NI photographer stuck at home trying to make the most of the mundanity

A would-be wedding photographer has made the most of his limited surroundings in a photographic blog about life in lockdown.

Chris took this picture of his daily pill intake
Chris took this picture of his daily pill intake

Christopher McSherry, 32, who lives in Craigavon, has been in strict lockdown since March 16, even before he got a letter from his GP.

He explained why he needs to limit his contact with the outside world: “I’ve got cystic fibrosis so I’m shielding. That’s why the project started, it was just to give me something to do.

“I can’t take pictures at weddings so I thought this will help train my eye, trying to make the mundane look interesting.

A game of badminton had to be taken indoors due to windy conditions

“There’s a photographer called Patrick La Roque, he’s very good at making mundane objects look exciting. He’s been an inspiration.

“It’s getting harder to find interesting things because I’ve been in the house for so long. But then you’ll see something from a new angle, with a different light on it and I’m rushing to get the camera to take a photo.”

Chris added: “This year was the year I was going to try and push to make more of a thing of my wedding photography, but who could have predicted a pandemic.

“I’d only done two weddings on my own though I’ve done a hell of a lot of second shooting. I worked with Sarah Fyffe, she showed me the ropes.

“I didn’t really know what type of photography I was into. I’d done landscapes, I’d tried product photography which I liked, I’d enjoyed taking photos at my nephew’s birthdays, getting that candid, natural photo. That led me on to photojournalism. When I first discovered Tom Stoddart that changed my world completely.”

Chris is thankful that he is not fully reliant on his work as a wedding photographer: “I’m lucky that I’m not full time, barely even part time, I work in a family business and they advised me to start shielding two weeks prior to the GP letter. I’m looking at next year as a fresh start again for weddings.”

Chris is at home with his fiancée Lauren and their dog Rossi, who they saved from going into a shelter: “Lauren wasn’t home for the first two weeks but she is now.

“We’ve just been relying on Tesco deliveries and family occasionally dropping things off. Just the other day we opened the door to the Tesco man, our dog ran out and he gave the dog a biscuit. I was upstairs and I lent out and took a picture.

“I think I’ve taken over 600 photos during lockdown. I’ve been posting some of them on my website. I’ve been thinking when this is over I might put them in a book.”

Explaining the title of his photoblog, Chris said: “Part of the title ‘Not Just A Wedding Photographer’ was based on what some of my friends who are wedding photographers have said. When lockdown came in they said they were going to lock away their cameras for a few months.

“My argument is if you’re a photographer you like taking pictures, you don’t just pick up the camera because you’re getting paid to do a wedding.”

Of the blog he said: “I didn’t do it as an isolation thing or a Covid thing. It’s just me taking pictures. I’m terrible with words which is why I get Lauren to proof read and edit my blogs.

“I could take a picture of something, maybe it’s a dishcloth in a nice light, someone could look at it and say, ‘that’s the fall of humanity’. The shot of the shadow of the hand on the wall, it’s just a hand on the wall but some people may think it’s symbolic.

“I don’t know if I get that side of art yet. I would just look at a photo and say I like the lighting without getting the deeper meaning.”

Chris sent one of his photos to Belfast Exposed and they have started sharing his blog via their website: “I emailed Belfast Exposed, I wasn’t that familiar with them. I never thought to reach out, to advertise, I just took photos for myself.

“They’ve been very good to me, it’s encouraged me a lot.”

Discussing his favourite lockdown snap Chris said: “It’s hard for me to pick a favourite photograph. I look back at some photos a week later and think about how I could have done it better.

“I like the one of me and Lauren playing badminton in the living room. We’d been playing outside but it was really windy, it kept going over into the neighbours’ garden and we’d to ask for it back. So we went indoors instead.

“I’ve got a lot of good feedback about the one with the medication. I don’t tell clients that I have cystic fibrosis because I couldn’t be in better health. I’ve been on ivacaftor, which is that blue tablet in the photo, for six years, it’s a game-changer for my cystic fibrosis.

“It’s been something I’ve been keeping a wee bit of a secret. I’d probably beaten myself up about it thinking clients wouldn’t hire me for a wedding if they thought I might drop out. This has given me more confidence to open up about myself.”