A WEST Cork photographer is undertaking a pandemic challenge, to snap couples in every country in the world, without ever leaving her home.
Kate Bean, who grew up outside Ballydehob and now lives near Skibbereen, embarked on her virtual journey a few weeks into lockdown.
The photographer whose work has featured in Italian Vogue said: ‘Due to the pandemic I am out of work and all my weddings have been postponed until next year. A couple of weeks in, I started to take self portraits with my love Fintan, and I tried out all the directions that I give my couples during our photo sessions, what worked and what didn’t.
‘After a couple of virtual shoots completed, I woke up one morning wondering would it be possible to take a virtual photograph of one couple from every country on this planet? So here I am, on a virtual journey, collecting these beautiful moments between lovers in their home, sharing their love stories.’
Kate has found the couples, who she doesn’t charge, through Instagram, Facebook, and friends.
‘I know some, and some I don’t which is really fun and amazing to be welcomed into their homes (virtually). They are so open hearted and we have a little chat about what we are going through during this pandemic.’
She video calls the couples using Zoom or Google Duo: ‘I ask them to move me around their home to see what would work best. It can be pretty confusing sometimes! Then I photograph my screen, the quality might not be the best, but I love the feel the images give and the story behind them.’
She also asks them things like how would they sum up their relationship or what attracted them to each other.
‘I decided to ask them questions about their “love story” because I love romance, the good and the bad, and there is nothing sweeter then reading the two different perspectives from all the couples. It’s also a nice way to share some positivity.’
It hasn’t been without its challenges though.
‘The most challenging part was learning to embrace the lower quality images, but I’m finding new ways to edit them that reduces the screen lines. ‘Also until a few days ago, we were using our phones for wifi, which you can imagine, with so many more using their phones, made it difficult to do any video calls in the evening. That meant calling New Zealand and Australia at 5.30am.’
So far Kate has covered Australia, India, England, Wales, Scotland, Brazil, Germany and US.
‘Only 189 to go,’ she joked.