To celebrate our first Christmas as a charity our friend and advocate Kim Horstmanshof has very kindly donated her beautiful photos to us for our charity calendar. Kim is a photographer who contracted Covid in early 2020 and has had Long Covid ever since. Her way of looking at the world has changed in the last three years- but if anything that has made her photography even more evocative and meaningful.
Here is Kim’s story
"I’ve been a keen amateur photographer for several years, enjoying travelling to beautiful landscapes near and far. My ideal holiday would be renting a car, throwing my camera gear onto the front seat and heading out to explore
somewhere beautiful. From being accidentally up to my waist in snow
watched by mountain goats in remote Montana, to heading down to Bushy Park near home for sunrise or the deer rut, I took every opportunity to get out with my camera.
"My last pre-lockdown purchase was a macro lens for my camera, allowing close-ups of flowers, insects, and other tiny things. It turned out to be the best purchase I could have made at the time. Contracting Covid in March 2020 - which became Long Covid - meant the national lockdowns pretty much passed me by as I was too unwell to go anywhere. It took me a while to be able to hold my camera and focus again, but when I could wander out into the garden with it, it marked the beginning of a new relationship with the world in my garden. I couldn’t get out into the wider world, but I could enjoy the tiny changes and glorious glimpses of life that were right outside my door.
"I watched flowers grow, bloom, and fade; bees buzzing in and out and damselflies taking pause. Apple blossom bloomed, leaves budded and apples grew then dropped, leaves withered and fell. The stark winter branches of the apple tree played host to birds from blue tits to green parakeets, from the friendly chirps of blackbirds and robins to the loud squawks of flocks of starlings and marauding magpies and jostling jackdaws. I planted new flowers and fought off aphids, watched the cats chase off marauding squirrels and stalk mice they brought home from somewhere further afield. Each day brought tiny new changes to observe through my camera and review each evening. The discipline of editing shots gave me a focus each day, allowing me to marvel at the diversity of the world in my garden. It’s been a long and difficult journey since March 2020; finding tiny reminders of a wider, beautiful world each day through my lens has been a wonderful upside of that journey."
Although all the photos inside the calendar were taken by Kim whilst she has had Long Covid, the cover is of Red Rock Falls trail, Glacier National Park, Montana. We specifically chose this for the cover and it is the only photograph in our calendar taken by Kim from before the pandemic. We all agreed it is a beautiful illustration of how Long Covid is an uncertain journey on a path unknown.
In Kim’s words. “Whilst the photo is of a glorious blue sky and a clear path ahead, it doesn’t show that I hadn’t planned or prepared to go on this hike of several miles, the fact that I’d been caught in several rain showers along the way, and that because I was walking alone through bear country (a bad idea, the bear will eat you first) I was singing loudly and out of tune, hoping that no-one else could hear me. Luckily I wasn’t told about the local bear attacks until that evening!
"It really highlights how things aren’t always as great as they might appear and that you rarely know what is around the next corner; a pretty perfect metaphor for life with Long Covid.”
Our 2023 calendar has 13 stunning photos of the beauty we can find in the everyday, as seen through Kim's lens. Click here to buy your 2023 Long Covid SOS calendar - order early for Christmas delivery!