I don’t know about you but I’m celebrating having reached New Years Eve 2020, waiting to see in the New Year. There have been many times over the last year when I didn’t really expect to see it. To be frank after the year that’s been I wasn’t even too sure about wanting to welcome in 2021.

I’m not one for saying those immortal words about something not getting worse than it already is, as history, has shown me perfectly many times in the past, that, however bad things are then, the universe most certainly can dish out worse.

But a New Year will rock round whether you’re ready and waiting or not and there’s no stopping it. That being the case the only way forwards is to embrace it whole heartedly with all you have and give it your best shot and that’s exactly what I intend to do.

I thought I’d look back at a few projects as well as on 2020 and 2021 to come….

Creative Contagion Project

Creative Contagion Project - Canned Goods

Creative Contagion Project – Canned Goods – Early on in lockdown Laura Pearman contacted me and asked me to join the creative project she was working on.  With little else on the cards it gave me something to think about.   This topic was ‘Canned Goods’ – because of course there’d been a run on the shops.  I decided to do it a little differently and shrink some of my kit to fit inside a tin.  So this image was made up of many images, two of the kit were merged to get the right depth of field,, before being cut out carefully,  then several of the open tin and beans to also get the right depth of field then finally combining the two.  

 

Creative Contagion - Cleaning Glass

Looking forward to more creative projects and collaborations in 2021.  Creative Contagion – Cleaning Glass – 2020 For this one since I  had the use of the garden next door(now my garden) I decided to stage an eccentric take on cleaning glass, all dressed up with no where to go, complete with an eclectic colour combination in a country garden.  Again this was several takes takes merged together with a costume change in the middle.   It was great fun. The grass was too soft for heels so I thought I’d do the ‘it doesn’t matter’ option that has become popular over lockdown.

2020 threw me so very many curved balls to deal with and never a rest between them. I was just finishing some treatment for severe clinical depression and it would have been so easy to have fallen backwards into a deep hole, especially when the diary emptied overnight and I saw all my plans for the year go south.

Videos

I’ve been doing little bits of video for ages but not shared much until this year.  This year I finally started doing some video for clients and am loving every minute of it.  The lockdown and the quieter work schedule allowed plenty of time to experiment.

This one was created for the Tea Enthusiasts.  I had set off to create an image of spoonfuls of Liza’s beautiful teas when it occurred to me that it would make a really pretty and eye catching stop motion video … 

This one was created for Geordie Gin while shooting some garden party shots of their gin.  The weather wasn’t in my favour very much as it was hugely windy and once or twice different items had to be rescued.  But it finally came together like a plan.  These take careful preparation as otherwise you have to start over.

However, I held on tightly to what I’d been taught and decided I wasn’t going back there. Its been hard at times and I have faltered along the way but I’ve kept picking myself up, worked hard at being nicer to me than I’ve ever done and slowly, slowly I’ve made my way through.

I’ve gone out of my way to look for good things even when all around is black, which I’m sure will have put some folks back right up. But I’m not sorry because that’s how I coped, and if this helps someone else cope then I’ll have done something good, and if you don’t like it, well you didn’t have to read it!

Goat Burgers from The Goat Company

2020 brought me a number of new clients, and I can’t wait to get going with 2021. Goat Burger Stack with fresh goat mince from The Goat Company, served in a Brioche bun, with lettuce, mayo, cheese, bacon, tomato and gherkin with a basket of chips and a glass of lager. Photography and styling – Sue Todd Photography.

There were many black moments: When losing a loved one to Covid and not being able to say goodbye or to attend the funeral, having to move in lockdown while shielding (an experience I’ll not forget in a hurry), my OH’s illness coming out of remission, my little dog dying, weeks without a car as the garage was shut, and the list goes on.

Off I went searching for good things however small. I was so grateful for that fabulous weather early in the year, the light and sunshine really lifted me and I took great joy listening to the birdsong, looking at the blue skies and soaking in the warmth. Looking for all the simple things as that’s all there really was. It’s become a habit and one I’m not going to let go off. Every day I note the things I’m grateful for and look for wins however trivial. If tidying the desk was all I achieved that day, then that was my win and it was way better than a messy desk. It was that outlook that kept me going, that and knowing that the alternative wasn’t something I could accept any longer.

When my OH fell sick just as I was looking to take on my lovely new studio I was absolutely torn apart. Do I do it or do I not? How could I possibly balance everything if he got really sick again? Was I taking too much on? Making a rod to beat myself up with? Or just being plain stupid for even contemplating it? I almost got bogged down by indecision, but again I looked to the simple things, the bottle that let hypermobile often useless fingers open it while trying to cook, the sudden shaft of beautiful light that brought such joy, and little by little it all fell into place.

My OH is hopefully back in remission – fingers crossed he stays there this time but I’m grateful for all the years we’ve had so far while it was safely there. I have my lovely studio and hopefully in 2021 the world will come to life again, people will get back to work, the virus will fade into the background and we’ll all blossom and grow.

Now that may be a rosy eyed view and the alternative may be starkly different, but which view would you like to live with? I know which one I’m holding onto and working towards.

Merlot Canned Wine from The Copper Crew

Merlot Canned Wine from The Copper Crew – one of my favourite projects from 2020 which has provided so many ideas for 2021.

I’ve worked with some fabulous people over the year, a good number of whom I’ve never met in person, but who found me via LinkedIn where I’ve enjoyed the support of a fabulous bunch of folks. I’ve been busy planning goals, and getting the studio ready for major action in 2021, I’m so excited to see that we now have vaccines, that while we are holed up a bit longer there’s light at the end of the tunnel and all those businesses who like hospitality have suffered may once again be able to open their doors again. I have my fabulous studio and I can’t wait to get going this coming year!

No matter where you are and no matter how awful this year has been for you I hope that 2021 is a fabulous year for you, filled with health, cheer, laughter and everything you need. I hope your business/career thrives and life takes on new meaning. Wishing you a fabulously Happy New Year.