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  • Writer's pictureCaroline Horne

So long 2020...

2020! Wow you were some year and you haven’t been an easy year by any means. The year of the mass produced banana loaf, proving you could make a soda bread, trying to homeschool, exercising to Joe Wicks, a lot of country walks, an insane amount of running and a mad dash across town, hoping not to get stopped by the police to drop off a supply of PPE to my sister in law who works at the hospital. Staying in was the new thing, we spent hours in our gardens as, you’ve got to admit the weather was extremely kind to us. Lockdown tans and hot tubs were pretty much the in thing. But being brutally honest, the one thing I absolutely dreaded the most was homeschooling the boys, age 11 and 6, and I’m sure I wasn’t the only one tempted to put gin on their cornflakes in the morning just to get through Google Classrooms or Joe Wicks’ star jumps! Having to google what modal verbs or subordinate clauses are was slightly embarrassing. For me school was a long time ago and I actually did better in my French GCSE then English Language. I’m not entirely sure how that happened. Arts and crafts soon became the favourite subject leaving forest school activities to my husband who deserved a well earned break from his work to do some fun outdoorsy activities. Practical lessons learning about William Tell were swiftly banned.

Our youngest attempted to get out of his school work on a daily basis throwing every excuse at me, the best being, “Mummy, you can do your work first and then I’ll do mine.” He’s a crafty one. So work, unsurprising stalled somewhat but fortunately just prior to this, on the cusp of lockdown, I had been photographing a large conference in an eerily quiet London followed by a charity event which kept me busy for a bit afterwards. Weddings which were due to take place were moved to 2021 quite swiftly and it feels quite strange not to have photographed any this year. Then I took to faffing about with my rather out of date website which needs attention once again after a brilliantly productive December.

So if you asked me what my highlight of the year was, I know exactly what it is. It wasn’t seeing my work feature on ITV’s This Morning, or C4s Packed Lunch with Stef, or 7 images in The Sun newspaper, or work printed in number of magazines, or photographing some ex England footballer who goes by the name of Pyscho or having a great debate about whether jam or cream goes first on a scone with Welsh rugby player, Scott Quinnell, but it has to be photographing a brilliant project born out of lockdown which saw 12 year old Noah and his painted backgrounds collaborate with over 250 artists around the world to create a collection of incredible art and his charity book, Background Bob and his amazing friends raising vital funds for Ipswich and Colchester Hospital. It was pretty cool to have one of my images immortalised on a famous bridge in Peterborough opposite an iconic image of Keith Flint from The Prodigy. I still need to see it and hopefully I may get the chance to in 2021. You can read all about it in my October blog.

A large proportion of the year’s work took place outside, working at distance with clients. Over the years I’ve worked with Michael Perry, aka Mr Plantgeek on a number of photoshoots which has in turn led to a variety of client introductions. With his expertise and guidance, it has helped improve my plant photography enabling me to capture them at their best. My first post-lockdown summer shoot with Michael, set at the stunning location of Columbine Hall in Suffolk, went on to be featured in Rowse Honey’s Feed The Bees campaign. We then headed to a spectacular colourful field of Sweet Peas thanks to the kind permission of Kings Seeds to photograph Michael’s new plant based limited edition t-shirts.

Continuing with floral photography, I returned to Gabriel’s Garden who required e-commerce images for their new flowers by post service. The garden is one of my favourite places to photograph so it was lovely to be invited back.

Being able to work outside, even in the rain, always gives me great enjoyment and I was really pleased to be asked to produce a set of photographic images to accompany Kiln Farm Nursery’s new website beautifully created by Angie and Franzi of Studio Brand Up. I’ve now been back to Kiln Farm on a number of occasions since to produce more floral/produce work to be used for various floral and plant-based blogs, for floral writer Ruth Goudy. Hiding in a poly-tunnel surrounded by colourful cyclamens and hellebores allows you forget what is happening around us for a few much needed minutes.

Product photography continued at one end of the kitchen table whilst the boys were doing their school work at the other end or bribed with their tablets so they wouldn’t fiddle with a big bag of Himalayan Bloomy salt which needed a culinary setting or Arya's fragrant candle to inspire our stay at home holiday senses.

More recently, it was good to meet up with Rosy owner of Crystal Rose Skin Clinic who has been a loyal client for 4 years to produce some more commercial imagery for the clinic. Sadly due to Tier 4 the clinic, like many businesses across the UK, has had to close its doors temporarily again. Rosy, a registered nurse, has donned her scrubs once again this year returning to the CCU department of Ipswich Hospital helping those at need through this time and I wish her all the very best.

As 2020 draws to a close, and looking back on this challenging year, I have a huge amount to be thankful for, mine and my family’s health for one but admiration to those whose businesses have been affected enormously throughout the year who have admirably supported Caroline Horne Suffolk Photography in many ways so I can continue doing the work I love doing. So a BIG Thank You to all the small independent businesses and families who I’ve had the pleasure of working with but also to all those who are putting themselves at risk and going the extra mile to help others through each day.

I’m not entirely sure where 2021 will take us but I know I will be still photographing away as best I can. I wish you all well, follow the guidelines and take great care, Caroline

And here I am, a few from behind the scenes.....

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