2020 you absolute arse
To say 2020 was a difficult year is the understatement of the century. It affected so many people in so many different ways, some in ways that were truly horrifying.
For us as a business, 2020 presented the toughest of times. Constant stop/start work. Weddings cancelled or postponed.
Lets try to look at the positives though. Starting, as so many years do, with January.
January is always a quiet month for us. With the busiest of times over Christmas in the rear view mirror, it often becomes about refreshing the business and catching up with/planning projects. January 2020 included a few blog write ups, a few shoots and a wedding fair at Bannatynes Hotel.
One shoot that stuck out for me during this time was this one you can see to the left, I'm very much a dog person. So two German Shepard pups in my studio was a real joy!
Ah February, the most normal month of 2020. I had the joy of photographing four weddings through Feb in what was meant to be the start of a busy year for nuptials. Rachael & Gary at Goodwood House, Beth & Adam at Battle Abbey (right) Mollie & Sam in Winchester and Gareth & Victoria at Crowhurst Park. Four awesome days, all so different.
We also put on the first of our annual, seasonal mini sessions, this time for valentines day.
With rumblings of something unfolding overseas that still seemed so far away, we moved on into March. With various shoots, including our Mothers Day seasonal mini sessions. I also was part of an amazing team that put together a styled shoot at The Old Rectory in Hastings on March 12th, it was an amazing day and I have a lot of love for the resulting photos. You can read more about the shoot and see lots more of the images HERE.
We chatted on that day about the virus, and how we all thought it would go when it arrived in the UK. Well, just four days later, we had the first cancellations of weddings filtering through. and eight days after that, lockdown. A dark day for so many businesses including all those in the wedding industry.
Two days before the first lockdown, I ended up shooting Sam & Doug's wedding at Eastbourne Town Hall. Originally planned for April and to be much bigger, these two managed to move sooner with just their parents in attendance. I myself had to shoot the whole ceremony from outside the door, which was a completely surreal experience.
The month where I probably felt the most lost. With lots of people now getting in touch to cancel or postpone weddings, our studio closed indefinitely, and no end in sight. It was lovely though to enjoy this time with my family, especially my daughter Juniper who only arrived at the end of December 2019.
I took to my own personal instagram and indulged in another one of my passions. Cooking. Recording myself making meals on my phone camera. It's something I absolutely loved doing and am still doing when I have the time. You can even view one of those videos below! If you've come here for chicken pie recipes haha.
Having spent a month and a bit indulging in family time and cooking my way through booking cancellations. It started to become clear that life wasn't going to be returning to normal anytime soon. My Wife in her infinite wisdom suggested doorstep photography, little did I know where that would lead to as the year went on.
So, towards the end of May and into June, doorstep photography morphed into a whole different beast! With the help of local councillors in Battle, I started to photograph businesses, people of interest and volunteers, as well as regular families and so the 'This is Our Battle' project was born! The project that took over my year.
Lots of gardening, cooking, walks in the countryside near our house and family time. I love this shot I took of my son Jasper out walking in the fields.
We tentatively opened up the studio again for limited sessions, which felt like such a step in the right direction.
I also loved the shoot you see below. An engagement shoot for two friends of mine who's wedding should have taken place in November this year. In the end it couldn't go ahead due to restrictions. Another couple out of so many that have had to put everything on hold this year.
August saw a welcome return to some weddings. With another four taking place. Amy & Jamie in Crowborough, Adam & Nadine at St Ethelbergers Church in Hastings. Kerry & Geoff at Cooden Beach and Emily & Adrien at The View Hotel, Eastbourne. The latter two being full days! It was so lovely to be a part of weddings again after months off. Yes, it was all very different still, but it felt like such a privilege.
I also managed to get back in to the studio for our seasonal back to school mini sessions, as well as newborn shoots and family sessions.
It was also a joy to get out and about for some interesting shoots on location, with a shoot over in Kent on an apple farm, photographing, excitingly, plug sockets! I also hit the beach, a shoot for a business headshot session.
The culmination of months of work led all the way up to what you see here. My own exhibition! Something I never thought would happen. From 12th September to 3rd October the 'This is Our Battle' exhibition took over Battle town. We had an an exhibition space on the Abbey Green with these awesome, big, wooden pillars built by my Brother-in-law Eden. Then photos in windows all through the high-street. All open air and well distanced to keep it as safe as possible. I was also interviewed for BBC Radio Sussex and we appeared in lots of local press articles.
The event wouldn't have been possible without the hard work of so many people and the generosity of local sponsors. It became a show of positivity in a time of crisis and I cant thank everyone enough who was involved.
You can read more about the exhibition HERE
Autumn and Halloween seasonal mini sessions are one of our more popular sessions, so getting to actually put them on this year was a joy and something we had no idea if we were going to be able to do.
We re-thought our sets/backdrops to make things more Covid secure. Gone were the leaves to throw and the pumpkins to hold, and we concentrated more on the visual of the backdrops. Pleased to say everyone loved the new setups.
I also shot another wedding at the end of October, for Kylie & Steve, my 9th and final one of 2020. Considering we had over 40 planned for originally, it's sad to look back on that stat and think about 2020.
With things starting to feel like they were getting back to somewhat normal again, lockdown strikes again. This one was particularly stressful, my lovely Wife had an operation at the beginning of the month, so looking after her and the children was obviously priority one. Clients we had booked in November for Autumn and Christmas mini sessions, plus a few other shoots too had to be moved to December.
So lots of lazy days and walks in the countryside were what kept us going. Along with putting the finishing touches to something I had been working on for months!
The lead up to Christmas felt like a real slice of normality at the end of a strange and turbulent year. With the end of November lockdown came an incredibly busy month of Christmas mini sessions. 116 shoots were booked in, some of which did cancel due to requests to isolate, illness or other reasons. However we still knocked out over 100 shoots in the space of a month! Absolute madness!
December 2020 also brought about something I didn't ever think I would achieve. My own book! About the project and exhibition I worked on for most of the year. Part of the initial project, was collecting the stories of peoples lockdown via questionnaire. Then an amazing lady by the name of Alison Solmani, helped me adapt the stories into book form. I know Alison from photographing her wedding a couple of years ago, and her expertise as a former journalist made this project better than I had ever hoped.
To order a copy of the book, just drop us an email.
My daughter Juniper also turned one on the 20th December. The brightest part of 2020, this beautiful, characterful little girl growing up before our eyes in our safe little nest. She will never remember it I am sure, but what a strange first year to be alive. Thank you all for taking the time to read thing long, rambling blog post. We here at DB Photography Sussex wish you all a happy, safe and healthy 2021. Much love.