‘Smile, You’re on Covid Camera!’

In this difficult time of lockdown, when boredom sets in and tempers start to fray, it’s nice when someone in the community comes along with an idea to cheer everyone up and bring people together, writes Malcolm Storer.

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For the lucky residents of Mobberley, in Cheshire, that ‘someone’ is their very own lifestyle and branding photographer – Ailsa Bee.

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In a touching series of beautifully conceived photographs, Ailsa roamed the village of Mobberley documenting — at a safe distance of course! —  her fellow residents in the midst of their self-imposed isolation. At first glance these photos appear playful, light-hearted even. But in years to come I’m sure they will go down as historical record.

I asked Ailsa how she came up with the idea.

“My friend sent me an article of a photographer in Brighton who had done window photos – I loved it and thought it would be fantastic in Mobberley. I shared the article on “Mobberley Matters” Facebook page and asked if anyone would be up for it.

I expected maybe 4 or 5 of my friends to say “why not!” but actually there was a brilliant reaction and over the following couple of weeks, more and more people asked to be involved.

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To date, 74 households who have taken part, with another 10 or so left on my list!”

Times are hard for everyone — you’re a single mum with two young daughters — so why did you put in so much effort?

“I really only did it for fun – my work is much more limited at the moment and I thought it would be a good opportunity to do something just for creativity’s sake – when everything you usually do is a job to pay the bills, it can lose its shine a bit.

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So, it’s nice to do a project every now and then just to fall in love with what you do again. People have suggested that I charge a small amount or raise money for charity, but for me, it would change things if money was involved – I think sometimes, doing something just for joy is value enough.”

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Did you have funny encounters while you were doing the project?

“Yes! A friend wore a gas mask for his family portrait, some kids wore unicorn and elephant heads. As for the vicar and his wife – well – they were stood waiting for me in bright shorts, red sequins, with teapot and prosecco. If that’s not spreading joy I don’t know what is!”

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Couldn’t have put it better myself. Well done Ailsa!

For more information contact — www.ailsabeephotography.co.uk

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