Lessons from Lockdown: Surfer & Photographer Abbi Hughes

As part of our debut launch - Lessons from Lockdown - we’re on a mission to connect with individuals to uncover some of the greatest lessons pandemic life taught them.

This week we connected with photographer & surfer @abbihughes_photo to share her lockdown low-down.

Image: @charlottesamsphotography

Who is Abbi?

My daily life is centred around the ocean. As a photographer based in Cornwall, I find it influences most aspects of my life. It’s my sanctuary, my livelihood and my passion. 

I use photography to try and capture the intrinsic nature of the sea by focusing in on the textual patterns it creates. They somehow convey the turbulent sense of power but also the tranquillity it can provide.  

Image credit: @abbihughes_photo

What did lockdown look like for you?

When Covid-19 became prominent in all our lives, lockdowns inhibited our ways of living. The sense of the uncertainty prevailed, imbuing life with a disquieted unease.

A word that will sum up many peoples experiences of lockdown is isolation. Isolation from family and friends. Isolation from places we love. For me, one of the hardest parts was isolation from the ocean. Limited access to beaches highlighted how much I relied on the ocean as a source of influence for all aspects of my creative output. It also surprised me how much it helped regulate my emotions. As an avid surfer, restricted access to what was my regular routine really affected me.  

Surfing enables me to reconnect with nature. It's hard to succinctly put into words, but the strange dichotomy between the sense of serenity conjured by the undulating tidal currents and the adrenaline rush of being powered by an unpredictable elemental force, allows my mind to clear. I am fully in the present. This provides me with a renewed perspective, allowing me to find inspiration in what could have been overlooked.  

Image credit: @abbihughes_photo

Any lockdown projects you encountered?

‘ISOlation’ is the name of my latest project, aiming to capture the turbulent time of the pandemic through a series of 35mm film images in varying ISO speeds. Going back to analogue and traditional methods of image making (compared to digital), naturally lends itself to capturing less frames, taking more control, time and precision over every moment you choose to capture. The image completely unknown until developed.

Much like the ocean, the unpredictability can be freeing. 

Thank you Abbi for sharing your lockdown journey and ISOlation project!
You can find out more about Abbi at @abbihughes_photo or check out her website

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