This image was taken at the beginning of the pandemic, during the first lockdown. I had managed to order a garden swing only days before the whole country ground to a halt, and it kept us all sane for the next three months. My kids – almost three and almost seven at that time – were using it daily and it provided us all with a much-needed respite from the failures of home-schooling and just being stuck in our four walls.
At the beginning of the lockdown, I sat and wrote down some priorities for myself:
– Look after our mental health and wellbeing.
– Strengthen my relationship with the kids.
– Concentrate on photography.
The last thing was very important to me as my job – the job I love so much – got cancelled without any notice. So I set off documenting our life in lockdown (as I know many other photographers did). My kids soon figured out that I will do a lot and sacrifice a lot to get a good shot and that if they play their cards right, they will be able to get away with much more than usual. They would ask me: “Mummy, can we get naked and play with the hose in the garden? You can come with us and take your camera!”. It was March, 8 degrees C. I said yes!
On that particular day my goal was to get a dynamic picture of their swinging antics. I wanted to get quite a lot of blur so I used panning – I followed the swing movement with my camera. I was using my Canon 5D MK III with a 24-70 mm lens (at 38mm). The settings were: ISO 200, f 13, 1/30th sec.
It took quite a few tries, and a degree of luck, to get the final result. I have since then upgraded my camera to Canon R5 and, with the eye-tracking focus, it would probably be much easier to get a shot like this!
I turned the image to B&W – I love B&W, it’s my go-to for family documentary photos. I also wanted to make the image a bit more dramatic and get rid of the distracting orange jackets.
This picture became a symbol of the pandemic for me. Or maybe not so much the pandemic, but our resilience in the face of it. How, in the midst of darkness, chaos and constant flux, we can find stillness and joy.
The home-schooling wasn’t a complete failure in our house after all – my children managed to teach me something!
The image is now on our wall (150 cm wide!), a daily reminder of what’s important in my life.
Camera: Canon 5D MK III
Settings: ISO 200, f 13, 1/30th sec