A window on life in lockdown

A PHOTOGRAPHER is taking portraits of residents at their windows during lockdown, while making a record of how they are feeling during the coronavirus crisis.

The idea for the #stayhomesuperheroes project came to Jo de Magneval during her daily exercise from her home in St John’s.

Jo de Magneval is capturing a record of how the coronavirus crisis is affecting people in the Woking area

“It all started whilst I was with my children on our daily walk around our neighbourhood,” she said.

“We passed a friend’s house and her daughter was standing in the window. I snapped a photo of her and it triggered the idea of capturing family stories through the window to the outside world.

Cathie and Ben Wheeler with son Fred and daughter Luciana

“I felt that this idea really captured the peoples sense of ‘staying home, staying safe’. I used my exercise hour to cycle around to people’s homes to capture their lockdown window – sometimes a door – and also asked questions to help gain an idea of their story behind their window.

“I felt it was really important to help document how people were feeling during this period of isolation, so others could relate to the images and know their own highs and lows were also being felt by others.”

Jo has photographed more than 20 families, with some people contacting her when they have seen others on her website and Facebook page.

Claire, Joel and Laurie relaxing together

She doesn’t charge for the photos, but asks families to make donations to NHS charities.

“I send them questions and am collecting the ‘stories behind the window’ of how each person is feeling about this time.

“It is interesting to see the different positives that individuals take from this enforced family time together.”

Jo has three children with her husband Thierry and they both run the Cellar Magneval wine bar in Woking town centre.

Christine, Andy, James and Lily Skeety lookout from behind their rainbow

The family have lived in Woking for 12 years, except for a couple of years when they lived in France so their daughters could become fluent in French. Jo, who has been a keen photographer for many years, set up her photography business while the family were in France.

Cellar Magneval is making free home deliveries of wine and is looking at ways it can reopen when the lockdown restrictions are eased.

“It has been such a wonderful project to do,” said Jo. “It has enabled me to stay a part of the community and also be creative, which keeps me sane. I am still available for lockdown portraits for those who would like one themselves, just get in touch.”

For more information, visit www.jodemagneval.com, email jodmphotography@gmail.com or search for Jo de Magneval Photography on Facebook.

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