Byron Shire News
Byron Shire News

Photographers capture connection in time of isolation

THE experiences that have arisen from the Covid-19 pandemic are as diverse as they are complex.

Whatever this time has meant for you, it's likely to be a period you'll remember for many years.

Two photographers have shared how they've been capturing isolation and immortalising this time.

Like so many businesses, Jasmin Sleeman said her photographic work took a hit when non-essential activities were restricted.


Photographer Jasmine Sleeman with her children.
Photographer Jasmine Sleeman with her children.

"Once we moved into isolation, I soon realised I would need to think outside the square and approach the way I do business differently, for now," she said.

"In my own household we have been enjoying the slower life.

"We've been camping in the backyard, toasting marshmallows more than I care to admit, playing family games, surfing more frequently and connecting more than ever.

"I started picking up my camera more at home and documenting our own life in isolation and I was reminded that you don't need a breathtaking location for photos that take your breath away, nor do you need a beautiful house for photos that are full of beauty."

Ms Sleeman has been offering portrait packages by shooting families in their homes from a safe distance.

"It's so cliche, but really all you need is love," Ms Sleeman said.

Her Extraordinary Sessions document life as we've come to know it in isolation.

"From a distance, on your driveway and front porch, through windows and doors, I'll remind you that there is so much extra in the ordinary and your children and your children's children will have these memories to look back on and talk about a time when the world was a different place," she said.


Sheri D'Rosario‎ has been photographing children in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Sheri D'Rosario‎ has been photographing children in isolation during the Covid-19 pandemic.


"I always feel so privileged to have people trust me to capture their family and loved ones, and to have them welcome me into their home.

"At a time like this, it feels like an even greater privilege.

She said many of her clients planned for this time had hired her for photo shoots during holidays to Byron Bay, famil reunions or elopements, but this was all impacted when travel restrictions came into effect.

While she's been enjoying slowing down with her family, Ms Sleeman said she was "careful not to romanticise a time when people are struggling and lives are being lost".

"I'm focusing on what I can control and that's keeping my family and myself happy and healthy and looking at new ways to do business in these challenging times," she said.

"Something that I've been really buoyed by is the support and sense of community among the photography industry.

"Everyone is lifting each other up, and that's a beautiful thing."

Ms Sleeman has a background in marketing and communications, and she regularly took photos for that role.

While on maternity leave, she invested in a professional kit and began her photographic work as a side-hustle six years ago.

"My daughter was (and still is) my muse," she said.

"I was posting photos I took of her to my social media accounts and it wasn't long before friends and people in our wider community started engaging me to take family portraits.

"Today, I am really proud to call myself a photographer and am just as passionate, if not more, about preserving family stories through photos."

Sheri D'Rosario is a child psychologist and has been a hobby photographer for eight years.

Ms D'Rosario has undertaken a photojournalistic project during the pandemic. At last count, she'd completed 22 shoots involving about 42 children.

This has included photo shoots in the Byron Bay, Ocean Shores and Ballina areas.

She began the project for her own "creative purposes" but now hopes the works could form an exhibition.

"It was sort of sparked by the fact every year on my kids' birthdays I try to take photos of them and capture what's happening for them during that year of their life," she said.

She's been photographing children through the windows of their homes, focusing on capturing how they're feeling during this time.

"I'm a child psychologist which is why I'm fascinated by the emotional experience," she said.

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