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Stories from the sofa - Chris Bailey

Experiences of life in Frome, during lockdown

Tell us about what your life looked like before lockdown?

Life before the lockdown was great! It was shaping up to be my busiest year yet. I had a really healthy amount of clients through the door at the beginning of the year and some really exciting projects planned.

What were you initial feelings once lockdown started?

When I first heard about lockdown I was really really concerned as I know lots of people would find it extremely challenging. I was worried for lots of the elderly community who live on their own and for people like me who generally need structure in life to function at their best. Early on when we first were told about the possibility of a lockdown, I found it really hard to comprehend the logistics of such a massive government procedure. If I’m being honest, I didn’t think it would actually happen as at that time, we didn’t know the severity of the virus. For me, these last few months have felt like a bit of a dream having to live such a different life to what I’m accustomed to. The whole situation is so surreal but lockdown is a compulsory measure that’s been put in place to help save lives. As hard as I’ve found it, I would do it all again in a heartbeat if it meant more peoples would be saved.

What is your home set-up/situation

As I’m a Freelance Photographer, I do the majority of my admin from home so luckily there hasn’t been much of a change for me there. I just didn’t have any clients to email! Ha

How has lockdown affected the way you live day to day?

Lockdown has allowed me all of those lie-ins that I’ve always longed for. I’ve had all the time in the world and have tried to use it as productively as I can but unfortunately that’s not always how it works out! I had all of these great plans set out whenI first found out about lockdown but, and I don’t know if it’s just me, - time just seems to fly by! It could have something to do with my new addiction to Animal Crossing : New Horizons on the Nintendo Switch - damn Nintendo! 

How has it affected your working life/business?

The pandemic has pretty much turned my business upside down as being a headshot photographer means you are working closely alongside your client, most of the time in an enclosed studio space. When I’m not photographing headshots, I’m normally photographing mass events and live music, which now, scarily, sounds like a thing of the past due to social distancing. 

What have you been doing since lockdown started?

Besides from panicking, I've been watching all of those films that I’d always wanted to see, getting lost in ‘Recommended YouTube Videos’  - It’s amazing what you can find down the YouTube rabbit hole. I’ve learned so much! I’ve also been trying my best to get myself into an exercise routine (which isn’t going as well as expected) and when I’m not doing any of those, you can normally find me lying in the hammock in the garden. Actually, that is where you will definitely find me. 

Have you had any epiphanies or light-bulb moments about your life/work since lockdown begun?

 Creatively speaking, the lockdown has given me a chance to slow down and re-evaluate a few things. I’ve been using the time to try to push my creativity to the next level and generate new ideas ready for when I’m back in action. It’s good to keep things fresh and constantly evolving. 

How has the Coronavirus pandemic effected you personally - your wellbeing, mental health, anxiety levels?

I’m a person that needs structure in their life so this pandemic has been tough to say the very least. I don’t function well if I don’t keep my mind occupied - I’ve always found it hard to relax and being freelance for years, my work never really stops. I’m sure like lots of people in the same situation, I have my good days and bad days. The only saving grace to this disastrous situation is all of the beautiful sunshine we have been having. I can’t imagine how it would have been if this pandemic struck during the Winter months!

What positive experiences have you had over the last two months?

Since the pandemic I’ve really noticed how kind people can be in times of need. It’s really amazing how events such as these can bring people and communities closer together.

And any negative experiences?

I’ve had a few close encounters with people not abiding by the social distancing rules. I think it’s going to take a while for people to adjust and for it all to sink in.

Have you found any new hobbies/habits/interests?

I’ve really started to enjoy spending time in the garden and caring for the plants. Since lockdown, I’ve had time to notice things changing around me and it’s always good to give back to nature.  

Do you have any coping mechanisms you’d like to share with the readers?

Whenever things get a bit too much for me, I try to take a few minutes outside in the sun and breathe in some fresh air. I’d also call friends on the phone and have a catch up, I think human contact is really important at these times, to help get us through. You also never know how the person on the end of the phone is coping - it’s always good to talk.

Tell us your recommendations for Book, TV, Film, Music, Food or Activity?

I’ve been watching loads of the Cohen Brother’s films, I’d definitely recommend Burn After Reading and O Brother, Where Art Thou - Both great movies! As for music, I’ve been listening a lot of uplifting Swing music by Antonio Socci, check him out, he’s great! 

When lockdown is over, what are you most looking forward to?

When lockdown is over, I’m really looking forward to spending some precious time with my family and take my 2 little dogs on some awesome walks - Albert and Molly have also found lockdown hard - “WOOF!"

What are your hopes for the future?

 I did have my first ever exhibition in the works before the virus took over so that’s something I will definitely be working on in the future - Watch this space, Frome!


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