Living in a digital age we are often unconsciously distracted by the blue light we carry with us in our pockets. Constantly connected no matter where we are, ultimately available and on-call to the world. In our modern existence within the cloud, it is the small moments that bring us back to ourselves. Reuniting the mind with the body, senses, surroundings and the natural human connection to our environment and the space which we occupy.
Many of us now consciously carve out time in our day for activities that deliver us home to ourselves, running, baking, meditating. Sometimes though, this presence finds you rather than you actively searching for it. That’s how I would describe the experience of being a part of the Oubas shoot with Kate.
The shoot was located in an old house named Parkamoor which was perched within the rolling hills of the Lake District and overlooked sweeping views of Coniston Water. Isolated and exposed atop of the hills, we were all at the mercy of nature.
John, who looks after the house for the National Trust, had to escort us to the shoot location because the road is impassable in a standard vehicle. This then left us all on location for the day until he returned at the arranged time. A reminder of days gone by where plans had to be made in advance.
The house was filled with relics of days gone by. We pumped water by hand into kettles to make communal tea, stoked the flames of the fire as we huddled around it and shared stories over cake whilst wrapped in warming layers of wool. There was no connection to the outside world; phone service was unavailable, we were all connected through our disconnection, to each other and our surroundings.
The weather that day was wild and changeable, strong winds rolled in with the clouds over the fells forcing us to attention. Grey skies gave way to blue, suddenly and temporarily, revealing the beauty of the view below us. We were forced to flow with the weather, accept its role in the shoot, surrender to our lack of control and instead befriend it, follow the light into corners of the house, race outside into the brief moments of calm. Rachel, the shoot photographer, approached the day like she was shooting on film, deliberate and conscious, slow and connected.
The day of the shoot was a day filled with connection, a beautiful presence that focusses your attention to noticing the small things, the things to be grateful for. The warmth of the clothing on your skin, a comfort in the cold, the glow of the fire soothing the cool slate of the home, the whistle of the boiled kettle signaling hot tea, the brief glimpses of blue skies and vast views.
It was a meeting of minds and ultimately a day of surrendering to the wild, coming home to ourselves and nature, balanced with warm company and creativity.
Words and photography by Jayde Riley.
The cottage of Parkamoor can be rented self-catering: