Notes from Lockdown: Arron Moos

The South Africa based photographer reflects on family, work and the natural world

Over the past month, I’ve had the blessing of being part of 823’s Hopes & Dreams Photo Club (operating via Patreon). It’s an inclusive space intent on cultivating an image-sharing and supportive atmosphere amongst the #always823 community (823 corresponds to the number of letters in ‘Thinking Of You’), as we all grapple with the challenges that the COVID-19 pandemic brings. As a collective, we’re all reminded that this is a truly unprecedented time that will be looked back upon (and studied) in the future. And its in the spirit of documenting and being conscious of our present, that the connection between our physical and mental wellbeing lies at the centre of the first brief, ‘Alone, Together’ — playing on how we’re all isolated yet going through similar motions in unison.

I really hope you’re all keeping well and finding healthy ways to stay sane during this time – looking at the positives has been monumentally moving for me and my loved ones. I send my strength and heartfelt sympathies to you and what you’re dealing with as these days go by – whether you’re on the frontlines, worrying about your future or struggling with your mental or physical wellbeing. What I have to share here are the (cliché) oft-quoted words of Mary Anne Rademacher, “Courage doesn’t always roar. Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow.” Reading all these stories from across the world and seeing the images shared over the past few weeks have really helped me move from day to day and reassured me that we’re all experiencing this in our own, yet very similar, way. It’s also been a reminder that images possess so much more to them than just the way they appear – there are the stories, moments and memories wrapped up within them that capture their meanings.

I’ve been based in Cape Town over the past 4 years as I completed my studies and I’ve recently started working at an agency in March (just before the storm). Yet, in contrast to the very active and on-the-go lifestyle I’ve been a part of in Cape Town, I’ve found myself “locked-down” at home in Johannesburg. I certainly did not see any of this coming at the start of the year, but in many ways these past 7 weeks have been a blessing in disguise. There’s energetic days where I’m able to bake, get through work and even handle a solid batch of archive edits in the evenings. But there’s days where I unproductively pick up and put down projects and move through so many thoughts and moods that its hard to keep track of what I wanted to get out of that day. I’ve been trying to combat overthinking with mindfulness and its encouraged me to take note of my surroundings and journal more – something I want to cultivate forevermore.

As a subtle antidote to my restlessness and wanderlust (and spending so much time in front of screens), I’ve been spending a lot of time outside in our garden and listening to tons of music. This time in nature, often surrounded by sound, and being amongst family has given me time to think, breathe, contemplate and reflect. Getting sucked into these moments, where I tend to consider my formal and creative work and the relationships I have with other people, is where this theme of being ‘alone, together’ has hit home.

These images flow from physically being outside to being inside, as I’m sure many of of us have been travelling this journey mentally.

On a darker note, they touch on themes of mindfulness, mortality and reflection – alluding to the idea that things may never be the same again.

On a lighter note, they observe that there’s beauty in change and that there’s magic in mundanity – if you care to be present enough to see.

arronnathan.com

Notes from Lockdown: Cody Chandler

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, casting agency founder Cody Chandler argues why Queer representation is crucial for the future of fashion

Outtakes from a Janette Beckman shoot

Today is May 11th and I’m here in Brooklyn, thoughts wavering between the sentimental and anticipating New York’s inevitable wake from her slumber.

New Pandemics – the name of the agency is strangely fitting and prophetic at the moment. Maybe it’s a good opportunity to discuss the origin of the name. It’s an ode to the lives lost during the AIDS Pandemic in New York. With that crisis we lost budding LGBTQ+ artists, our mentors wiped away just like that – the Queer experience forever changed. This isn’t our first rodeo with the term.

Outtakes from a Janette Beckman shoot

Preceding ‘Pandemics’ with ‘New’ offered an omen, to turn a new leaf, bring about an ideological shift – the torch passed on to a New generation with their own unique set of challenges. The fashion industry in particular, lauded for progressive and forward thinking ideals, was ripe for a swift kick in the ass. From my perspective, a Queer casting and management agency served as the perfect vehicle to spark the conversation around Queer Visibility and why barely any agency at the time would sign Queer talent. Brands were – and many continue to be – gun shy about inclusivity, citing a lack of ‘marketability’ and fear of alienating conservative customers. Now here we are a couple of years later, a lot has been accomplished and I have to credit the talent and the agency as a whole for working behind the scenes to provoke a change in the landscape and discussions surrounding Queer representation in fashion and media as a whole.

