Our COVID-19 Case Studies explore the different ways the photographic community is working and staying connected through the pandemic. If you would like to submit a Case Study get in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
My name is Harry Pseftoudis and I am food and events photographer based in London. I started out shooting portrait and editorial but after many years of working in events and due to my love of food I made the decision to switch. I now work closely with event companies, caterers, corporate and private clients to create wonderful images that capture the special moments of weddings, the atmosphere at events or mouth-watering pictures of food.
How are you adapting your work during the pandemic?
To be honest I don’t think there was much I could do about adapting. As much of my work is centred around gatherings of people it made it really hard to do any work. I went away to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro and by the time I returned mid March all of my work had been completely wiped out. Live events have really suffered over the last year and not only for me but the clients I work with, who are all in industries such as catering, production, entertainment, equipment hire and staffing agencies. The effects were a lot more far reaching than was first thought.
Some of my clients moved into the virtual event game and supplied their guests with at home hampers. These were great to photograph and it gave us some hope that things would improve a lot sooner than expected.
How are you coping?
At first I was very worried about how the rest of the year would pan out. With no work coming in and obviously having to pay bills, rent, and put food on the table, the government came through with self employed grant scheme. This really helped but was only just enough to survive on. The lovely weather helped but it was tough going from a million miles an hour to stand still.
I think Lockdown 3 was the toughest one for me, having thought that the new year might bring a very quick change in circumstances. I am fortunate that I have a great circle of friends as well as colleagues. Their support was immeasurable. Things seem to be looking up now and there is a positivity that has given me a bit of hope and something to focus on.
Has the new context inspired you to try anything innovative that you haven’t tried before? If so, what?
During the first lockdown I noticed that there were some photographers shooting door step portraits. It was great to see that people were trying new things and adapting to the situation. My son’s mother suggested I try these; however I wasn’t very interested and I didn’t feel it was my style. The more I thought about it, an idea came to involve people in the events industry. I was actually taken back at how responsive my clients and colleagues were to being photographed.
This is how my first photographic project, Lost and Found, came about. It really gave me a purpose and it also felt very relevant with regards to how the events industry was being treated. There are so many stories out there and I felt like I only scratched the surface. I might even diversify a little and start shooting some video as well. It was also a really great way to stay in touch with people in the industry and catch up and blow off some steam.
Are there any working methods that you envisage keeping once the lockdown is over?
Over the lockdown I have thought about changing the direction of my work. Though I have realised that I need to be more focused in the area I have chosen and have a bit more structure to how I approach my commercial jobs. Also to always remember that the answer is not Photoshop; get 95% of the shot in camera and it saves a lot of time after.
What are your current and future plans for making, showing, distributing work?
As it is my first photographic project, I am a little unsure about how to go about showing this work. It is up on my website and I have mostly shared the images and stories via Instagram and LinkedIn. It was great to hear from Redeye and it feels like this could be the first place it might go out to a wider audience. I would love the opportunity to have the images featured in relevant industry journals or showcasing them in a small gallery.
How are you procrastinating or distracting yourself from any stress?
I have always enjoyed working out either at the gym or going out for a run. As the gyms were closed I spent a little more time running and practising some yoga. We were fortunate to have great weather which meant I could also catch up on some reading as well as get that all important vitamin D.