I was hoping that focusing on what was WITHIN these walls would help take my attention away from their limitations. Instead, I made a conscious effort to focus and notice the beauty.
In early 2020, before Covid and the first lockdown, I started photographing our back garden from the exact same angle and composition.
Back then, the goal for me was to capture the passing of time and the changes that would take place as the months went by. We had buried some new flower bulbs in the soil that winter and my focus was very much to show the growth of nature. How things look the same and yet are very different.
The underlying goal for me was also to start appreciating our small city garden. Growing up in the French countryside, I did find the restricted view quite challenging at times. It did feel somewhat like being locked, constrained, limited. The walls being grey didn’t help!
I was hoping that focusing on what was WITHIN these walls would help take my attention away from their limitations. Instead, I made a conscious effort to focus and notice the beauty. Most of the beauty of nature is so small that you can hardly see it with the naked eye. You need to look closely. Actually, properly look.
Little did I know that a few weeks later, we would spending so much time at home and in the garden. And I can safely say that it has felt like a wonderful space all year. A precious space. A safe haven.
We learnt about birds. Watched and listened. And the flowers, the buds, the vegetables. Weeks after weeks, the photos helped me see the range of colours and light and I got really excited about photographing it.
A lot of the photographs I took only portrayed the empty garden at first. Then, from the day we cleaned the patio onwards, I started to pick up the camera when action took place.
The project took a new direction and became about capturing our family life and the changes WE went through in that space too.
My daughter is a big part of it, of course. She’s the one changing the fastest. And being able to see her go through her wardrobe, do her favourite things is fascinating to me. It is fascinating because 6 or 12 months later, she has changed a lot, and in 2 years time, she will be a different person.
So yes. These photographs are magic to me.
There were days when I took 3 photographs at a minutes interval and they look ENTIRELY different.
The project is still going. I’ve recently captured a handful of self-portraits too, because I was entirely missing from the collection.
There are now many many many unsorted photos, I need to go through.
My first idea was to get a book printed, but what I’d love most is being able to pick two random images, put them side by side to compare them. And repeat.
The beauty of this project will come from the freedom of reordering the images. Small prints you can pick up and examine in details.
I’m not entirely sure if anyone else but me would be interested in this? Would you? And if you do, will you let me know?
Here is a small collection of the images I took which won me a This Is Reportage: Family Story Award in Collection 3 in 2020.
I have since captured the same exact view in winter, with naked trees and snow…
Interested in seeing another personal project on nature?
Check out my first self-published Photobook: Balance. On sale right here, on this website.
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