Quarantine Questionnaire: September Pictures

We got bored and wanted to know how everyone else was spending the lockdown, so we sent out a quarantine questionnaire. But first, here are our own answers (well, Rachel’s), illustrated with the fruits of our FaceTime photoshoot labour…

The basics:

Where are you spending the lockdown? We’re holed up in our flat in West Hampstead. You can’t really get a much better spot: we have a garden, neighbours we can hear moving around so never feel alone, a really great cocktail bar 12 seconds away that now does to-go bottles, a gel manicure machine, and about 19 million options for getting groceries delivered.

Who are you with? It’s just the two of us and our two babes – she’s three and he’s six months, so it gets a bit hectic. I get very little laptop time.

What can you see from your windows? Out the front: mostly quite nice houses, lots of people strolling by and not staying six feet away from each other, neighbours social-distance chatting across their steps, the odd police horse. Out the back: brand-new apple blossom, too much ivy, a pair of robins frolicking in the birdbath, the odd baby fox.

What’s the most notable sound you hear? Birds singing, sirens wailing. At least one child crying. Our ill-advised neighbours’ constant stream of guests.

 

Work:

Tell us about the last wedding you worked on: God, it was AMAZING. If it’s the last wedding we shoot for ages, at least we went out on a banger. It was at the Ace Hotel & Swim Club in Palm Springs, and it rained in the morning so the desert skies were very clear. The bride’s shoes had cat faces on them. The wedding planner was moving into floristry so went all out with the most amazing flowers. The bride’s a graphic designer so all the stationery was super-duper stylish, and included coasters with a picture we took of them holding their feline queen Olga. The ceremony included quotes from Dolly Parton, spoken solemnly while holding a prayer candle with her beaming face on it. The synchronised swimmers were a surprise, as was the groom’s rendition of Harvest Moon (complete with new personalised spoken-word bits). The food was incredible, even for us workers – we’d all already eaten seconds when they brought us a plate full of steak. The goats were adorable and the goat-topped human pyramid impressive.

Everyone was fabulously positive and then took anxious whispering breaks in the loo, always culminating with pep talks, even between strangers. The bride and her friends danced together to Dancing On My Own and I almost cried. Saying goodbye to everyone at the end of the night had a last-scene-in-a-film-before-shipping-off-to-war feeling about it – lots of earnest words, no hugs. And then as we were walking away kids were jumping in the swimming pool and the DJ was playing Under Pressure and I did cry. And now it’s been ages and we didn’t get sick so I feel ok saying it was my favourite wedding of all time.

What work are you doing instead of weddings now? I’m currently finishing the edit on our penultimate spring 2020 wedding (at the Ruby Street in Highland Park) which is great fun; once that’s delivered, I’ll move on to editing the aforementioned Palm Springs wedding, goats and all. Then once I have no more new work to edit, I’ll be jumping into my TodoIst schedule: I always have a massive list of work I never get around to doing, so in theory I’ll be working on that stuff: catching up with former clients, updating the website with all the shoots we never blogged, adding more travel photography to our print shop, and so on. But with a tiny baby on my hip and a toddler who no longer has a nursery to keep her busy five days a week, my life’s now about 95 per cent childcare and five per cent eating/showering/sleeping, so to be honest it’s a real challenge getting any work done at all. My most successful project at the moment is the one I can do one-handed on my phone while breastfeeding: amplifying posts from other wedding-y businesses on Instagram stories (check the “work from home” highlights parts one and two if you’re looking for things to do/make/buy while on lockdown).

What’s your advice for any couple planning a wedding at the moment? Don’t give up. (I have to tell myself that a billion times a day, too – my anxiety’s pretty wild even when there’s not a pandemic.) You might not get married when you’d planned, and it might not be exactly as expected, but it’ll happen eventually and your wedding will still be brilliant. And, book all your vendors ASAP, because all the 2020 weddings being postponed for a year mean everyone’s 2021 calendar is getting slammed already. Don’t delay!

How can people support your business? There are SO many ways, and all of them result in you or someone you love getting first-class photography so it’s a win-win, really. Book a FaceTime photoshoot (or invite us and our longest

lenses to your front gate for some London doorstep portraits if you’re near us in NW6). You can book us NOW to shoot your wedding photography or your engagement pictures or some anniversary portraits in the future… or you can buy gift cards to give someone else a future shoot (or stick ‘em on your registry, and get someone else to buy one for you). And we were already starting to ramp up our family photography, so tell all your pregnant friends! If we’ve already worked with you (hi!) we’re still making albums, phonebooks, prints, etc, so get in touch and we’ll make something wonderful for you. And our print shop ships worldwide: if you’re going to be at home, you need some nice art for your gallery wall.
 

Quarantine quick quiz:

What activity takes up most of your quarantine time? Real talk: breastfeeding. It’s so frequent. And then walking around the living room jiggling him when he no longer wants breastfeeding but is still sad because he’s teething. And also… picking things up. Why is everything always on the floor?

What do you miss most about pre-lockdown life? The illusion of financial stability. The naive sense of optimism. That whole “2020 is going to be our best year ever” energy. Work that I was good at and that people valued! And also iced chai lattes. But I already wanted to quit them because I don’t want to give coffee shops all my money so it’s probably good that I’m being forced to go cold turkey.

What’s your quarantine vice? Salted caramel ice cream. Medjool dates dipped in double cream. The Old Fashioned from Heads & Tails. Tiramisú. Port. Pumpkin and sage quadrotti with olive oil and sea salt. God, this list is excruciatingly middle class. I swear I’m a factory worker’s daughter, honest.

Lockdown uniform? It’s REALLY bad: jeggings. Sometimes leggings. But mostly jeggings. And then whatever t-shirt on top, although today I was putting on my nice pink and white tie-die “ENTHUSIAST” shirt and the three year old came in and said, “Mamá, no wear that. I want you wear black.” because apparently we’re raising a mini goth.

What’s been your favourite book/tv/film/music so far? I’ve been so crazed with our daughter off nursery and weddings to edit that I’ve consumed no content longer than Tweets recently. But on our frantic flight back from Los Angeles to London immediately pre-lockdown I watched Knives Out, which I loved, and Jojo Rabbit, which I REALLY loved and made me cry and possibly has made me a slightly less rubbish mother? I really didn’t expect Scarlett Johansson to have that effect on me. And we watched both series’ of Succession right before [gestures expansively] all of this and it sparks so much joy (repulsed joy?) that I’ve basically been replaying the entire thing in my head scene by scene ever since, so that’s almost like watching it again.
If you could travel anywhere in the world right now, where would it be? SO MANY PLACES. I’ve spent most of my career as a travel photographer and writer, so I’ve been really spoilt. I’m mostly craving a return to Morocco. We went on our honeymoon, which feels like some sort of alternate universe right now, and haven’t been back together since. I want to be lounging in a hammock in the courtyard at El Fenn.

If you could be quarantined with three other people – alive or dead, real or fictional – who would you pick and why? Nigella Lawson, Cardi B and Elizabeth Warren. I feel like I’d come out of it an all-round better person.

 

More lockdown content (quantent?) soon, in our next Quarantine Questionnaire.

Where to next?