Dog Walking 4. Lockdown
Question: How do you make God laugh?
Answer: Tell him your plans.
If you have been following my blog you will be aware that I have an ongoing project documenting our daily dog walks. I decided I wanted to produce a body of work, over a calendar year, that would consist of 52 photographs, each image representing a week's worth of dog walks. That was the plan.
I imagined all sorts of scenarios that could potentially disrupt my dog walking photo project such as getting sick, becoming bored with it, going away holiday, commercial pressure and so on. What I never imagined was a global pandemic that would result in a hard lockdown and a ban on leaving home even for a little bit of exercise.
So April happened. No dog walking. I wasn't keen on a gaping one month hole in my project and the dogs weren't paying any attention to the 24 hour news cycle and still fancied a walk, clearly a plan was needed and we came up with one. We still went for our morning dog walk every single day. We never missed one, not even when it rained. We also didn't leave the property.
When times are tough and we are stressed it's easy to forget how much we still have to be grateful for. Amongst many other things, I am grateful to have a comfortable, modest home built on the side of a hill. If you climb to the back of the property and clamber up a small cliff you will come upon a very good view over Eastgate shopping centre towards the Isando Power Station. My partner would run around the perimeter of the property and up the cliff being followed by the dogs. I would climb the cliff and photograph whatever caught my eye. Bugs, flowers, dogs, birds and of course the power station.
I began taking photography seriously in 1975 when I was 14. Back in those days hobbies were a real thing. Adults wanting to engage with us kids would frequently ask what we wanted to be when we were "big" and also what hobbies we participated in. Stamp collecting, photography, hiking and reading were all very popular. I did them all and still read and hike a lot. Photography became my profession and took on a seriousness that can sometimes displace the sheer joy of the medium.
In the late 1970's Kodak (remember them?) published a book called the "Joy of Photography". Technical stuff but with a strong slant on not forgetting that photography was fun. A really good approach but one that is hard to keep alive when you are working day in and day out for decades making a living with a camera. As the days drifted past in the lockdown a wonderful thing happened, I began to rekindling the joy of photography. I was just having fun with a camera and photographed whatever took my fancy with no thought to how good, clever or innovative the result might be. It was all just great fun.
It didn't take long to realise that there was more than just photography to be enjoyed in this testing period. Unlike so many in the world I wasn't cold, hungry, wet, thirsty or in any real danger. We meditated, cooked good meals, read, watched Netflix, played table tennis and had lovely long chats.
And yes, we walked our dogs.