Shutter Hub member Jill Reidy is a freelance photographer and writer, living in Blackpool. She’d planning for her latest exhibition, ‘The Things We Leave Behind,’ when the coronavirus came along. Over the past 18 months, since her dad died, Jill feels her work has become much more personal and the latest events have made her look more closely within herself and come to the conclusion that a project needs to make her feel deeply – whether it’s passion, joy, laughter or the other end of the scale, sadness and despair.
This project, ‘These Are The Dark Days’ was shot on iPhone, and for Jill this reflects both an indication of her mood and of the fleetingness of her feelings during these times of lockdown and social distancing.
These are such strange times. I’m no different from many others. Some days my mood is up, I’m full of positivity and optimism; and other days my mood is low, the future dark and bleak. I noticed, on the dark days, I had no inclination to pick up my camera. I had no enthusiasm for trying out and practising the things I’d learnt online.
One morning, feeling low, I stood staring out of the kitchen window, in a miserable sort of daze. As I moved to turn on the kettle I glanced down at the bowl in the sink. The shape of the water at the bottom and the reflection of the coffee pot on the window sill had me reaching automatically for my phone and snapping. I stared at the picture for a while. The bowl was black but there were tiny pockets of light from the window. I realised it reflected my mood.
Each time I felt a bit low after that I found myself capturing an image of the bowl. I told myself how stupid this was. Other photographers were shooting beautiful images of themselves and their families in gardens and living rooms, and busy kitchens. And here was I with a washing up bowl, some greasy water and a few remaining bubbles.
One day, on a bike ride – my thinking time if I’m alone – a title came to me: These Are The Dark Days. So, as an antidote to beautiful images, here is my offering, with the poem I wrote to accompany the pictures.
These Are The Dark Days
It tiptoes in at dawn
Whispers in my sleeping ear
Sows the seeds of worry and mistrust
So that on awakening
Dark thoughts begin to settle
In a churning mind
My stomach knots
The fear is real
It hovers over me
Sneaking cheap shots
As I brush my teeth
Drink my coffee
Try to read
Slyly hinting at the doom to come
Then, as night falls
It takes one last look
Slowly slides away
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