My Stay AT Home in Ibiza
March April and May 2020
Here are a few passing thoughts and photos that came out of my covid 19 lockdown on Ibiza.
How flippant I was back in February, like many I am sure, thinking this was something FAR away from us (we are so privileged to believe that) AND LOOK- where we are at now! A whole world closed down. STOPPED. Wow what a surreal extraordinary time we are experiencing.
So we all stopped and those who are again; privileged got to take it like a holiday- to really appreciate the time ‘off’ to stop and breath and think. To reconnect as a family, play and spend time with their kids, to decide what is important and what is not in their hectic lives. To be creative, start something new, learn something new, catch up, finish something…. I know it is not like that for everyone, not on Ibiza and not globally. There are and will be so many very hungry, stressed and desperate people. This is sad and of course not good! It is and has escalated since I began to write this- globally!
Over these weeks I and we at home have had the time to sit and think, amongst all the other daily choirs, homeschooling (not my favourite), cooking, working (just about), keeping fit (kept me sane), deciphering the news (had to stop at one point) there was some peace.
I have spent time looking for some positive, like many have I am sure. Despite the turmoil the world has been thrown into, is going through, mainly financially I do feel that the positive is there. I know many people are angry about their rights, their freedom, their beliefs but wasn’t it all just getting too much? The world felt like it was exploding!! In the last few years, definitely in Ibiza we have been watching it get busier and busier, more inhabitants, more tourist, more cars, more bars, more boats, more DJs, more photographers, JUST MORE EVERYTHING. All coming to live the Ibiza dream. It has felt like we had sold out! #ibiza !! Even Coca Cola had it on their can, this tiny little dot– it felt like it was going TOO far with too much…..
I was born and brought up on Ibiza and hold my childhood here very dear to me. This island does have some kind of magic and that is why it has had travelers passing through since the 50s or even before, that is why my parents and many others came in the 60s and 70s. It wasn’t always this famous though. When I left to study in the London in 1988, I remember telling people where I was from and it was like I had landed from outer space. ‘A little island where? The Balearics what? In the Mediterranean Sea where?’ A year later,1989-and it started to become famous, for the parties AND THEN it was always ‘you are the luckiest girl ever’ because I got to spend my whole summer on this tiny dot of paradise. Though I did not care much for the parties I know now I was a lucky girl!
It was no accident that I ended up living and working here as an adult. I knew and know how amazing it is to have my own son grow up here too. Because it is an amazing childhood for any kid. So much freedom, so much outdoor living, so much diverseness.
My work on the island has mainly been photography. I was one of the first English speaking ‘Wedding Photographers’, though I began by photographing a bit of everything. As the industry grew it was me who got the English Speaking work. Back then – from 2003/2004 I would go to meet a couple and the job would be mine, nearly no question. It was comforting for them to have a local who spoke their language (it was the British who began the big wedding trend here) and knew the island. There was a small group of us who ended up working together on most weddings. Each year there were more weddings and maybe every couple of years another wedding related supplier. It carried on growing and until recently (meaning a few years ago) I could count just about everyone involved. Yes, we were lucky to have the monopoly but it was because we had the knowledge, we are locals. We have lived here all year round, year in year out, which is not always easy financially. It is our home, so we know each other from work but also out of work. We know the beautiful spots. We know the venues, the owners of the venues, we know who is reliable and trustworthy. We know who works hard and is true to their word, who turns up. We know who to call in an emergency if something goes wrong on the day. It is a safe bet to get the local knowledge.
We are nearly all still here and most of us are still in the Wedding Business. There are also many more who love, live and have made Ibiza their homes all year round or half of the year too. But this has not where the feeling of a saturated island comes from it is so many others, flying in from everywhere. Ibiza became a place to have your wedding but it also became a place to have in your portfolio, whether a planner, photographer, hairdresser, dj…. the list goes on. I can no longer count the wedding suppliers list on my hands. Travel got big (to all destinations all over the world) and with that came destination weddings too. Our home is a destination. I am convinced Instagram and social media has played a massive part in this expansion of movement of people. It has been amazing business for many and I count myself lucky to have been part of it but I have sat and wondered whether those lovely humble days were better. In what way? Maybe easier, maybe more real, maybe more authentic. Can we compare them? Is it just evolution of business…..
When the world shut down and despite our season rapidly disappearing and most weddings postponing due to the travel restrictions, my first reaction was of relief and a feeling of a holiday; from the alarm clock and school run, from the daily routine but also from the necessity to get out there, from the continuous battle to be present globally rather than just quietly in our little community. To stop the need for the competition of the best Instagram feed with the most links and information about the bride’s dress- just for a little bit! The focus of our attention has been so swayed by all social medias, saturated by images and words (some so meaningless) that even robots write and upload. There feels like a disconnect to reality and to real sincerity of it all. Trends and numbers taking precedence over quality. Everyone wanting more for themselves and less for their community. Back to the humble. Can that be better? Or am I wrong?
So for the positives I have been looking for. Our little spot of paradise that had too many cars, not enough water, too much rubbish growing over the last 5 plus years, with no one doing much about the excess and NOW has been given some time off. It’s not that I don’t want people to come back, we all need to make a living. I would love to travel more too, there are many places I would still like to see. I also would be happy to photograph weddings in other places myself (it’s always good inspirationally) but I DO see a few months with no movement and no travel has made communities become a little smaller again, finding what they have locally- supporting their neighbours, is this not positive? If this brings us back to a few basics, allows many over saturated destinations to breath for a year- then I see this also as a positive. We have all become one in the same dilemma with some kind of equality (though I know we are FAR from equality) that seems it could be some kind of positive. Many will say I am being too optimistic wishing for a some change and within months it will be just as it was. I think though it is great to believe that somewhere a little inkling of positive change will happen on our planet earth AND on our little dot of paradise in the Mediterranean Sea!
I am not an intellectual at all and run my life very much by feeling and I fall into the nostalgia trap all the time. I am rubbish at the ‘business hustle’. I try to be kind and humble not pushy, this has worked for me in many ways and I am sure in many others it hasn’t. I get the world will go on, that money will still be prominent, we need it to survive. I am not a big traveler and am quite easily content in one place. Stopping at home has been easy, I know not everyone feels the same. It also may just be my age and these are some of the thoughts, questions AND feelings that come with it, especially in the situation we have all found ourselves in, or maybe it is to do with me personally and who I am. For now though my feeling is that maybe the world needs to get smaller and unite, to then get bigger (with a some little changes) again. It could also just be my craving for less of a competitive world, with more support, with humbler people, with more kindness and more empathy. If not Globally then on Ibiza and if not on all Ibiza then I would love to find this even in the small community of Ibiza photographers….. Who is there with me?
Meanwhile there is no work so let’s go discover this island of other abundance.
Below are a few of the images I took over the days at home. There are many more. Things I have seen 1000 times but you don’t know you have seen. It was a time to be more mindful of everything surrounding me.