Compiling my 2020 portrait photography highlights has made me feel happy this week. This week has been intense, hasn’t it? I’ve made the resolution to just do whatever I can to feel happy and comfortable this lockdown. If that’s staying in bed a bit longer than usual, I’m doing it. If it’s going out for a massive walk and getting muddy, I’m doing it. So far, it seems to be helping.
My year in portraits is a celebration of connection and creative energy. I have worked with so many brilliant people this year, and have made some wonderful new friends along the way. All this in a year when we were told to stay home for quite a lot of it. What you’ll see below is a colourful collection of the brilliant people 2020 brought into my world. Some virtually and some in person, but all with impact.
The Wilderness Months
The first lockdown seems like it was about 5 years ago now, I’m trying to remember how it felt. A lot different to how it feels right now, that much I do know. It all felt a bit novel back then, I was optimistic that it would only be for a few months, and we would all be back to hugging each other properly. I was slightly wrong, but I’m still trying to remain optimistic. Without this weird year I wouldn’t have experienced a lot of new things. I was introduced to so many people all over the world via virtual photography. I became obsessed with growing tomatoes and picking fruit. I agreed with Piers Morgan on several occasions (I’m slightly ashamed of this, consider it a confession). I began learning to play the piano. I got creative with pens and paper again. The list goes on.
A few self portraits and a Polaroid a Day were a couple of things that kept me busy during those months, but the majority of my work focussed on the other side of the Ledwith/ Stoney bubble; Mark. This glorious soul is the person I’ve spent pretty much every day with this past year. Even on the shittest of days we laughed, or make up silly songs at the piano. He’s the person I’ve photographed the most in 2020, and thankfully he is always willing to do anything creative. “Are you ok to get in the bath with some flowers whilst I precariously put a video light in the bathroom?” “Sure”. “Can you stick your head in this box of cotton wool clouds please?” “Of course”. “I’m going to take a few Polaroids of you, then cover them in dots” “Go for it”. A huge amount of love and thanks to you Mark for making 2020 a whole lot brighter for me. You have been my biggest creative inspiration, as well as my favourite person to be locked down with. 2021 is going to be quite the year for him with the release of some new music. My excitement levels are ridiculously high, I can’t wait for you folks to hear his beautiful work. This was his review of my homegrown tomatoes though: “They’re a bit hairy and tasteless, but I quite like them”. That cut deep after SO many weeks obsessing over them.
Sweet Jesus, I have photographed some absolute powerhouses this year. So many of the people I work with say they don’t feel that comfortable in front of the camera, but what I see through the camera tells me a totally different story. The kind of story that makes me squeal with excitement as I see their personalities flow from them. 2020 was definitely the year of the the powerful womxn. Each one inspiring me to capture their light.
Sheffield Portrait Photographer
Portraits have saved me in 2020, and not just financially. Thanks to Boris and the crew, I was left to fend for myself last year. Portraits have always been a part of my work that I’ve loved, but haven’t fully invested time in. This year I got to invest so much more time, commitment, and creativity (the best I could during a year of lockdowns), and I feel very grateful I got to do this. I always try to make my work show someone in their own authentic glory, and I’ll continue to work on that in 2021.
The Year Ahead
Right now as I sit here, there are some projects bubbling away in the background that I’m really excited about. Hopefully 2021 will bring back the parts of our lives we’re all missing right now, I have everything crossed that it will. For now, virtual photoshoots will continue (please get in touch if you fancy a surreal but brilliant experience with me), our bubble will stay a creative and joyful space, I’ll try my damn best to stay positive, but won’t be hard on myself with days that aren’t so great. To everyone I have photographed this year, thank you OH SO much. Huge thanks to everyone that has supported my little business this year, I made it through my 10th year… just!! Sending love to you all x