Capturing the region during lockdown

April 30, 2020 BY

Chad and Margaret and their children Arty, Ruben and Curtis. Photos: FERNE MILLEN

Despite social distancing, Jan Juc photographer Ferne Millen is bringing the community together one image at a time.

Ferne, who has been a freelance photographer for 17 years, has photographed more than 23 families in the Surf Coast and surrounds, capturing people as they live through an unprecedented moment in history, collating images for her project Iso_types.
“I was just walking around the neighbourhood stopping and chatting to people I know in Jan Juc when this all began to unfold over a month ago, and my brain was going nuts,” she said.
“Just seeing all of these great moments of people and families together that I don’t usually see.
“I thought I could offer to capture people at this time spending time together as families … and so it (the project) was born.”

Ferne Millen pictured with her daughter Seville, 7.

Friends helped Ferne brainstorm the name Iso_types, a play on the words isolation types and the medical term isotypes.
“I hope to capture all types of people doing the best they can at these times, sharing our stories, providing some hope and positivity through my art photography, and allow all to identify with hope and despair and generally the all connecting status of being human,” the natural-born storyteller said.
“I am also charging a very minimal fee – 10 per cent of my normal fee – in order to stay alive myself and find a way for me to keep my business afloat at these times so I can pay the bills, pay the mortgage and support my daughter.”

Sarah and Glenn Hall and children.

Exploring the common thread of isolation and connection between community members has been a highlight for Ferne, who has also enjoyed allowing herself to connect with adults who are experiencing similar situations to herself. But the challenge of working respectfully and honestly with people while adhering to social distancing regulations, is also an element of the project Ferne has found fulfilling.
Ferne’s photoshoots are of community members and families living day-to-day during coronavirus restrictions at their home. She also requests families bring something to the shoot that they couldn’t live without to create a reminder of what they are grateful for.

Claire and Andy, Caleb and Momoko with baby June.

“I hope to capture people going about their daily lives and showing up for the camera during this time of isolation,”
she said.
“It offers a sense of connection and gives people a chance to focus on the positives, offer images to remember and reflect on these life changing events that change us.”
Ferne said clients had contacted her after shoots to express their gratitude for her valuable work, talent and the ability to provide a social connection. She hopes to display Iso_types for the community to see at a later date.
To view more of Ferne’s photography and to read about community member’s stories of their time during isolation check out iso_types on Instagram.