Harleston photographer Lisa shows lockdown life through a lens with exhibition and book
Turning a lifelong passion for photography into a business and capturing a piece of town history for generations to come is what Lisa North has done in Harleston.
Having had a camera in her hands since she was a child, it was not until 10 years ago that she decided to get her life and career into real focus.
Now, Lisa North Photography in Old Market Place, which captures people and animals in their best light through portraits, has become a trusted name on the high street.
Lisa explained: “I had enjoyed photography all my life, but I was a self-employed complementary therapist and a workaholic, so I did not get the chance to do the hobby I loved.
“Then, in about 2000, I was asked if I could take pictures of someone’s children, then asked if I could do their wedding and it grew from there.”
Eventually ditching the massage table for lenses and tripods, Lisa set up her first studio in 2012, in an upstairs shop next door to J D Youngs in town, before moving into the shop she is in now seven years ago.
The 62-year-old’s photo shots are by appointment only, whether it be individuals, families, dog or equine – taking her mobile studio all over East Anglia for the latter.
“I did once get asked if someone could bring their Shetland pony into the studio, but I said it probably was not a good idea,” she said.
The photographer showcased her Harleston in Lockdown 2020 exhibition, with around 180 pictures, at the Swan Hotel over the August bank holiday – a project she started during the first lockdown.
“On my daily exercise that we were given, I thought I would take my camera out with me, just to take pictures really, not for an exhibition,” she said.
“But then it started to build. I was doing door-step portraits and following businesses in the town; it was starting to capture the essence of what was happening.”
The exhibition was popular, Lisa said, with people coming in to see themselves and talk about the lockdown experience.
Lisa said: “They had forgotten about things like clapping on the doorsteps and the toilet roll saga – it felt like such a long time ago.”
During this time, Lisa took what she classes as the most important pictures she will take in her life: a black and white image of her dad, who died during lockdown.
She said: “We take pictures on our phones all the time, but we should all have a proper portrait of a loved one to cherish.”
From the exhibition, Lisa produced a book, called Harleston in Lockdown: Your Life, your Harleston, which is for sale by contacting the studio, with profits going to the East Anglian Air Ambulance.
So far, book and picture sales have raised £320 for the charity.