Window portraits during the Covid-19 pandemic 2020

May 23, 2020

Asian boy behind window with reflections from outside during Corona Virus

The Corona virus has been an historic event in the world, but also one in our own lives. I really wanted to capture the spirit of this time and create little time-capsules for families, to remember these strange times with. So, I went out making window portraits and photographed 23 different families. It was really beautiful to take their images and read their stories. You can read some of the lockdown stories below.

Claire’s Lockdown Story

Family sitting in window during corona virus.
Claire Gatty: “A loved one’s funeral not attended,
A mother’s 60th birthday not celebrated,
A 1st birthday hidden from view,
But grandparents are too precious to lose.

Not much work and maybe too much play,
Achieving learning and home improvement the order of the day,
A daily bike ride or run through the park- rain or shine,
Makes you aware of time passing due to nature’s beautiful timeline.

Returning from maternity leave to work in the NHS,
We’re all doing our jobs as we always have- even when we were noticed less,
The biggest change is determination not to bring this “work” home,
Too many of our keyworker colleagues already leave loved ones sadly alone.

But family time is golden- even though not all laughter and smiles,
Both parents seeing baby’s 1st steps- the first of many miles,
The successes and failures of new dishes attempted in the kitchen,
Ingredients not always available gets you looking around, experimenting.
But no yeast needed to raise human spirit, friendship and compassion,
Whilst all kept apart, alternative communication and neighbourhood watch is all the fashion,
As the mist of social distancing due to Corona lifts, let’s try to protect,
The community, the togetherness, the respect for keyworkers as the lasting effect”.

Kiera’s Lockdown Story

Girl behind window during corona virus pandemic lockdown.
Kiera: “Lockdown continues to give rise to a mix of feelings. On one hand spending so much time together is wonderful. Life is usually so rushed with commuting, work, preschool and the pressures that places on you as a family. Time is precious. On the other hand, it is a real challenge, practically and emotionally, to juggle work and a young child who is sociable and missing her friends and activities. I miss my own space too. We all need a little of that. The uncertainty of how the situation will unfold can cause anxiety. However, we are robust as people and as a family. We manage to laugh every day. On a wider social level we have seen how successful remote working can be and this should encourage greater uptake after this enforced experiment. Of course, the devastating impact of coronavirus is impossible not to be affected by. We just take it day by day and try and keep positive imagining the day we can embrace our family and friends again and have coffee in the sunlight at our favourite café”.

Samantha’s Lockdown Story

Girl with rainbow behind window during covid-19
Samantha: “Emily is 2.5 and is usually with her friends at the childminder so she is missing that interaction and wanting constant entertainment. Grace is 18 weeks old and met our family just a few times before lockdown. They are both living the extra time with us as we are with them.
Me and dad both run businesses, so we’ve needed to keep them running and work together to balance that.
However, normally we live very fast lives and always take on a lot so the slowed pace has been a welcome change and an eye opener.
Things we will continue to do after lockdown: Zoom calls and quizzes with family spread over the country, work from home more and more home cooked meals.”

Ronke’s Lockdown Story

Family behind window during covid-19 pandemic in the UK.
Ronke: “Treasured memories of a season anchored in gratitude and hope. This time has truly been a blessing; the slower pace of life, the opportunities to be adventurous in the kitchen and to unearth hidden treasures from unsuspecting children?- so they can cook such good food! I really should retire!
Yes we have rubbed each other up the wrong way and bumped into each other along the way but we have become each other’s greatest cheerleaders as we have undertaken a family indoor rowing fundraising challenge to collectively row at least half a marathon every day in the month of May! We have each greatly surpassed what we thought was possible partly due to the power of our teamwork & spurring one another on to raise funds for a charity dear to our hearts. Covid-19 has been an invisible enemy but it sure has catapulted us into deeper bonds of love & friendship on so many levels.

Jo’s Lockdown Story

portrait of family during covid-19 pandemic in Bromley, UK.
Jo: “We are self-isolating for at least 12 weeks as my husband Mark is in the highest-risk category. Life is challenging, as it is for everyone. My son James finds it hard not to see his friends or to go to school. He is an only child and I really feel for him. Having everyone at home all the time and not being able to go out has its ups and downs. I really appreciate the garden like I never did before and know we are incredibly lucky to have one.
Adjusting to a different way of living takes up all the hours of the day. Parenting under lockdown is not ideal and, for me, there are times when just having time to yourself is an unimaginable luxury.
With this lockdown life, it is certainly the smaller things you come to appreciate – a quiet moment, sitting in the sunshine, affectionate times with my son. I’ve been connecting with my friends and family more, and we’ve discovered what a wonderful local community we live in. Our street has formed a mutual support group and every day it highlights the kindness and generosity of the people around us.
I take life one day at a time, as I know we will be one of the last to leave lockdown conditions. During this time, I do have hopes for the future though – I hope we don’t forget what’s really important in life or stop valuing our key workers. I hope we change our society’s values for the better, with an emphasis on community, caring and compassion. In the rush back to normalcy, I hope we reconsider what we want ‘normal’ to be. And I hope we take the best of this crisis and use it to forge a better future, together.”

Due to the Corona Virus I couldn’t do any work and taking these window portraits gave me a purpose. I raised money for the NHS and felt like I was contributing in my own little way. It gave me the opportunity to see other people and have a socially distanced chat. Making portraits got me out of the house, into unknown streets and broke my own little bubble I was living in during this time of social distancing. It was a joy to make these window portraits and I hope these pictures and the memories that belong to them will be something to cherish.

If you enjoyed these photos and stories, then do have a look at the Hold Still community project. This project shows a unique collective portrait of the UK during lockdown and was organised by The Duchess of Cambridge.


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