24/09/20 BLOG 16: REFLECTIONS ON TOGETHER ALONE
This week, we are passing the blog back over to Kathryn Rattray for her last (for a while…) blog, reflecting on her experiences over the course of working with Together Alone. A massive thanks to Kathryn from all of us at CLiCK for all of her amazing work on her series of photography masterclasses based on the 5 categories of self-care. Kathryn has working with Together Alone to create workshop packs for anyone wanting to try out her masterclasses. You can contact us here or via firstname.lastname@example.org to get one sent out.
It’s 4:30 in the morning and I have been awake for an hour, I thought I could drift back off but to no avail. Mostly lying here thinking as words and images wash over my brain...
“Must go to the bank, to the iPhone shop, write this blog, answer social media messages, finish off photographs, start a new commission, invoice people, get the studio organised, buy Jakes birthday la la la”. My brain never stops and, of course, then here comes thoughts about COVID 19. Total wreck your head, spoil your fun, doesn’t understand the rules COVID 19.
I can’t begin to get into the flow and zone with this blog until I mention the second wave. I am annoyed at the powers at be for the push and pull sociopathy of the whole debacle. I feel overwhelmed with disbelief, again, and at the same time, worrying. I’m mostly worried for purely selfish reasons though, I have been enjoying ‘normal’ life. I now find absolute joy in the mundane, I’ve even slipped into a routine. The old me, the pre-covid me hated routine. I thought I liked chaos, dropping the kids off at school in my pj’s (in the car) and slipping back into bed until about 11. I thought enjoyed burying my head deep into the sand and ignoring all the grown-up things in life. But not now, the first lockdown taught me the importance of being kind to yourself. Sometimes being kind to yourself means sorting out all the horrible jobs, you know the ones, the ones that if you think you can ignore for long enough, they’ll disappear. But that’s not how it works. I think in truth what has happened through the madness of 2020 is that I’ve swapped all vices and hopped on to the ‘boring train’, and I am enjoying it (being boring that is!) I have found new joy in organising my wardrobe and have swapped wild Friday nights for a Netflix binge and some laundry folding. And I am happy! Happy to be on that boring train, happy and content that I doze off at 8:30pm after dinner and wake at 3:30 with a list in my head of tasks that I need to conquer.
I’ve spent some time reflecting on what CLiCK has meant to me over those warm, bright balmy summer days of 2020. Yes, I’m already looking through the summer of 2020 with rose tinted spectacles, the Wonder Years theme tune playing in my head. But in all seriousness creating the masterclasses gave me a focus that I hadn’t realised I so desperately needed. It made me think constantly for about three months. At the very start I had NO IDEA what I should do. I was always stuck; stuck on what to shoot, stuck on what to write, how to write it and actually writing it. I think that the secret to it all is persistence, and to get up when you fall at the first hurdle, to scrap something that isn’t going well and to dust yourself off and start again. And that’s what I had to keep doing. Thankfully, I had the wonderful Anna to help, support and correct my typos (and there were LOADS of typos...!). I’d send over my blog and within a few hours it would drop back into my inbox all sorted, even adding the bits that I’d missed. And the relief of having Anna there was so important to me. You see the older I get, the less of a control freak I’ve become. I hadn’t realised I was one until I started accepting more help. That too I think is the key to getting through just now, accepting help from others, and just saying ‘thank you’ when it’s done.
So, what’s in store for me as we head back into lockdown? Well, I have taken the bold step of printing some of last years’ work. I have printed 3 of my favorites and they are BIG! Yesterday I spent an hour with the framer choosing frames and working out the best options. I’m excited to hang these in my studio and hope that others will love them as much as I do.
With that at the forefront of my mind, I want to share a final image and its meaning with you. Last year, I exhibited this photograph in Zurich and it is one of my all-time favorite photographs. It is titled “Ex Manus Capere”, which translates from Latin to English as ‘set free from control’. This bold, strong and powerful image symbolises so much to me right now as we fall back into stricter controls. But for me, and I hope for you too, we can start by loosening our control and making small and positive steps to change habits that no longer serve us as we start on a journey of self-care of both body and mind. Why? Because, you are worth it!
Thank you to the absolutely fabulous CLiCK Team, I have enjoyed every minute of our working ‘together alone’ and I have gratitude in abundance for the opportunity to develop these masterclasses (it’s all gone a bit Gwyneth Paltrow Oscar winning speech of thanks now). If you are reading this right now Anna, I do hope you ask me to write another blog ;)