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  • Writer's pictureRoss Henderson

2021 Review

Updated: Jan 3

What can I say? What a year! 2021 was a year with the Covid Pandemic in full swing. We had had already been through 2020, when restrictions began in March. So we knew what to expect. 2020 was a tough one, as I had very little times when I could do into the studio with clients, or when I could do this, the restrictions were back on again.

2021 was mixed. It took a few months of discussions with my MSP, before establishing what I could and could not do. Eventually, since there were no guidelines specifically for photographers, it was established that I should be treated the same as a hairdresser. With this in mind and once the guidelines allowed, I was able to continue doing portraiture commissions in the studio. They were mostly pets, and it was great fun to be doing what I enjoyed most.

A dog and their owner during COVID

The above image was taken during a photoshoot. I deliberately captured my client as she was wearing a mask, which shows that it was taken during the Covid Pandemic. There was such a close relationship between the dog, Baxter and his Mum. Baxter was only a few weeks old - about 12 - and all he wanted to do was be with his Mum all the time. Every time we tried to move him, in order to take a photo of him, he would move so that he could see his Mum. I had to work fast on this commission. I finished the studio session feeling exhausted.

There were high points and low points in this year. The high points could be things like completing my MA, but also managing an exhibition which was cancelled from the beginning of the pandemic.

My Graduation was the first physical ceremony since the pandemic began. Up to this point all ceremonies had been virtual. Not only that but this was one of the first times that I had seen all of my course mates in the same room, but all smartly dressed.

The exhibition was at The Acorn Centre in Inverurie. It was originally planned for April 2020, but it was postponed as the restrictions started days before it was due to commence.

Another high point would have been exhibiting at the MA Degree Show. This was located at The Look Again Space in St. Andrews Street, Aberdeen.

Exhibition Credits - Look Again Space - Aberdeen

I exhibited one image, which was a composite panorama of Tillyfourie Quarry, near Alford.

The image was printed on acrylic, which is a medium I have never used before. Not only that, but it was the first exhibition that I have not displayed myself. I was dependent on my lecturers and other members of the course to hang the display on the wall. It was a little nerve wracking, to say the least.

Another high point would be receiving an Award through Scotland Prestige. They awarded me Pet Photographer of the year 2021/22.

I was delighted to receive this news. It came as a complete surprise. Lets hope that I continue to receive more awards like this one.

There were also low points this year. Late November/early December was the arrival of Storm Arwen. This storm brought 90 mph winds. I knew what the forecast was, but I had no idea what the next few days would bring. At approximately 4pm on Friday 26th November, the power went off. I thought that this was just a power cut and that it would come back on in a couple of hours. No such luck. I was lucky in that the power was restored in just over 2 days, but in that period I had to depend on a gas fire for heat, gas stove to cook on, plus candles or torches for light.

Some people did not see their power back on for about 5 or 6 days in total. In that time, SSEN Engineers were out trying to fix power lines which were blown down, or the wooden telegraph poles had broken. I felt somewhat useless in some ways. I wanted to get out with my camera and document the damage the storm had caused, but I decided not to as I would not be able to send the images anywhere, due to my lack of electricity. But not just that, I wanted to stay warm and didn't want to put myself at risk.

It wasn't just the power which was affected. I had no mobile signal, so no internet, or notifications on my phone. My only contact with the outside world was an old analogue plug in phone and a clockwork radio. I was able to receive an idea of when the power might go back on again, through dialing 105. There were some mentions of this on local radio.

After the storm, I did manage to get out and document some of the damage caused by the storm in some of the surrounding woodland.

The damage I saw in some of the woodlands I have never seen the like before. It was as if the landscape was post-apocalyptic.

On the whole, 2021 was a mixed year with some high points and some low points.

So what is in store for 2022? I hope that the restrictions will continue to allow me to work in the studios and doing what I enjoy most.

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