WE ARE HOME - FINSBURY PARK IN LOCKDOWN 3

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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SAM

 

SS_005
May 12th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
It has been an interesting collection of weeks. I am bunkered down with my wife of seven and a half years, Sky. We are a strong couple, having been through our fair share of difficulties already both personally and professionally.

Whilst in lockdown we have arranged a series of goals to achieve each day, such as reading, exercise, German lessons, etc. These have helped break our day up and as well as this I am getting some painting done whilst Sky keeps up with her voice lessons, all keeping us both busy and productive.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Apart from exercise and shopping, we are avoiding getting out and keeping social interaction to digital only. Being Australians, our families are physically out of reach back home and we have been staying in contact, helping where we can through channels such as online shopping, etc.

For work, myself, I am the general manager of The White Lion pub and we have been closed since Boris closed us back in March. I have been in contact with staff and customers since closing, keeping in their minds and letting them know we are there, and will be opening up as a deli and store selling fresh quality produce from mid May to offer the neighbourhood a space to shop apart from the big high street chains, whilst maintaining social distancing requirements.

How are you all with everything?
During this tough time I have been trying to stay positive, keeping in mind that after tough times, come better times, and I believe that with this shared tragedy we all are going through, we all will come out better people.

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JEN

 

N4J_002
May 23rd

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
I’m living in my lovely flat with my flatmate and friend Audrey. .

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
I’ve been working from home since a few days before lockdown started. I work for the government so I’m lucky that I don’t need to worry about my job (if anything – there’s a lot more work for us) but I like the office environment and chatting to people so I miss it when I’m working at home. I’ve been going out to shops and for walks and since we were allowed to see people, I’ve met a few friends in the park. I haven’t washed my hair in two weeks…

How are you all with everything?
I‘m generally ok! I’m lucky to have a nice flat and live near a nice park, I have a job and I’ve not been ill. So I count myself lucky! And it’s sunny! But I miss my friends and family and really want to go dancing!

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GARY

 

May 25th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
I have some friends living with me.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
I work for London Underground so I’m still working as normal.

How are you all with everything?
I consider myself lucky. I still get to interact with people through work, and do shopping for a friend who is currently shielding.

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N4AALA_009
May 25th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We’re Andy and Annie and our boys Lucas (7) and Alex (3). We live in a 3 bedroom house with a basement terrace. We – ok, I (Annie) – went slightly plant mad during lockdown and are growing vegetables in pots in every available corner that gets enough sunlight.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Andy is working long hours from home as a key worker. I started off working from home with the occasional commute into town (I’m a scientist and usually spend most of my days in the lab) before being furloughed, and am about to return to my daily commute in July – thankfully part time to begin with. I got ill with Covid before lockdown even started so we were shut in earlier than most, and we didn’t really venture further than the nearest shop or a short walk around the block for a long time. Alex’s nursery has now reopened, and Lucas’s school is reopening for all on Monday. He can’t wait to see all his friends (and his wonderful teacher) again for the last few weeks of the school year.

How are you all with everything?
We’re ok. I’m still dealing with a lot of fatigue three months on, but know I’ve been lucky compared to so many. We’re also lucky to have a home with plenty of space for the boys to play, and to be financially secure. The pandemic and current government have worsened any pre-existing inequalities and we’re very aware of how fortunate we are. We miss our families though – Andy’s up north and mine in Belgium. It’s hard not knowing when we’ll next get to see them.

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JO

 

N4JC_021
May 29th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
Me and my housemate Jonny live in the middle flat of this house. It’s a nice flat but it’s small and we have no outside space or spare rooms. Some days it feels overwhelming and I wish I could be anywhere else, and some days I’m happy that we have somewhere safe that we’ve made lovely and homely. We’ve got quite a lot of houseplants which helps when you can’t go outside. But nothing beats being legally allowed to sit in the park again!

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
We’re both working from home in the living room. I have no WiFi in my room which means I can only work in the shared space. Jonny alternates between sitting with me and sitting on his bed – especially if we both need to make phone calls at the same time. I work for Islington Council on their Pollution team and sometimes need to go into the office or around the borough. Being able to have that change in scenery is unspeakably lovely. Especially with the weather being so nice.

I’m an outdoors person and if I can’t go for a walk every day then my mental health deteriorates. I’m so grateful for the Parkland Walk at the moment. The number of birds singing and the sun flickering through the leaves always cheers me up.

How are you all with everything?
Up and down. Like lots of people, I haven’t been able to see my partner or my family since lockdown began which is rubbish. It’s starting to feel like a lost year in our lives. But I’m trying to be positive.

