Iso-Chats is a series talking with Tasmanian women in soccer. Coronavirus restrictions on sporting events came into place a day after the Summer Cup Final. In response, the official season for women’s competitions in the State have been delayed.
The third piece of this series is with Linda Higginson. So often found behind the lens of a camera across local sports grounds in Tasmania. Many of the local photos you see here are thanks to Linda, who shoots as Solstice Digital & Photography.
The sudden snowball effect of the coronavirus pandemic on sport started when her son’s rowing weekend at Lake Barrington was canceled. The March 16 cut off meant Linda could squeeze in soccer’s Summer Cup Finals, joining Tony, who was already down there shooting. But soon enough phone calls arrived confirming the cancellation of local sport, award nights and season launches.
“I think probably the initial shock was pretty numbing. All of my work was canceled on the same day.”
Being a mother to three, including two young children, meant Linda couldn’t dwell on the situation. Rather the kitchen turned into a classroom and in her words “it was amazing”.
“I just needed to snap into action for them and really make sure that they were okay with everything”
Once school left the makeshift classroom, Linda decided to complete the tedious task of archiving 300,000 images rather than focus on the massive lull and creeping doubt brought on by the lack of soccer, and sport in general.
The images were over five years worth of moments captured. Ranging from photos of her son Tom playing with Beachside Youth, and shooting the Zebra women, through to the last 12 months that include horse racing, her first AFLW match and the Hobart Hurricanes.
“So I just thought, yeah actually I should probably carry on doing it to be honest.”
The purchase of some “serious, serious gear” following a broken lens at cricket and a frustrating AFLW photography debut without the right equipment, is only more incentive for Linda to return.
Due to the greater economic impact on local sport, Linda admits her expectations for this season have shifted. Pointing out the Tasmanian State League (Tasmania’s AFL) have made more than half their staff redundant as one example of the hit sport has experienced.
Linda finds herself in a fortunate position to still be able to offer her expertise behind the lens. Faced with little overheads in her day to day operations, she is determined to still capture the special moments for the players.
“You know, it’s not the same league this year, it’s all a bit different. But I’m trying to make it as normal as possible.”
The global disruption of the pandemic meant Linda’s mum, visiting from the UK in March, has extended her stay until at least the end of July. The prolonged holiday had an unintended benefit. A special moment was shared on the first weekend that sport was back, with her son Ellis playing at Warrior park.
“If my mum had gone back on time, she wouldn’t have seen him play… So she was really pleased that she got to see him.”
For Linda, the return of sport, particularly football, feels like a weight lifted off her shoulders.
“I realised that this is what I have to do on a weekend, it’s part of my constitution. My passion for football is genetic and will never die.”