WE ARE HOME - FINSBURY PARK IN LOCKDOWN 2

We Are Home is a photographic series which was developed in early 2020, during which time, movements were severely restricted in the UK to limit the spread of Covid-19. All the photographs were taken around Finsbury Park between April and July 2020.

Social distancing was maintained throughout the shoots. I wanted to tell the story of a variety of different homes, which have taken on a very different role in these strange times. I also wanted to show and celebrate the resilience of the inhabitants; how they’ve been affected by, and dealt with the coronavirus.

These unusual circumstances have affected us all, but affected us in different ways.

Please click on any of the thumbnails to read their stories.


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N4TN_001
April 25th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
There are two of us – Tom and Noellie in a middle flat with no access to a garden or balcony. We have an old but active dog Henry (spaniel) and fish. Our flat is big enough and has a spare room so we haven’t felt too claustrophobic.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
As for work, Noellie is a physiotherapist and the owner of a practice. She now does most of her work over the internet but she does see one critical patient in person. Her workload has gone down but her business is financially secure so we understand we are a lot better off than most, so actually need to be grateful. As for me, I’m a teacher so have been going in once or twice a week. Teachers are either in with a depleted team and less children, or offering work online supporting the children and parents at home as much as is possible. As for getting out we take the dog out but it’s different now as due to social distancing – the dog is required to have a lead. Noellie does lots of exercise in the house and loves yoga and palates. I go out cycling and Noellie occasionally comes out too.

How are you all with everything?
We are both pretty positive people and feel like we know and see that lots of people are in a lot worse position than us. So we are grateful for our luck. We are worried for our family and friends and just hope everyone stays safe and healthy. We’ve started to ring our family and friends more on apps like Zoom etc. so we are trying to stay as connected as possible whilst following the guidelines. We are optimistic, yet aware this world won’t go back to normal once measures start getting lifted. We are just trying to adapt to a new norm for now. As for Henry, our dog, he loves quarantine. We are in most of the time and he gets as much attention as he wants.

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N4KDKL_015
April 29th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We are Kira and Denis, a mum and step-dad to Kacey (6) and Luna (4).
We are a creative family, we are always creating on paper, on plates or on stage.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Our home is a first floor flat with no balcony or garden. We go out for a walk when we can get everyone organised. Parkland Walk and Finsbury Park are quite crowded and I find it stressful to maintain the 2 metre distance with two small people.

I am home-schooling in the mornings and work from home in the afternoons. My partner Denis is an actor/comedian; his filming commitments are on hold and he is writing in the meantime.

How are you all with everything?
We are safe and healthy and try to hold this thought high. We video call with family every day and even held a 6th birthday party for my son and his friends on Zoom. On the whole, the kids are alright and that’s what counts!

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N4EPOF_009
May 1st

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
In our home, there is Félix (4), Olivia-Luu (6), Peter and Eléonore as well as our lovely Claudia, our au pair from Spain who has decided to stay with us far from her family to help us. There is also Lilly our gentle furry cat, who wonders why we are all constantly messing around in ‘her’ territory all day! (new times for everyone!)

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
We are both able to work full time from home. Peter is a Financial Analyst, working tirelessly despite all the market volatility, and I am working in communications in a large tech company. We both created separate work-stations within our house and are trying to juggle the new rhythm, between the home-schooling, meals and our own workload. Our children are joyful and happy that we are all around and we all enjoy daily board games as a family.

How are you all with everything?
We feel extremely grateful to be healthy and together and we are in good spirits despite the current challenges that we all face. Patience is key and we have to be resilient. For us, timing is uncertain for the foreseeable future as we have to shield one of us for an unknown amount of time. That will impact school, social interactions and most of our daily life for certain, but we remain positive. The hard part is that we don’t know when we will be able to see again our families abroad.

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N4CJTL_017
Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We live in a terrace house. We’re lucky to have a small garden and enough space for us all to work. There are four of us. My partner Jake and I and two kids: Toby (11) and Lauren (9) plus Betsy the cat!

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
I am a graphic designer and haven’t had much work since the start of lockdown. Jake is working full time, so I have become the children’s teacher. Jake works in the kitchen, while I attempt to teach the kids in the dining room. We try to get out once a day for a short bike ride or run, or walk around the block. We were part of the brilliant #Corbdale Marathon recently too, running 85 times around our block with five other families. We raised over £3,000 for the NHS.

How are you all with everything?
We are taking each day as it comes. Some are good, some less so. It helps having a Zoom quiz with mates every Thursday and weekend DJ parties, streamed live. Jake enjoys playing his vinyl to an online crowd of friends! We are also doing Zoom exercise classes plus Joe Wicks with the kids. At the moment we’re all feeling well and not too stressed. Trying not to think too far ahead, but are really looking forward to seeing our parents, they are really missing visits from us and their grandchildren, though Facetime reading helps. One thing I would really like is for Toby to go back to school. He’s in year 6, so it’s his last year of primary school. It would be a shame for it to end like this.

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N4ST_016
May 1st

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
It’s just my husband and I but our first baby is due 26th May. We live in a two-bed flat without a garden so we are lucky that we have space when we need it but we are missing outside time besides our daily walk!

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Tom ordered us monitors and keyboards as soon as it all happened, so that has made working much easier. We both work in the sitting room together but take it on turns to go elsewhere for calls! We are not finding the situation too bad and it is manageable. We go for our daily walk usually after work which we’ve been enjoying, as we get to explore the neighbourhood. It’s not something we would have done before and it’s nice to have extra time together pre baby.

