Review - Club Night - Members' Lockdown Projects, 07 Sep 2020

A review by Helen Jones of the first night of the new season - Members' Lockdown Projects, 07 Sep 2020
The first night of our new season and we are still meeting via zoom. It was supposed to be a celebration with prints, photobooks, trophies, champagne and cake but instead we went digital and just dreamt of champagne!

Back in April I challenged our members to document their personal experiences of lockdown - as long as it was safe to do so and they adhered to whatever legislation was in place at the time. I wasn't sure how many people would feel able to do this - and was delighted with the response we had.

We started the evening with Tim Downton who did an early morning video walk through Dorchester at the very start of lockdown. It was very moving seeing everything shut and barred. It started with the Dawn Chorus in Borough Gardens then toured the silent streets of our County Town.

Frances Underwood was next with photos of her poignant lockdown memories including some showing the deserted M4 and central London that she took on an essential hospital trip. No-one else had been able to visit London and these scenes were quite shocking.

Tony Gill then took us back to a deserted Dorchester in early April when the only traffic was ambulances and pizza delivery cars. He had some wonderfully atmospheric shots, mist and early mornings or evenings and some wonderful ICM as well.

Next we saw a very personal video made by Mike Petitdemange showing how his family dealt with lockdown – empty wine shelves, TikTok dancing , baking, jigsaws and walks!

Susan Hendricks followed with a very original and highly creative sequence of monochrome images using double exposures in her shed window represent different lockdown emotions. These were extremely moving – and very clever.

Next up was Lisa Bukalders who is involved in the Badger Vaccination Project in Dorset. This took us through the stages of vaccination - under lockdown and was a fascinating insight into a project that most of us know little about.

She was followed by something completely different - Richard Anders 'Bums on a Bench' project. This is an Instagram project of candid photos of characters sitting on a town centre bench in central Weymouth over the lockdown period. This was amusing, interesting and Richard has such a great eye for the right expression and the right moment.

We stayed in Weymouth for Helen & Stephen Jones's first AV - "You'll Never Walk Alone" - Weymouth in lockdown from May until August. Empty streets and beaches then the gradual return to life and people.

Finally Jane and Stephen Lee ended our first half with a beautifully crafted video of the birds seen in their garden throughout lockdown with perfect music; “We Just Can't Get Enough"

The second half started with Helen & Stephen Jones showing "Dorchester - Land of Confusion" - Dorchester's gradual emergence from lockdown from 23rd May - 5th September. This was a project to document the changes in the town through regular visits.

Jane Tearle followed. She is well-known as the 'Village Chronicler', documenting life in her village of Cerne Abbas. She had a lovely series of photos of people in Cerne including the village shop, allotments, May Day Morris and music, concerts in the main street and VE Day portraying many local characters.

We then moved from people to bugs and butterflies. Annette Beardsley used lockdown to improved her macro and close-up skills and presented some gorgeous natural history shots of bugs and butterflies in her garden and on walks.

Lesley Phillips was next. Lesley had a very different experience of lockdown, working two jobs throughout and her photos showed some very moving reactions to the lockdown experience including a very poignant barbed wire heart which really summed it all up.

Dee Wareham then showed us an AV using only photos taken on her phone. It started with a video of the NHS clap including the noise of the ghost cruise shops sounding their horns in the bay. Dee then followed the photo projects she had tried in her house and garden, taking pictures of everyday objects. She ended with restrictions being relaxed and being able to return to their beach hut on Portland – a lot of gardening needed!

Lisa Bukalders then showed her second video. She had treated herself to a trail camera to record life in her garden, day and night whilst she was locked down. There was a lot of humour in this as well as some wonderful night-time captures of Spike & Penny the hedgehogs, badgers and other wildlife.

We moved then from rural West Dorset to rural Piddlehinton where Peter Yendell and his wife Jess have created a lockdown Blog “19 Silver Linings”. Pete recorded everyday life in his village – the performances by their resident opera singer; a feature on BBC news; the Black Lives Matter protests; traffic calming measures, a new baby, beautiful walks – and his overflowing glass recycling box!

Barbara Jenkins then gave us her very personal account of her lockdown experiences – all in her inimitable, quirky, funny style – supermarket queues and empty shelves, sea swimming, zoom meetings, Virtual Glastonbury, the launch of Space x Falcon and lots of little details spotted during her regular walks and cycle rides through Weymouth – all shot on her mobile phone.

We ended the evening on a poignant note “We’ll Meet Again” which was Helen & Stephen Jones’s AV of socially–distanced VE Day 75th Anniversary celebrations in Weymouth all taken during a one hour walk from their house.

The evening also saw the annual presentation of trophies – postponed from June in the hope we might be back to physical meetings in September. We aren’t back, so John and Di Tilsley enacted a virtual presentation in the garden. John looked very smart as he handed each trophy to the 'recipient' off camera!

The trophies went to:
Portman Owl (Section A Nature): Steve Broadhurst
Parsons Cup (Section B Nature): Janine Scola
Presidents Cup (Winner of Mono Comp): Val Brierley
Konica Rose Bowl (Winner of Section B): Peter Yendell
Jack Vorster Trophy – Members Vote for Services to the Club: Shared by Helen & Stephen Jones

~ Helen Jones