deaths were recorded today, in the UK alone. And how many more were lost through delayed hospital treatment, or fear of going to hospital? How many lives are slowly ebbing away through loneliness, and a sense that life isn’t really worth living anymore?

We now understand the fragility of things we have taken for granted – even our ability to breathe hangs in the balance. Are we going to be lucky when the virus strikes? Or are our cards numbered?

Life for us is frozen, and yet it thrives. Nature is testiment to that. And as we suddenly marvel at the natural world, now that the noise has been turned down again, we begin to question our own existence.

Maybe it is good to pause a while. Everyone needs to be put in their place when they get above themselves. We are not invincible. Let us remember that. But still, let us fight for every breath for everyone. By just doing nothing.

This image forms part of my Daily Print series, and is available to buy here.