Through unexpected changes can lead to new life perspectives. And for photographer Drew Wheeler and his partner Linnea Gröndahl the global pandemic has meant just this. The couple retreated from their London home, and created a new home in NSW Northern Rivers. This means spending time in the countryside, life lived by the water, putting energy towards cooking, reading and exercising and dreaming of building a home, making babies and a garden to call one's own.
Here, Wheeler documents what catches his eye as the days and time slow.
How do you stay creative in isolation?
I've been really lucky to be able to retreat from London to the Northern Rivers. I've been extremely stimulated by the landscapes and small country towns. I've taken this time to try and document a few different things, so that's been my creative vice most days. I'm also working on a few projects with my wife Linnea which we will be sharing shortly.
What are some of your daily rituals?
If there's surf, that normally takes up my first chunk of attention, other than that I've done a few good YouTube exercise classes that range from relaxing to agonising. Lots of cooking. Making a lot of stocks and broths lately. Trying to get something close to a bowl of delicious Ramen.
What are you reading / watching / listening to?
I re-read Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential and if you enjoy cooking and/or want to know what goes on in a kitchen I'd recommend that. I've just picked up Yvon Chouinard Let My People Go Surfing which is a book from the dude who started Patagonia. I'm trying not to watch or listen to too much news. I put The Daily podcast on in the mornings and I started re-watching The Wire.
How do you and your partner navigate isolation together?
Communication and respect.
How do you stay healthy (mentally and / or physically)?
Just staying active on both fronts, having little projects, business ideas, silly ideas and mad ideas. Long hikes. I'm about to go on a camping/climbing trip this week. Just little things that keep the body and mind ticking.
What do you appreciate the most right now?
The luxury of being Australian. Compared to the rest of the world I feel really lucky to be here and enjoying this country.
What do you miss the most?
Using a darkroom, E5 bread, British pubs and international travel.
What are you currently working on?
I started a documentary project on the suburban landscape up here, quite different to the essay submitted for RUSSH. It's looking at the people and places that I find so disturbingly beautiful and typically Australian. I'm also doing a Still Life project with Linnea and Annika Fischer who's a set designer also hibernating around the hinterlands via NYC.
What is your current state of mind?
I'm actually rethinking life a bit. I want to buy some land, build a house, have some babies and grow some vegetables.