After one brief email exchange, I was suddenly working from home just days before total lockdown. I was unprepared and this, in so many respects, forced me to make use of what I had, including photographically. Having no sense of timescale regarding the lockdown period, it felt appropriate to work in an experimental way to mirror the unpredictable nature of life during COVID-19.
I use a Polaroid SX-70 for much of my photographic work and selected a collection of images I had taken over the preceding months which reflected aspects of my everyday life. I placed sets of images in cleaning solutions- and contained them in boxes, just as we were to be.
As the life we knew disintegrated around us, the chemistry of the images altered, rendering the original scenes unrecognisable. During a period when something microscopic had us in its grip, new landscapes with a cellular quality were created in their place. Sharply contrasting the devastating world news, a beauty was emerging- one I was also experiencing as the pace of my life changed and I became more acutely aware and appreciative of my surroundings.
I started removing the Polaroids and photographing them at key moments as restrictions were lifted. The first prints were taken out on May 13th with the initial easing of measures, followed by a set on June 1st when some children returned to school. Subsequently, images have been removed as shops and restaurants have reopened, followed by more extensive lifting of restrictions; the most recent being on September 1st when I returned to work.
Naomi James was born in Surrey in 1965. She studied Human Psychology at Loughborough University before completing her Post Graduate Certificate of Education. Since then, she has worked as a primary school teacher.
Naomi's interest in photography developed from a childhood fascination in the darkroom process. Her father had been a portrait photographer and often emerged from the darkroom with his clothes splattered in chemicals. This sense of mysterious alchemy appealed to Naomi and is at the root of much of her experimental work.Naomi is largely self-taught with a particular interest in Polaroid photography and alternative processes. Much of Naomi's work is shot using a Polaroid SX-70 camera. She also works with cyanotype and anthotype processes.
Naomi is based in South London. She is an active member of Photofusion, Shutter Hub and London Independent Photography.
Naomi has been involved in a number of group exhibitions, including Photofusion Salon/12/16/17/18, Shutter Hub Home (Usk, Wales), Street Form ( Rotterdam, Netherlands), Everyday Delight (London) and Postcards from Great Britain, (Haarlem, Netherlands; Lisbon, Portugal) . She recently received a commendation for London Independent Photography's Chronicles of Lockdown exhibition and was Laura Noble's Judge's Choice at the 2020 Fix Photo Awards.