I am a 45 year old British-Canadian photographer, and a digital nomad. Over the last year I have documented the pandemic, mostly from the back of my campervan 'Juno', whilst travelling safely in line with local lockdown restrictions. This series of photos comes from Grounded, my recently released photobook published with ADM Publishing.
During the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020, many people's perceived sense of home - of being 'grounded' - disappeared, overnight. Suddenly we found ourselves in a dystopian dream world, a world where our bedrooms became our offices, without boundaries or definition, where much yearned for social connection played out on a flat digital screen, and where touch became forbidden. From all of these feelings and perceptions, this series was born. Grounded begins with a self portrait I took, in late February 2020, as a digital nomad working and travelling in India. At the time I was distracted by the situation, weighing up my travel options with Covid-19 rapidly spreading like an advancing army. I cancelled my trips for the remainder of the year, and made it back to the UK in March on one of the last commercial flights, just as the EU closed its borders. From April, I set about documenting my home town of Bristol as I'd never seen it before... eerily quiet, an extended snow day, a place where even children's play equipment had become forbidden and tainted. Like millions of others, I struggled. We were told that being safe meant cocooning at home, yet there was a sense that our homes had become alien to us, that he safe backdrop to our lives had irrevocably shifted. If we went outside, we were ordered to keep moving. Focus became impossible, days seeped into nights, and sleeplessness soared. As lockdown and travel restrictions eased, I had an overwhelming urge to move - in the hopeless pursuit of becoming more grounded. So I bought a cute, self-contained campervan called Juno, and set off to France with high spirited expectations of a summer of freedom. The trip was immensely challenging, despite my enthusiasm. I encountered an out-of-season, out-of-time atmosphere that haunted every landscape. I found myself in unusual situations I'd never encountered before. My photography evolved in ways I did not expect, and I used self portraits to tell this narrative. Eventually after almost 6 months, I left and returned home on one of the last ferries before Britain left the EU. I had come full circle - back home, yet still not quite grounded. I have come to live with the feeling now, and to be more at peace with it. I know it will lift, and go, just as soon as the pandemic eases. And then we will all be left wondering, and shaking our heads in disbelief. Did I just dream that? What was all that about? What happened to me there, exactly?
Grounded is presented as a special boxed book with a signed 10x8" print. Available exclusively from www.artdecomagpie.com (ADM Publishing).