Our COVID-19 Case Studies are a new strand on our blog celebrating the different ways the photographic community are working and staying connected through the pandemic. If you would like to submit a Case Study get in touch via email@example.com for more information.
Rachael Munro-Fawcett is a UK-based documentary photographer whose work examines the interconnectivity between people and their environments. With a strong social and environmental focus, her practise is driven by an ardent belief in the power of photography to facilitate discussions that initiate positive change within societies. Rachael lives in Leeds where she freelances as a commercial and portrait photographer. She is the founder of Photographers In Isolation, a movement initiated in response to the Covid-19 global pandemic.
How are you adapting your work during the pandemic?
Photography has always felt like an anchor so it felt intuitive to continue doing my work during the pandemic. I started thinking of ways to use my time creatively that would have a positive impact and that’s when the idea for Photographers In Isolation was formed. As a photographer, I feel a certain responsibility to create a visual record and archive of these unprecedented times and I began to see other photographers around the world documenting their experiences of living through the pandemic. So it felt like a good time to reach out and connect with other photographers and ask them to respond with me. The project has been gaining momentum ever since and curating the feed every day and seeing the quality and diversity of the work that’s being shared from across the globe is really inspiring. There’s a feeling of solidarity amongst photographers and people are being very honest about how they’re dealing with the situation both personally and professionally. The openness and sincerity of the artists who’ve responded has been very encouraging; it has really nurtured a sense of community and has strengthened the idea that we are all in this together.
How are you coping?
As I work from home anyway, I’ve already spent quite a lot of time consciously trying to form a healthy daily routine to avoid feelings of social isolation and loneliness. So my usual routine is really helping at the moment, especially my morning meditation and walk in the park at lunch. I’m being very mindful not to tip the balance and overwhelm myself and by this I mean, I’m monitoring how I’m spending time on social media and choosing when I receive daily updates on the current situation. Self-care is definitely top of the agenda right now.
What are your currents and future plans for making, showing, distributing work?
Just before lockdown I received the news that my long-term project Hollin Lane has been accepted for a solo exhibition in Leeds for later in the year, so I’m continuing to work on the project as if it were still going ahead as I’ve put a lot of hard work into it. I’ve seen some brilliant and innovative ways in which photographers are continuing to show their work during lockdown and so I’m confident that if I do need to diversify the exhibition and change the format to an online version that this is possible and can still be a success. With regards to new work, I’m using this time to slow down my practise and develop my understanding of the human condition through a series of portraits. The series Damien can be viewed on my website. https://www.rachaelmunrofawcett.co.uk/damien
Are there any working methods that you envisage keeping once the lockdown is over?
This whole situation has made me consider my relationship with digital technology and question the possibilities available for artists now and in the future. The biggest advantage I’m currently seeing is the chance to broaden our networks and bridge the gap geographically, with communication platforms such as Zoom and Slack. It feels like this period is already completely changing the way that we connect and share our work. There are a lot of positives aspects to this that we can hopefully take forward with us and keep developing on when we are no longer in lockdown.
Are there any people or organisations that you would like to particularly highlight for their interesting approach during this time?
My favourite project at the moment is Stay at Home created by Yana Wernicke & Jonas Feige. I won’t spoil it, go check it out.
What advice, resources, links or projects would you like to share with other photographers?
Plus all the other movements responding to the pandemic such as #massisolationFORMAT #massisolationIG #massisolationproject #martinparrphotochallenge
The Photographers Network on Facebook – A brilliant platform for photographers - full of useful resources, advice, new projects and on Tuesdays they open up their feed so photographers can share and promote their work.
Image above © Rachael Munro-Fawcett, Abigail from the series Hollin Lane.