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“I’ve always tried to maintain a positive outlook in life, and I think that is key to success. ”

Francesca Kingsley - Photographer
Dear me,

Dear me,

I’m writing you a letter from the middle of lockdown in 2020. No one would have believed me three months ago that this is the situation we would find ourselves in. The world as we know it has been turned upside down.

As a photographer, I am used to capturing beautiful moments between couples, families and children. The weddings have all been moved to next year, and I cannot even see my own family, let alone others. Now we cannot be together. This has been one of the truly heart-breaking things about this virus. It has preyed upon the instinct for human touch.

There are many ways in which you can prepare for an uncertain future, in fact we all should, as we cannot possibly know how life if going to turn out. Try to think about the positives in all situations.

Change is inevitable in your life time, it’s how you adapt to it that will set you apart. Many people change their careers throughout their lifetime, and I truly believe that being flexible and willing to learn is the best way to cope with this. I am always looking to learn new skills both in the office, and out on location.

This has been one of the hardest parts of lockdown for me, not being able to meet new people and work with clients apart from online. I really love people, and miss face-to-face contact, but we all have to learn to adapt. At least for now.

You should always be willing to learn new skills. Within the past few months we have all become masters at video conferencing – even my five year-old knows how to log onto Zoom! Technology can never replace human contact, but in the mean time it has meant we have been able to see each other’s faces. Poor grandma doesn’t even get a choice these days if my children want to FaceTime her at 9am on a Saturday. 

Since lockdown I think everyone has appreciated their friends, families and teachers more than ever. Speaking to people prior to lockdown was very rare for me, I was always too busy trying to keep everything going. Now we have all been forced to slow down and appreciate we cannot do it all. I for one, will actually miss the slower pace of life.

It has highlighted to many of us how important our health and wellbeing is. We have begun to cook more meals from scratch, pulling recipes from our huge selection of unused books. Our weekly cake baking session has become part of the timetable, although I NEVER want to eat chocolate banana bread again!

Keeping our minds healthy has also been vitally important, this has not been easy for anyone. We have dusted off the bikes, replaced tyres and taken up cycling every weekend. It has been such a great way to bond as a family, and we’ve found places we didn’t even know existed. Connecting with nature again has really helped balance our minds, especially when you can watch it changing and developing regardless of this virus.

As we work through the weekly remote learning timetable at school, we always talk about how we are feeling today. There has been a massive change in the method of learning, and my children have been amazing adapting to their new way of life. As parents and teachers, we have worked as a team with our children to support them in their new ‘schools’. Don’t get me wrong though, there have been massive lows as well as highs, it’s how you manage them that counts.

I’ve always tried to maintain a positive outlook in life, and I think that is key to success. Yes, life can be tough, this can never have been planned for, but try to adapt to the situation. My photography work stopped overnight, with no warning. However, as a mum to two boys I realised I would need to support them more.

After the first few weeks of lockdown I began taking photos of families on their doorsteps, with my telescopic lenses (so I am nowhere near the subjects). These were done for charity, raising money for the NHS. It was so nice to be able to give something back to my small community, who had pulled together so quickly in the face of this crisis. It was great to start working a little bit again, and making people smile.

Life has changed immeasurably over these past few months, but I for one have really appreciated spending more time with my children, planting more flowers and enjoying nature, eating locally produced food, speaking to my wonderful neighbours on a daily basis, and making more toilet roll animals than I ever knew possible.

Over the past few weeks, work has steadily started picking up again, and I have hope for the future, but for some businesses it will be the end. After lockdown is lifted I would ask you to be kinder to people, to think what they may have gone through. Families have lost loved ones (including me), and not been able to grieve properly. Some have lost businesses and even their homes. If you can give back to your community, do. Not because you will get something for it, but because it’s the right thing to do.

My advice to you is always work hard, remain determined and be prepared to change. Also, be kind to your teachers…and parents! They want the best for you.