By Laura

(In response to the ‘celebrate the mundane’ task’

When focusing on the celebrating the mundane task I found myself noticing the little details of kid paraphernalia which may have previously niggled me. The coat flung anywhere when arriving home from school; the stickers stuck to the floor, the socks left on the table. Documenting these helped me pause and instead of sighing and tidying them away, I found joy in documenting them and celebrating them…it made me smile!

By Lorraine

(In response to the ‘a year in photos’ task)

When lockdown was announced I thought I had to survive on purely the food in the house.

I got Covid at the same time and was quite ill for about 5 weeks at home with my child.  I was told to stay home and could only be tested if I was hospitalised. It was a period of real fear and anxiety, however I started to get better and soon realised how scary isolation had been. 

My child was happy being at home, comfy and confident in completing school work, which was limited at the outset. I worked from home and the sunshine gave us great opportunity to use free time exercising. We cycled all over Salford and found routes I had explored over 20 years previous, plus new ones. This was definitely good to keep us fit and mentally well. 

The things I valued the most were family, nature and birds. 

By Karen

(A year in photos)

I can’t quite believe it’s been a year already, somehow it feels like time has stood still. Maybe it’s something to do with the slower pace of life or just getting older?! I remember watching as the horror of the Pandemic started to impact Europe. The daily rising of the death tolls in Italy and Spain (little did we know that our numbers were going to vastly outnumber them). My sister and her partner were heading to Rome for his birthday and I was getting very anxious for them.

I thought I was relatively organized with shopping, I remember getting up early the Tuesday just before lockdown. I was astonished by the amount of people in Tesco’s already loading their shopping into their boots after they had wiped it down. I was the only one in the shop wearing a mask and gloves and I think people thought I was mad. I bought some Easter eggs, turns out wasn’t the best purchase and they were long gone before Easter!!

The weeks that followed we’re frought with trying to get home deliveries and I had a hungry Teen. I was self isolating due to health issues (some insurance companies won’t insure me). Our neighbour was self-isolating too and as she lived on her own she had shopping priority and she gladly bought us some essentials. Likewise we would return the favour if she ever needed anything.

There were random act’s of kindness, someone who lived on our road had made flyers telling us they were happy to help.

The first time we took part in the Thursday night clapping I was in tears, we could hear and see other people. We didn’t go out for a very long time, we busied ourselves with a garden renovation. My parents hired us a skip for my birthday.

The weather was glorious and a 8ft paddling pool just about fitted into our tiny safe space.

VE day came and went, I encouraged the boys to keep diaries kept telling them that we were living through History, but they soon gave up.

There has been a lot of baking when we eventually could get ingredients and we’ve settled into our new normal. Luckily the boys had already decided they wanted to grow their hair before the pandemic.

There have only been a couple of DIY hair attempts.

Getting a puppy really helped the boys, and luckily he is one cuddly, soppy pooch. My husband and I have both had our first vacations and the boys are being tested twice a week which really does give you peace of mind.

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By Priya

In response to the ‘celebrate the mundane’ task

I wandered around my house looking for some mundane pictures to take and these images stood out to me for their pattern and uniformity. It reminded me of those obscure photographs where you had to name the object that used to be in the Newspaper. The little flaws and variances are emphasised by the defining of a pattern. I really liked the tones on the wrinkled sheet and it was a good exercise in getting my camera settings right to get the tone depth and range. 

We have had so much free flow as a family through lockdown and I appreciate some of it, but I also cling to semblance of normality and routine – sometimes just to have something to rebel against! My house is generally quite messy at the moment with little pockets of order,  and I feel tied to and responsible for a lot of it. I find myself turning into a nag and realise it’s time to go for a walk or do something creative.  For this task it felt quite therapeutic to zoom in on some things that escaped the randomness and enjoy objects for being themselves. 

Mini-task 6: Celebrate the mundane

The kids are back to school (a little bit longer to wait if you’re not in England), but life won’t be returning to normal for a while yet. Life will continue to revolve around mundane daily tasks for the time being. 

Use the next task to document the drudgery of everyday life, and those little details that your little loves leave behind. 

You can approach this in whatever way you would like. For example, you could find beauty in ‘the everyday’, or create a visual diary of gratitude; documenting beautiful light streaming through grubby fingerprints on the windows, or children’s muddy knees from playing outside.

Subversively, if things are feeling particularly tough at the moment you could collect a visual diary of indignation; document the things that wind you up, collect images of emptied out pocket-contents on the dining table, or that pile of shoes and coats that don’t quite make it to the place where they actually live, or you could document the daily piles of washing up by the sink.

It would be wonderful to see the different ways that the task is interpreted. Don’t forget to tag your posts #motherslifeinlockdown if sharing on social media. 

