“Everything contains some special purpose and a hidden blessing; what then could be strange or arduous when all of life is here to greet you like an old and faithful friend?” — Marcus Aurelius
Looking for the light in such difficult times can be hard, but it’s something we have done for millennia. Even in the strangest of times, we call upon reserves of creativity and use all our means to reach out to others. We do this as naturally as breathing and it is extraordinary in its ordinariness. When the lockdown began in Austria on Friday 13thMarch, it became clear that the creative community that surrounded our Canon team – Ambassadors, trainers in the Canon Academy and, of course, friends – were not going to stop doing the thing they love most. Instead, their lives shifted and adapted. And so ‘Home Stories’ was born, a series of short videos where they used what they have in their homes to create a window into their worlds. They inspire, delight, and take viewers on a journey from the earliest moments of the lockdown, through to the middle of May, as we all adjust to a ‘new normal’ together.
Be calm and look to the possibilities
‘Series One’ of Home Stories is one of humour and adaptability – finding fun in confinement and learning what’s possible. Viewers joined the award-winning photographers and conservationists Marc Graf and Christine Sonvilla in their home, wearing full camouflage as they wait to photograph a house spider. Markus Morawetz turns the attentions of his trademark ‘soulful storytelling’ to the wonderful imagination of little daughter and her beloved cuddle toys in ‘Fluffy Stories’. This early suite of charming videos is completed by Carrie of Craftzaloon, who invites us into her home studio to learn how to create floral watercolours, and Robert Lösch’s dramatic live action splatter painting photography.
Breathe deeply and find variety
Photography is all about diversity and change. In ‘Series Two’, the videos reflect a gentle change in outlook, with Canon Academy Trainer, Petra Selbertinger turns the attentions of her action photography to her incredibly cute lockdown buddies – Sammy and Sue. Travel photographer and Canon Trainer Bernhard Brenner returns to his roots as a teacher, home schooling his sons in image-making. And what a superb job he did – his sons Bastian and Valentine are responsible for the camera work and logistics, respectively. “Great Coffee”, is literally that – a worshipful examination of the beautiful bean from Vienna School of Photography owner, Karl Füsselberger, who is able to create actual coffee cravings using a magnifying lens. Freelance photographer Lea Waser and her family recreate ‘The Polar Express’ on the living room floor of their home in Zurich and Philipp Klemm creates an unexpectedly soothing experience, as he spring cleans his huge collection of Canon gear.
We awaken and discover
As the global story unfolds, so do the tales of Canon Austria’s community. The country slowly returns to life. Not as before, but cautiously and with hope. Laughter returns and street photography feels possible, but for others the limitations stay in place and projects remain paused, awaiting safer times. For others, the lockdown has taken them on a slightly new creative journey. ‘Mask Love’ (maskenliebe) is the new venture of fashion designer and art therapist Désirée Hackl. While event producer Liliana Klein finds herself at home for the first time in a long time and muses on the most important thing: spending time with your loved ones.
“All of life is here.”
Part lockdown diary and part inspiration with a huge dash of intimacy thrown in, Home Stories is nothing short of eye-opening. It gives us snapshots of real lives, where the camera isn’t simply there to record – it’s an integral part of every contributor’s life. Whether normally in front or behind the lens, each has used their camera to navigate a complex and difficult time in human history and they let us use their stories to spark ideas and take comfort, “like an old and faithful friend”.
All Canon Austria’s Home Stories can be found on Facebook.