Meet the Moyles : A Beaumaris Lifestyle Home Session in 2020
This was a family home session with a bit of a twist.
It was a gift from me to Alan, his wife Vikashni, and their two children, Saffron (8) and Fox (2.)
Now, let me explain why.
As a result, we’ve crossed paths over the course of some 14 years at the annual Australian Professional Photography Awards (APPA) and other photography events. I joined the AIPP as a student member in 2007 and Alan’s judged at the national awards most of that time – and even longer at state awards.
You know how you get to know someone’s face and name but don’t actually know each other all that well?! A bit like that really 😊.
Fast-forward to March 2020 and the world – it seemed – was in full COVID lockdown.
Subsequently, I was at home with our three kids while my husband, Dan, was able to keep working on-site (away from home.)
I was weeks into having the kids at home 24/7 (imagine that: having to be with and care for your own children ALL the time – how rude! 😊) and a couple more weeks on top of that into home schooling and it was Full. On. (Though very much a first-world problem, I acknowledge. A problem, really, I was pretty damn grateful to have. Health, safety, a roof over our heads, food to eat, shit tins of toilet paper – pardon the pun – and some income still attainable ✅. Many of the things easily taken as a given while for so many at the time, they weren’t.)
I wasn’t able to work in my usual role as a photographer documenting newborns and families in their homes anymore.
Meanwhile, out of the blue I saw some pretty cool black and white family documentary-style photos trickling into my Facebook news feed and…
I was Jealous
Articles and posts were circulating online about The Front Steps Project and the different iterations of it that were sprouting up around the Western world.
Consequently, I was pining to do something just like it during COVID times – photographing families at home is my speciality after all God-dammit! [Insert toddler-like foot stomp here.]
Instead, [cue sorrowful music from the world’s smallest violin] I was ‘stuck’ at home, caring for the kids a.k.a making what felt like 6000 snacks and drinks a day, trying dutifully (but occasionally failing) to complete brimming daily home learning curriculums, attending the occasional professional development Zoom session while shooing away said children throughout, playing levels upon levels of Super Mario Bros. on the Wii with our son, monitoring whose turn it was to choose the next movie, washing, tidying, making mess, cleaning up mess, not washing my hair, sneaking into the office to try to get some work done, blah, blah, blah…and on repeat.
The cool black and white family documentary photos on Facebook were Alan’s. He’d started a social distancing photo documentary series of locked down people and families around his local Bayside area in Melbourne…and in short, I was super envious.
Such a fun idea.
A little hectic I imagined, but super interesting and I was loving the few photos I’d already seen.
Pretty neat images right?
I’d be lying by omission though if I didn’t acknowledge a large part of me was spitting green chips.
As the primary carer in our family – the mum – I wasn’t in the position to do a cool project like Alan’s.
The perceived freedom didn’t exist; my time was not my own (very much a #firstworldproblem, I know.)
‘Home duties’ beckoned (a quick aside: that was the literal job title used for many women on electoral rolls back in the day. Please excuse me for a moment while I scoop my rolled eyeballs back from deep inside my head 🙄.)
I was finding the monotony and isolation of lockdown life and home learning difficult to break.
(Meanwhile, little did I know Melbourne had many more months of it to come 🤦🏻♀️.)
As a result, I pined to be literally pounding the suburban pavement – camera in hand – interacting with other families just like Alan was.
However, if I couldn’t do it I was thrilled to at least be living it vicariously through him. Better than nothing indeed.
A Small Part to Play
I racked my brain as to how I could do something – anything – to get a taste of the photo doco action (and perhaps get the hell out of the house!)
And it was pretty bloody obvious really.
So I reached out to Alan asking if he and his family wanted some lockdown photos of their own. No charge, no sales. It was only fitting the person who managed to take photos for 100 families in his local council, end up with some of his own. (Like I said, exceptionally obvious in hindsight right?!)
THAT, I could do.
And it felt bloody good.
I contacted Alan on 18 May 2020 and my offer was met with a swift ‘yes, thank you.’ The next day, I video called with he and Vikashni and met the whole family days later in-person for their home session on Sunday 24 May.
Good in Theory
Truth bomb round two: photographing a professional photographer is bloody intimidating.
Alan’s as friendly as they come – but it’s completely irrelevant!
To clarify, imagine a chef preparing a meal for another chef or a hair stylist finessing a colleague’s hair.
See what I mean?!
There’s definitely an extra level of pressure – be it real or perceived.
Fortunately, the Moyle crew are super chilled so it didn’t take long for all of us to melt into their home session with ease and the same sense of informality that’s become the signature of my home session work.
Watch the Moyle’s 2-minute home session slideshow:
“Thank you for the photos [Katrina.] They’re really good – like really, really good…It’s definitely the best family photo shoot we’ve ever had. By a long way.”Alan Moyle
Bayside At Home
Alan’s personal project ‘Bayside At Home’ is focused on family life in lockdown or in other words, the strange ‘new normal’ we were thrust into during the COVID global pandemic.
Given restrictions (and much like the viral Front Steps Project aforementioned) all images photographed were captured from the required 1.5 meters away, as per social distancing requirements.
“This is an incredible time in families’ lives…so, it should be documented,” Alan said.
He created a 6-minute YouTube clip turbo journaling the whole project from start to finish:
Behind the Scenes
Melbourne locked down for the first time on 30 March 2020. Alan photographed his first family for the project on April 16.
Subsequently, Vikashni held the fort at home for the two-week period over which all the sessions spanned.
“I’m extremely thankful to my wife for letting me do this!”Alan Moyle
Some 100 families were photographed in total – a task Alan described as ‘logistically crazy’ – and the first run of the finished ‘Bayside At Home’ book was completed in August 2020.
“What I love about [the book] is the fact that it’s in a whole heap of families’ homes all around Bayside…it’s even been shipped off to America to a couple of people, which is pretty cool,” Alan said.
“I’m grateful for all the families who jumped into the book [project.]”
Alan published an unplanned second print run due to demand. Meanwhile, copies of the book now reside in the National Library of Australia in Canberra, the State Library Victoria in Melbourne and all the local libraries in the Bayside City Council.
“Extra special levels of love and appreciation to my family: Vikashi, Saffron and Fox, who had to survive lockdown with me being fully focused on this project 24/7 for two weeks.”Alan Moyle (in the acknowledgments section of ‘Bayside at Home’)
To see the complete collection of family photos in Alan’s ‘Bayside at Home’ project, click through below (& enjoy!)
Many thanks to the Moyles: Alan, Vikashni, Saffron and Fox for welcoming me in to take their home session photos.
Please contact me if you’d like to arrange a home session of your own (or for someone near and dear to you.) Thank you.