When we were instructed to stay at home from mid-March and commence ‘social distancing’, I started working from home every day. Exercise close to home was encouraged. Every afternoon I went for a walk to get out of the house, and would take a film camera with me each time.
About a week in, I walked past some local shops, and discovered that they were all displaying signs and messages about the current situation. I started to photograph them, and other notable changes like the crazily cheap petrol, as a way of remembering this unique period.
The images in this series were never destined to be ‘perfect’ – not perfectly focused or perfectly exposed or perfectly composed. The reason for this is that the films cameras I was taking with me each day are all old untested cameras from my antique collection, or were taken with cameras I use often, but taken with old expired film. This was a great chance to test the cameras out to see whether they still work, and discover what film it actually was that came in a bulk film loader I bought last year.
Two of the cameras I tested required ‘guessing’ the focus by distance, making it rather difficult to know whether the signage I was photographing was going to be legible.
After about two weeks of photographing the signs, I started to realise that this would make a good book, something to look back on in future as a reminder of what it was like during this time period.
I designed the book using Adobe Indesign, and had it printed through Blurb.
Given we have just gone back into stage-3 lockdown here in Melbourne, I may do a part 2 and again start taking photographs of how the lockdown has impacted on the local area over the coming weeks.
About Madeline Bowser
I've been photographing with film for what seems like forever ... well since the late 90's. I shoot both film and digital, but film is where my heart is and I get the most ongoing enjoyment from and what I enjoy sharing and teaching to others. I also travel the world hunting down old cameras and unique locations to photograph in, and exhibit and sell my travel photographs.
When out shooting film, I often get asked the questions 'can you still buy film?', 'I thought film stopped being made 10 years ago' and 'why would you want to shoot film when you can shoot digital'.
My answers are, 'yes', 'no, it didn't', and 'I also shoot digital, both have their place in my mind'.
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All images remain the property of Madeline Bowser and may not be used without permission.