When I started getting into photography I had a fine art mind set. Creating art and unusual imagery was my forte. One of my favourite locations to take photos was in the fields behind my house. I would regularly visit these fields with all sorts of costumes and props, along with my beloved camera and tripod in hand ready to create magic. It was exciting and exhilarating. Some times an idea would come to me in the morning and I would rush out that same day to take the photo and upload it to Flickr and Deviantart. The fields represented a space where I could feel free and at peace with my mind. Any worries I had would wash away as I felt at one with nature and my passion.
Let me give you a bit more background to why these fields are important to me. When I was young I used to walk my dog Misty with my sister Lucy countless times. No matter the weather. We would take a camera with us and take photos of Misty running around as well as silly photos of ourselves, of course. Those images mean a lot to me. Especially now Misty has passed away and my sister lives across the pond with her husband Ryne. My friends and I would regularly go for walks across the fields where we lived. This gave us an opportunity to catch up, vent and create many happy memories together. I also have fond memories of walking across the fields with my high school crush (now boyfriend! Woo!). The fields separated his house from mine, so we would often walk across the fields to go to one another’s houses, exchanging glances and holding hands, sharing in-jokes and anecdotes. Good times.
Seven years after my last portrait in the fields, I decided to return to take another self portrait. Why did it take me seven years to return to the fields? Lots of reasons. Mostly because my style of photography had changed dramatically. I moved away from artistic self portraits and focused my attention on fashion and portraits. I gradually started to slip away from the fine art element especially during my last term at university. I realised how much I loved meeting new people, learning their stories and taking pictures of them. Personally, I started to feel more self-conscious and suffered from terrible anxiety for a few years. I didn’t really want to be in front of the camera and felt far more comfortable behind it. A couple of years ago I started dabbling in self portraits again, but only ever focused on headshots and never went outside. I didn’t feel confident taking my camera outside with me and would feel frustrated quite quickly. A month or so ago, I set up my camera in the lounge, put up my backdrop and started to take photos. But something wasn’t clicking. Looking through the shots, they were not how I envisioned them to be. I knew something had to change.
Thursday morning was rainy and miserable. The day I hoped to revisit the fields. It wasn’t until 2pm that the rain decided to disappear. I got myself ready, grabbed my camera and tripod and headed out to the fields. I walked down the back alley towards a side gate where I had previously taken photographs. A lot has changed in seven years. Before the gate was clear with bushes either side. I was in shock to see the gate was overgrown by brambles and wild flowers. In fact you couldn’t see the gate at all! A few years back, It was agreed that the field was going to have a new housing estate built along with a superstore on it, but the contractors ran out of time to start the building work so nothing went ahead. Instead it was left to let nature find a way. It was quite surreal approaching the main entrance of the field where the footpath sign usually would be, to find it wrapped up amongst the wild flowers and the path almost invisible. The normal path you could take was entirely overgrown, so I became an adventurer, creating my own path and exploring the fields with fresh eyes.
My feelings were inescapable. I felt at peace again. Everything I was thinking about in my day to day life had left my mind. All that mattered was being there in that moment. It was perfection. I think the elements were on my side that afternoon, there was no rain to be seen, the sun was coming out to create dramatic lighting and the wind was insane! I swear the wind was trying to knock me and my tripod down! My hat certainly flew off numerous times but none of that mattered. It was all helping me to create photos which reflected how I felt inside. I lost track of time and could have spent longer taking photos there. I went home with the biggest smile on my face.