Life Through A Lens: Local Photographer Captures Cotswolds During Covid-19
Local photographer, Mark Anthony Sweeting, has captured the unique beauty of the Cotswolds countryside during Covid-19 lockdown in a special 2021 calendar – using just his camera phone. And he says, the photography has not only helped keep him grounded during lockdown, but also provide a stress release as relaxation measures have been introduced over recent weeks. His hope is that his images might inspire others, too.
Mark, a Youth Support worker at a Special Needs School, from Burleigh in Stroud, started his collection of snaps whilst out on his bike and on his walks around the county, as part of his daily quota of allowable exercise.
He comments; “We’ll all remember the blisteringly good weather we had at the start of lockdown. It was like summer had come early and, for me, it felt like a recompense from Mother Nature. As soon as I could safely get out and enjoy the great weather and stunning scenery, I did – and continue to do so – as I’ve fallen in love with the Cotswolds all over again”.
During lockdown, Mark walked and cycled the length and breadth of the Cotswolds – his home county – and took photographs of his travels on his mobile phone; of places and things that caught his imagination or inspired a pause to reflect. It was a perfect antidote to the stresses of lockdown life.
“Take time to stop, take time to look and then breathe, and then when you really look, you’ll see”.
He continues; “Being a key worker throughout lockdown was really stressful. I took to my bike and started taking photographs of things and places that made me happy and grateful - all from my mobile phone”.
Before long, he realised he had a unique body of work that was not only highly stylised but inherently Cotswolds, capturing the very best of 2020, so far – an exceptional year and one that would hit the history books. This range of outstanding photographic cards and accompanying calendar would be his visual legacy to an extraordinary year showing nature at its most beautiful.
“Mother Nature provides us with such beauty especially here in the Cotswolds. I’m lucky enough to call this stunning area ‘home’ for which I’m grateful each and every day. Before I knew it, I had a huge collection and one that continues to grow every day”, adds Mark.
Rather than leave the pictures on his camera-roll, like most of us do, Mark has taken his collection of lockdown photographs and turned them into a limited edition Calendar and 24 keep-me cards in the hope that others can reflect and enjoy the positives and beauty of the Cotswolds, captured during Covid-19.
His 2021 Calendar launched across the Cotswolds earlier this month and the orders are already flying in locally and from across the globe – with one being shipped to the United States.
Independent gift shop, Made In Stroud, who are proud stockists of the keep-me cards and calendars comments; “The Cotswolds is such a gem of a county to photograph – but this collection of images by Mark is something extraordinary. Mark has captured something magical and unique in each photograph and they’re an inspiring collection to admire every day”.
Far from this being a lockdown hobby, Mark continues his expeditions in and around the county, armed with his trusty mobile phone.
Those interested in stocking the calendars and cards should email Mark via his website, www.cotswoldscards.co.uk