During the first lockdown in the spring of 2020 I was fairly prolific in my image creation. I usually find photography helps me deal with negative events and is a way of channelling my emotions. However, this year has been one of the toughest I’ve ever had to deal with as my Mum has been extremely poorly following a fall back in February. At one stage she was given a week to live and although she miraculously rallied and is still with us she is bedridden and in need of continuous care which is being provided at home. As my Dad has dementia and I am their main carer it’s been an incredibly stressful year, not least because of the ongoing pandemic and the fact that I myself am clinically vulnerable. If I were to get Covid there is a real chance that I might die, yet I’m unable to have the vaccine due to a rare immune disorder and a history of having anaphylaxis to vaccinations so the jab also poses a significant risk to my life. Rock v hard place.
As mask wearing and social distancing have been abandoned and Covid infection rates have sky rocketed (in August, the neighbour to my left had Covid, the neighbour to my right had Covid and the neighbour behind had Covid, despite all being double vaxed) I’m terrified to step outside my front door. I haven’t had anyone inside my house, or attended a public social event such as going to a cafe, for 20 months now and am basically imprisoned, alone, at home with no end in sight. The pervasive rhetoric that people who are unvaccinated deserve to get Covid and die doesn’t help.
I have only taken 2 photographs all year. Although I usually use photography as a coping mechanism it appears that I have a stress threshold over which my creativity vamooses. I’ve had various ideas for pictures floating across my mind, but can’t motivate myself to get started and when I have attempted a picture nothing had gone right and the image has been abandoned.
I’m going through a massive imposter syndrome phase. My daily silent mantra is that I’m a useless photographer who will never produce another decent image as long as I live and that all the awards and success I’ve previously achieved were a fluke.
In the absence of new photographs, I had a trawl through long abandoned pictures kept on my laptop and came across myself dressed as a Scarecrow from way back in 2017. I have no idea what possessed me to stuff my clothes with itchy straw and dangle myself from a wooden pole but having gone to the trouble I thought I should at least attempt to do something with the resulting image. So here we have it, a picture I’m calling ‘Bad Day At The Office’. It resonates with me at how useless a member of society I currently feel I am.