Outtakes from a Janette Beckman shoot

Through the current Pandemic, my hope is that we realise what we trade our time and resources for. I’ll leave you with what I find to be an attainable dream. One where we draw a line in the sand and wake up, realising that we in the industry and consumers of content have traded a lot of time and energy to prop up luxury brands with little in return. The optimist in me sees a future which values the intellectual over influencers, where clout demon culture returns to hell where it came from. One where utilitarianism reigns and the seasonal calendar is left on the cutting room floor. If 20/20 offers clarity, with it may come the dismantling and demise of fashion as we know it – and that’s fine by me.

Photography Janette Beckman

newpandemics.com

Notes from Lockdown: Caroline Mauger

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, casting director Caroline Mauger shares her means of escapism – sketching 

Bonjour, I’m Caroline Mauger, I am a Casting Director based in Paris.

During my time in isolation, I started drawing, something I have not done much of in the past. For me, the first few days were the most difficult ones; being apart from your loved ones and precious habits is never a treat.

We have temporarily been deprived of some of our most basic liberties and luxuries (for good reason of course). I figured that, a great way to express my urge to feel freedom again was to sketch it. This opened up a portal of unlimited travelling possibilities; from temples in Asia to the Sahara Desert, I also found myself reminiscing and illustrating bar scenes… Sketching has been the perfect way to escape from an undeniably anxious climate. What we are living at the moment is crazy but I strongly believe that it will make us appreciate and respect our beautiful world that much more when it all ends.

Diana Vreeland once said, “The eye has to travel” and so, my eyes have been going around the world, until I can aspire to discover and revisit all of these places in person once again.

My drawings are being posted online, one for each day of quarantine @confinedpen

Notes from Lockdown: Alex Petsetakis

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, stylist and art director Alex Petsetakis shares her experiences from the small town of Nicosia

I live in the medieval walled city of Nicosia, Cyprus, and life here after more than a decade in London is quite rural and village-like. The last 45 days of quarantined confinement have only heightened that feeling.

A stray rooster dominates the neighbouring alley like some fierce mobster crowing at passers-by. Nature prevails and boasts in full technicolour as there are no spectators to admire it. The street stray cats rumble and laze openly in the streets, eyeballing you confidently as you are intruding in their territories now.

The call-to-prayer megaphoned from the mosque and the bells and sermons from the neighbouring Orthodox Church echo the narrow streets often in overlapping symphony. A walk amongst the abandoned limestone manor houses feels similar to roaming through a desolate movie set as the spring swallows shriek and dive over the roof tops.

The walled city of Nicosia “The last divided capital of Europe” shut the borders between North and South in the early days of the pandemic. I live a mere 100m from the UN buffer zone and there is an eerie feeling of united confinement now with my neighbours across the No Man’s Land.

Once busy streets have been replaced with patrolling siren lights cascading through closed windows. You Zoom, Skype, House Party, stay proactive, creative, bake bread, repot plants, tie dye, mend, update, archive, commentate on where the days have gone and what our release might look like until an awkward inevitable truth hits and you no longer feel like saying anything further.

Someone recently quoted Socrates and it has resonated with me these last few weeks and with slight pretence I end these musings with this: ‘The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.’

alexpetsetakis.com

Notes from Lockdown: Clément Pascal

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, photographer Clément Pascal shares some love for sunsets and childcare

My wife, my son and I left NYC on March 18th for our house upstate. The weird thing is that here things are almost still the same. Things are slow. The world around us is still beautiful, the sun still shines on people and objects in pleasing ways. Sunrises and sunset are still magical. And although I miss the city (right now all I can think about is walking around Manhattan, the weather is warm, the energy of the thousands of people around me is fully palpable, there are the people in a hurry, the crazies, the group of tourists you need to circumvent, the friends you bump into…).

I’m incredibly thankful to be able to be here, to bond with my son, connect with my wife, to enjoy things being slow, to still be able to be creative and see the world still being beautiful around me. Thankful to wake up way too early to go take care of my son, to witness a mystical sunrise on my way back to bed.

clementpascal.com

Notes from Lockdown: Michael Bodiam

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, photographer Michael Bodiam dreams of the mundane

Set adrift on memory bliss.

Not long after isolating at home with my partner and two young children I started to have visions of places I could no longer go.