How are you all with everything?
In general we have adapted very well and know we are lucky to be able to. It’s given us time to do jobs around the house we’d been putting off, and prepping for baby! We’re also catching up on a lot of reading in downtime. Obviously there’s the odd bad ‘get us out of here!’ day but generally very well.

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N4RT_035
May 4th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
Telyn and I live here. We have two cats – Milton and Ziggy the kitten – our lockdown distraction! We have two bedrooms but it’s a small flat which feels evermoreso after two months inside it. We are lucky to have shared access to a garden which has helped enormously, especially when the weather was good.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
I’ve been working from home since the beginning of March and Telyn’s also home from nursery. I can’t say it’s been easy! What started off with the novelty of both of us at home – me working with more screentime for my daughter than she’s ever had – has escalated into a crescendo of tantrums whilst I’m on webconferences (from both of us!) about how bored/lonely she’s feels without her friends and the lack of attention she’s getting. We try to get out for a walk or to a park every day and Telyn has just learnt to ride a pedal bike, so we’re getting practice in whenever we can.

How are you all with everything?
It’s hard to ignore the feeling that you’re doing nothing well. I have to keep reminding myself to lower my expectations and that this is not normal life. I’ve just been furloughed from work however and as a solo parent, I’m worried about future job prospects and impending recession. That said, I’m also looking at the positive of being able to spend more quality time together.

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N4O_006
May 5th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
Me, Lucy, our housemates Ian and Macha

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
All of us but Ian are furloughed without work. Ian’s working from home. Since I broke my foot I haven’t been able to leave.

How are you all with everything?
We’re okay with the situation – the main issue for me is I can’t leave the house or walk.

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N4M_017
May 6th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We moved to Corbyn Street five years ago, around the time we got married. Maya is an academic, an art historian working on the Italian Renaissance, and Julian is a barrister. It is just us and Scarlett and Sita, our two rescue kitties, in the house – but you can see from Maya’s bump that an arrival is imminent! We love living here: the street is peaceful and friendly, and the local area and community are amazing. The local WhatsApp groups that have sprung up and grown during lockdown have made us feel even closer to our neighbours.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Due to the pregnancy we have been self-isolating strictly, starting even before lockdown was formally announced. Both of us have been working exclusively from home – at least after Maya’s university teaching was moved online. We are lucky as we are both set up to work from home in any case, and in some ways lockdown happening towards the end of the pregnancy has had its advantages – not having to travel to work has allowed Maya to do a lot of prenatal yoga via zoom. Most days we go for a walk in one of the local parks, but it can be a bit stressful as not everyone is great about keeping their distance!

How are you all with everything?
It is obviously a really strange time to be pregnant and about to give birth: maternity guidelines and the services on offer keep changing – some hospitals are being really restrictive about birth partners staying after the birth, but thankfully the Whittington has not gone down this route. We are just keeping our fingers crossed for a safe birth, and are feeling incredibly grateful for everything all the NHS staff are doing to make this a reality for women in the current climate. But generally, we are doing well. It has actually been nice to have this time at home together, to reflect on how our lives are about to change – and also to do a lot of sorting and organising! We now just can’t wait to meet our baby.

Update: Our baby girl, Iona, was born the day after these pictures were taken! She is an amazing baby and we are all settling into life as a family of three, and enjoying getting to know her.

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N4HJ_009
May 8th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
There’s only the two of us here in the first floor flat and we are fortunate to have a small room that we can use as an office, so we get our own space during the day. We don’t have a garden but there has been plenty of windowsill sunbathing, and we also have some window boxes that have become the lock down project. The flat is small but airy, so it hasn’t been too bad so far!

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Heather works in health policy and as a trained nurse, she has been doing the odd shift to help with the Covid-19 response. It’s been a steep learning curve on the frontline, but feels good to have a purpose and a way to contribute to the huge efforts of the NHS. Josh works in responsible investment and, as he doesn’t usually working from home, he’s definitely not missing the daily commute. We’ve been going for daily runs in Finsbury Park and we must have run every combination of different paths by now!

How are you all with everything?
Despite really missing family, some of whom we haven’t seen since Christmas, we’re lucky that is there always a Zoom or FaceTime call scheduled. We’re looking forward to returning to normal, whatever that may be, but are content in the knowledge that for now, staying home is the best thing to do. And of course there is always something to bake!!

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N4RP_006
May 9th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
There are four adults living in the house – all usually working full time so we are seeing much more of one another and able to enjoy the small garden much more than when we were all commuting. Three of us usually go into central London usually by tube, train and bike. None of us is missing the commute. We eat together more than we used to do. The vibe is relaxed apart from work hassles.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
At the start of the lockdown we were all busier than usual but things have calmed down now. Those who are self-employed are more adversely affected than those employed. One of our young adults is an editor in advertising – an industry which has been badly affected – so he’s been unable to work. The other has her own dog walking business which has also been adversely affected; only doctors are needing their dogs exercised now.

Ruth’s job in family law has been busier than usual. She has now moved to Ireland temporarily to care for elderly parents who cannot live their normal lives, and is working now from the west coast. Paul is continuing to work from home.

How are you all with everything?
We are happy and relaxed at home and not missing the frantic lives that we usually live. We do miss the freedom of going out and about and seeing friends and family and being able to hug people. But we like the enhanced feeling of community that this has brought to this neighbourhood. We see some friends from time to time – on Zoom and in person at a social distance. But it would be nice to get back to more normal.

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