For inspiration look at artist Dawn Yow (@ohhellodawn on Instagram)

Jordi Huisman

Palmer Davis ‘Here and now”  

Martin Parr

Doug Dubois

Elinor Carucci

William Eggleston

Rinko Kawauchi

3, 4, 5 Mini-mindful-tasks

  1. ‘Colour / Texture’

Take twenty mins to explore your surroundings focussing on texture and colour and photographing what you find. You can look for one colour, or a rainbow of colours. Do it at home or out of the house. There are no rules. When you’ve collected around 15 images create a collage of your favourites (the layout app is good for this).

2. Photo Bingo

The second of the mindfulness tasks can be a peaceful exercise in noticing the things around you, or it can be flipped on its head and turned into a competitive game with the family (you can choose which mood you’re in on that day). 

It can be done at home or out of the house, and involves choosing one type of thing to spot and shoot. I’ve gone for ‘faces’ around my house. If you live with an art-hoarder like me this is made slightly easier. If you live in a minimal, zen haven with bare walls this may be slightly trickier.

If you enjoy that, try it with a different type of thing: spot different leaves on the park (or flowers as Spring and Summer roll on), or spot the local cats on a walk around the block, spot the piles of mess around the house, find shells on a beach (when we’re allowed to venture away from home), snap beautiful front doors, photograph red items around the house. 

There’s something very satisfying about creating a collection linked by a theme, so much so that it has a name, Typology: a classification according to general type, especially in archaeology, psychology, or the social sciences. 

After you tried this short task, have a think, is there a way you could carry this further? Is there a collection that you’d like to photograph that might take little bit more time to gather? 

The Typologist blog is great for inspiration too.

3. Window Light Portraits

You’ll need a willing volunteer to be your model in this task (or you could even have a go at using window light to create a self-portrait). 

It may also be helpful to get hold of a white or reflective item to help bounce light, and/or also a large dark item to absorb the light. Blankets and sheets are good, or mirrors, whiteboards/blackboards. Be creative with the items you have at home. If you have a room a dark walls see what effect you get when takng portraits near the window. 

First place your model by a window with soft, non-direct light. Before you even consider taking any photos observe how light falls on your subject. 

Slowly walk your model along the window ledge. Rotate them on the spot and see where the light hits them. Play with curtains or blinds to see what effect this has on the light. Don’t take any photos yet—this is an exercise in observation. 

Still, don’t take any photos.

Hold up your white/reflective surface behind and near your model and observe what happens to the light as it hits them. See how the light bounces off the light/reflective surface and ‘fills’ in the shadows’. Surrounding your model with light surfaces will create a soft, bright image.

Still, don’t take any photos.

Then try holding up your dark item near your model/subject. See if there is any change to the light that is hitting them. Dark items absorb light, and so surrounding your subject with dark items/walls will increase the drama and contrast in the image.

Using your camera, now attempt to capture what the naked eye can see. 

Keep taking photos and making adjustments; keep moving and rotating your model, and move the blinds/curtains and try to create different effects with the light and shadow.

*The examples below are self-portraits take on a phone camera, so it can be done on a phone camera, but bear in mind that the the phone camera’s job is to automatically take a correctly exposed image. It will try and compensate for the shadows and will try to brighten up the image. Don’t be worried about this. Have a go at manually bringing down the exposure on your phone camera—on iPhones you touch the screen and drag your finger up and down. These images will be improved vastly by cropping and editing after you’ve taken them so don’t lose heart if the lighting effect isn’t immediately obvious. 

Take a selection of your favourite images and edit them individually in your phone. 

First crop/rotate them so that you’re happy with them, then concentrate specifically on ‘brilliance, ‘highlights’, ‘shadows’, ‘contrast’ and ‘exposure’. See what happens when you play with these controls.

If you have a proper camera you’ll be able to get some excellent results with this lighting technique. 

By Ella

(In response to the well-being and mindfulness task)

‘Notice the little things’ is something I have always told myself and it has stood me in good stead as a Mum. I notice the little things. 

Constant positivity is not what some people need but I find that, for me, noticing the little things, the small wins or the tiny moments of loveliness are what keep me (relatively) level headed. 

When babies wouldn’t sleep or wanted feeding constantly or when I am alone (which I am a lot), noticing the little things reminds me of all the small moments of wonder and brilliance that I have in my life.

Yes, I may be tired. Yes, I get lonely but, those nano-joys all add up. A blue sky, a cuddle, a dance in the kitchen are what keep me going on the cloudy days. 

By Juliet

(In response to the ‘journey’ task)

Photos of a positive day.

The journey to our usual haunt is refreshed and new with the sprinkle of snow and crackle of ice.

Fresh, frozen puddles to smash. Sunshine gleaming off the frost, lifting our spirits. 

There were tears from my little boy. An excursion wouldn’t be complete without them.  But they were quickly forgotten with the temptation of crunching in a muddy puddle.