Being in a third lockdown and experiencing a university term incredibly different from the last has certainly brought its fair share of challenges. As well as a difference in my mood and motivation, I have noticed a shift in my artistic practice. Pre-Covid, I tended to draw a great deal of inspiration from other people’s artistic energies. Needless to say, being surrounded by fewer people has had an impact on my inspiration for both illustrations and photography. Nevertheless, this has not necessarily been a negative thing as I have had the chance to develop my style, and have started to put more thought into what I am trying to capture and convey through my art. I have done a great deal of introspection and evaluation about the beauty of candidness; not only am I putting more thought into the photographs I take but the spotlight of my focus has shifted from the environment to human emotions and expressions. 

Three months ago, I would have described my photography as bold, expressive, colourful, and dramatic – reflective of my new adventure at university, meeting new people and the excitement of beginning a new chapter of my life. Though people frequently featured in my photographs, the focus was rarely close up on their expressions and I enjoyed playing with light, colours, and surroundings. 

Naturally, going on more walks outside has given me the opportunity to shift from urban settings to rural surroundings. Many of my recent photographs have metamorphosised into candid portrait photos focusing on finer details and expressions. 

Settling down and routine are things I would have viewed negatively a few months ago, as I enjoy the thrill of variety and breaking free from repetition. However, I think that there is a certain beauty in the following photos which convey sincerity and the complexity of human experience. 

In addition to photographs that I have taken in my leisure time, I have also been engaging in editorial photography for articles. This has certainly resulted in me putting more thought into how I can convey a message through metaphor. There is something incredibly rewarding about envisioning a photograph and seeing it come to fruition from a conceptual idea in my mind to a digital image on a screen. 

With the end of lockdown in sight, I do not think that I will return to my old style of photography. As with many things in life, I think that my old style is reflective of the stage of my maturity and view of the world at that point in time. Moving forward and easing out of lockdown, I imagine that my style will continue to progress, focusing on human emotion and expression. Just like other aspects of my life, there are some things that will be tainted for better or for worse as a result of this pandemic. My style of photography has undoubtedly changed, but instead of viewing this negatively, I am excited to see how it develops. Change is inevitable regardless of the time, place, or situation and I want to see this lockdown as having been an opportunity for growth, particularly in the artistic realm. 

All photos have been taken within the same household, in compliance with government regulation. 

Khadijah Ali

Outside of her German degree, Khadijah is a blog writer, artist and yoga enthusiast. She enjoy writing about personal development, life advice and lessons from her travels.