Doorstep photographs capture an unusual time
During the forced isolation of Covid-19 photographer Amanda Temple started to get really bored.
Normally this time of the year is pretty quiet for her, but she still shoots around 15 portraits a week and a couple of weddings.
“I am missing the photography terribly,” she said. “Most of my regular clients are visitors, so unfortunately all the portraits and weddings I had scheduled up until July have been cancelled.”
Then she had a flash of inspiration.
“I saw some images online of homebound families on their doorsteps,” she said. “The photos reminded me of the time I spent photographing Bermuda residents for my book.”
She published Tapestry of Tales, a collection of portraits of people in their homes, in 2017.
So last week she launched a doorstep photo project.
She drove around to people she knew, and standing at a safe distance, took photos of people on their doorstep.
“I think we can all agree that the silver lining in all of this is the time we are spending with our loved ones — particularly in our pjs,” Ms Temple said. “I thought it would be fun to resume the series of portraits of people at home and offer quick sessions for families on their doorsteps.”
She managed to do about 13 shoots before Bermuda went into full lockdown on Saturday.
“The families have all said they really enjoyed the quick shoot,” she said. “For one family, it was the first day they had been together as their son had been in quarantine. And those with small children shared that it was a wonderful break for their children to get outside and be silly.”
The sessions were challenging for her because she is normally quite fussy about the conditions she shoots in.
“I normally have more control over finding the most beautiful light and I also love to shoot close up,” she said. “But these doorstep photos are purely a way to have a little fun in a time that is difficult for all of us.”
The doorsteps photos were all prearranged, and done with people she knew.
“I invited them to wear whatever they liked,” she said. “I wanted them to have fun with props and outfits. It has been wonderful to see people — even at a distance. I really wanted to make it fun for the children, and there is no pressure to look one’s best as their normally would be for a portrait session.”
The method she chose was closely based on the one she used for Tapestry of Tales. For that book, she wandered around almost every weekend from June 2015 to October 2016.
“I knew some of the people in the book, and some I did arrange ahead of time,” she said. “In that book, out of 81 houses I visited, 75 people let me in.”
Her plan right now is just to give the photos to the subjects as a keepsake.
“I don’t think I will share them,” she said. “Maybe I will put a few on my blog or instagram.”
Driving around before the lockdown, she was surprised to see how much traffic there was on the roads.
“I was also surprised by how long the lines were at the grocery stores,” she said.
In the meantime, she plans to use her free time to paint and maintain her vegetable garden.
“I feel like troubling times make us appreciate our loved ones more,” Ms Temple said. “I hope that these portraits will not commemorate the reason for our isolation, but will be a way to cherish the time we are spending together.”
When the shelter in place order is lifted, she would love to continue the doorstep series. For more information e-mail email@example.com or visit amandatemple.com
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