In the face of not being able to go anywhere, the escapism offered by an imaginary visit to an idyllic place, far away from the here and now, would seem like an obvious distraction.

My visions however, have been neither idyllic, nor far away. So far, they have only taken me to a handful of streets along the many bike journeys I have taken in London. The locations stir no memories or feelings for me. Rosebery Avenue, Tooley Street, Seven Sisters Road.

I’ve given the matter much thought and I can only conclude that my brain is reaching out for a truly unremarkable place and time as the ultimate form of escape. Monotony is what we hate the most, but how nice would it be right now to be riding down Shaftesbury Avenue, lost in a mundane moment, thinking about and feeling nothing?

michaelbodiam.com

Notes from Lockdown: Sarah Blais

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, photographer Sarah Blais shares her pre-lockdown travel from London to France

I heavily debated going to London on Monday March 16th. There was talk of borders shutting down and I was living in Paris at the time. The streets of Paris were dead the morning I left. Gare Du Nord was quiet, only a couple cars in sight. It was eerie. I got out at Kings Cross and went straight to Pret since there was no coffee being served at Gare du Nord or on the train to London. How come everyone was walking around like the world wasn’t about to shut down? We shot the editorial (for this issue of Port Magazine) as I nervously looked over to my phone for news or updates about travel. That was the last shoot I had before the lockdown. 

I made it to the 18:00 train back to Paris that night – it was packed and very hectic at Kings Cross – everyone with suitcases and masks on. As the train went under the English Channel we were watching Macron’s speech through the broken signal. He announced at noon the following day a travel ban would be in place. I raced home that night and packed my bags, knowing it could be 3 months until I returned. My friends and I frantically searched for a car to take us down to a family home in the south of France. We drove through the night to get to where I am now, and I haven’t left since!

sarahblais.com

Notes from Lockdown: William Bunce

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, photographer William Bunce expands on the therapeutic nature of paint stripping

Contrary to what I see other artists doing on social media, I’ve taken a more relaxed approach to lockdown and indeed to making work.

The forced constraints of ‘Isolation’ themed work are somewhat limiting, so I have so far avoided making any work on the theme.

Instead I have been using the time and fantastic weather to start the mammoth task which I have been avoiding and would otherwise have paid a labourer to do: the stripping back of 25 years of paint and rust on the exterior of my canal boat. So I have been chipping away with an assortment of hammers – who knew there was a hammer specifically for ‘chipping’? There’s one for grinding, with various abrasive discs, from twisted wire brush attachments, to ‘flapper’ sanding discs. I’ve discovered a new tool – a ‘scabbler’ which has been literally eating up the old paint.

One thing that I keep noticing when grinding through the layers of paint, is the amazing patterns that are created when deeper layers are exposed, also the textures that are created while working. The finish is quite fleeting as I’m taking everything back to bare metal before applying an advanced epoxy paint system, so I have been documenting these surfaces as I go.

I think they make quite interesting texture studies, and although they don’t exactly take the same approach as my usual image making, I do quite like the effect.
There is a strong sense of community along the towpath, and as much as it can be stressful to enjoy being outside while maintaining social distancing, it does feel quite lucky to be able to be outside in the sunshine.

It has been a pleasure working on the latest issue, and I hope everyone enjoys the images as much as we enjoyed making them

williambunce.com

Notes from Lockdown: Justin French

In a content series curated by Rose Forde, contributors from issue 26 reflect on the new normal. Here, photographer Justin French shares his thoughts on self-imposed exile

  

a time for compassion, when time lost increases loss

too many words, too many channels, too many rules, too many choices

murky history, muddy future

all the reasons to smile, every reason to cry

so many colours the world has now, the sudden stasis brought into focus

silence where there was chaos, devastation where there was comfort

terrestrial roots watered, technological routes strained

love bonds stronger, kinks strung taught

challenged to be more human than we’ve had to be….

learning more than expected through self reflection

became a jack of all trades via necessity

cook, cleaner, gardener, nutritionist, therapist, chemist, civil servant

quelling the fear of unknown for others, neglecting my own

an over utilised shoulder and ear

the relief on faces that have secured access to much needed resources

the daily briefings that heighten our anxiety and remind us just how flawed and human we are

a pandemic with a mysterious origin, and untold impact on the human body

in circumstances where we need human compassion and touch most

self imposed exile as a means of survival

which I intend to emerge from with love and reinforced sense of charity

13:59:28:04:20

justin-french.com