Photographers that thrived through lockdown

3 Mins read

Against all the odds, a group of photographers has thrived coming out of lockdown that started in March 2020.

In a world with a new immense level of unemployment, society assumed that the art world would struggle the most.

However, Nicole, Hassan, Gilead, and Adam have continued to progress in their work, and are likely to be leaving lockdown in a better place than expected.

Photograph of Jasmine by Nicole Parkes

Portrait of Jasmine by Nicole Parkes [@parosaroid]

Nicole, a London-based photographer, argues that ‘‘photographers I feel do not get appreciated enough, from not being credited in work we have created, from people constantly trying to underpay, undercut, and extort us for free work.’’

Such disregard in the photography industry “shows that we are not being appreciated for the hard work we put in to make sure people, businesses, and brands look good,’’ she said.

The assumption of failure towards photographers suggests a lack of understanding and appreciation towards photographers.

Such treatment in the industry affects photographers like Nicole throughout their careers. Including a world where creatives are assumed to struggle the most through lockdown. 

Instead, Nicole believes that lockdown has offered photographers valuable lessons that other jobs couldn’t offer. Including “saving, adapting, knowing when to rest, experimenting, and the importance of increasing the level of your skillset’’ Nicole says.

Four young people stand before a white backdrop by Nicole.P

Faces by Nicole Parkes [@parosaroid]

In lockdown, Nicole had been using “archived material to practice new skills,  FaceTime shoots,’’ and more, allowing a re-evaluation of her service rates and increasing them according to her new skill set. Representing the vast amount of photographers that took lockdown to build themselves, ready to thrive post-lockdown. 

A photograph of one of Hasan's clients

Portrait by Hassan Miah [@filmbyhassali]

Artists like Hassan are one of the prime reasons why the public was able to find new content throughout and after lockdown. Keeping social media and businesses content exclusive, in a prime time of social media with everyone in the UK at home.

Lockdown has offered opportunities throughout and post lockdown for many photographers. Especially for Hassan, a film photographer, and videographer. Hassan had been commissioned and involved in many shoots including Ferrari’s latest launch, ‘Hoodrich’, Nine’s Documentary Crabs in a Bucket, assisting, directing, and capturing photographs for multiple music videos.

Alongside Hassan’s work, he was able to find the time in lockdown to develop his work skillset. Including “sampling on my very own discography film photography book,’’ and learning “how to develop and scan my own film photos,’’ Hassan said.

Film photography portrait by Hassan Miah

Another portrait by Hassan Miah [@filmbyhassalini]

Like Nicole, this represents significant self-development in lockdown and a time when the art world was expected to crumble and find jobs elsewhere.

Hassan says that lockdown “gave me a new focus on making sure I don’t waste a day,” both in and out of work. He found the opportunity to combine his work with his family. Having a shoot aboard he was able to invite his mother: “Seeing her enjoying herself was amazing, that was one of the things to do on my bucket list.”

Many photographers like Hassan were able to work accordingly through and post-lockdown. Gilead Kentoe, creative director of Shifting Culture, a global creative agency, ensured in every way possible he followed Coronavirus restrictions.

For example, “the use of Zoom allowed me to work remotely,” Gilead says. However, this new way of life was difficult at times. “I felt isolated as a creative. Being stuck in your house is not ideal for someone like me,” Gilead says.

Man holding microphone performs in dimly-lit room

Club event by Gilead Kentoe [@shiftingcultureltd]

However, people like Gilead have admitted that the Coronavirus restrictions “forced me to adapt, switch it up and find new revenue streams within my business.”

Such lifestyle changes Gilead said lockdown “forced me to rest. I found the experience insightful [and] refreshing.” Adapting for the safety within the pandemic restrictions has continued for Gilead today, conducting online Zoom meetings of more than six.

Gilead says that “as a company we’ve found a new stable rhythm.”

Young man stands with London skyline behind

NXCVisions by Adam Nicolau [@nxcvisions]

Today the UK remains in a national lockdown. Sharing stories of other photographers’ experience in the first lockdown in March hopes to present advice to photographers and others alike who don’t find the lockdown experience as easy as others.

Adam, a London-based videographer and owner of NXCVisions, recommends that “creatives can help each other by finding ways to use each other’s specialties and use them to create something of quality, and promoting each other’s content to spread more awareness of each other’s crafts.”

Being a young person in the arts, Adam represents the art world’s future. The future for Adam shows to be “very bright.

Whilst the industry is swarmed with young talent, there will always be new and exciting opportunities for everyone to create something new,” Adam says.




You can find more about the photographers and creative directors we spoke to on Instagram:

Featured image courtesy of Hassan Miah.
Edited by Darnell Christie, Emil Brierley and Natalia Zmarzlik.

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