I’ve enjoyed having more time to do the things I love like sewing and making clothes but I can’t wait until restaurants open. I can’t decide whether to go to Petek or Dotori first. Maybe both.

It’s also been nice to experience the stronger sense of community – the clapping, joining the local Scrub Hub to sew scrubs for the NHS and swapping jigsaws with my neighbours. But I can’t wait to hug my family, kiss my partner and go for dinner with friends.

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N4BMD_029
May 29th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We are Matt, Beth and Dorothy who was born 10 weeks premature on 5th April. She’s been in lockdown at the Whittington hospital for the last 7 weeks and home with us for 5 days now. We also share our home with our cat Claudia (who isn’t very impressed with the new arrival).

We are lucky to have a nice long garden and lovely neighbours upstairs who we have been swapping vegetable seeds with. Zoe runs @sharemygarden and has been inviting neighbours to collect seeds from our doorstep.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
We were both working from home and Matt had just started a new job before Dot’s arrival. Due on 11 June, we thought we’d be spending lockdown preparing for our baby but instead we’ve been making daily trips to the Whittington based on COVID-restricted visiting times – Beth at 3pm then Matt following by bicycle after work, and both leaving the ward at 7pm. We had friends help with groceries as we needed to isolate as much as possible between visits to the neonatal ward. Now we are on parental leave, enjoying having Dot at home.

How are you all with everything?
It’s been a funny time – once Dot arrived, COVID wasn’t so important. It also meant we were leaving the house each day to visit the hospital. We’re very grateful to the Whittington and overwhelmed by the kindness of friends both local and from afar with the support they’ve given. We’re now in a happy lockdown bubble with – all being well – lots to look forward to!

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N4AOILD_016
May 30th

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
There are 4 of us. Oscar and I aka Mum and Dad and our two little ones. Leila-Doris who turned 6 in April and Ida-Mary who is 3.

We live in Finsbury Park in a 2 bed flat with a garden. The garden has been an absolute lifesaver for us in terms of being able to get outside and the kids having more space to play in.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Oscar and I are both self-employed and luckily enough are still working. Oscar has been working from home. He started in the kitchen but when it became clear after 4 weeks that getting between me and the kettle or the kids and the fridge was becoming as dangerous as getting between a pretty narky hippo and it’s quest for water he retreated to the bedroom where he has set up camp ever since.

I have an office within walking distance where I see clients via zoom as trying to have both of us working full time in the same space whilst also taking care/trying to homeschool 2 children was proving testing! I work 3 days per week from the office and ‘teach’ (a word I’m using very loosely) the children on Monday and Friday. In reality we are all muddling by and trying to avoid to many tantrums!

We are near the park so we go for a walk in the park and take a frisbee and football each day which is our daily exercise as a family.

How are you all with everything?
Survival, survival, survival I think sums it up. We are healthy, well and working so we are extremely lucky. It is ridiculously hard but at the same time we are at the tip of the iceberg compared to the stress and trauma many people are experiencing around the world at the moment.

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N4SMLJ_018
May 31st

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
We are flatmates Sarah, Lauren, Maddie and Jordon. When lockdown was brought in Jordon (Maddie’s boyfriend) was staying with us, so he has had to put up with us for the whole ride. We are lucky to have a spacious and modern flat but sadly no garden (typical London!), so it’s definitely made it harder since the weather has warmed up.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
I am a trainee social worker, and when lockdown was brought in my placement was cancelled. I found it tough as I’m someone who always needs to be doing something so I have struggled with feeling limited and a bit useless. I’ve tried to keep myself occupied by volunteering, practically walking the whole of North London and even dabbled in some cross stitching.

Maddie is a DJ, so hasn’t been able to work and has had to claim Universal Credit. She’s been applying for jobs but hasn’t had any luck yet. She wants to get a job as soon as possible that she can do alongside Djing.
Lauren is an office/project manager and has continued to work long hours remotely from home, with lots of Zoom calls.

Jordon is a producer and works in retail, he has been furloughed from his retail job but is still managing to produce but is unable to record with artists until the lockdown is fully over.

How are you all with everything?
Luckily we have all stayed healthy and well. We are usually always so busy, so even though we often were passing ships in the night. Lockdown has given us some time to spend together, we have been doing Come Dine With Me cooking evenings, a weekly quiz, puzzles and a Monopoly game that last 4 nights!

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N4PLW_015
June 1st

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
All three of us are at home right now. Poppy is on maternity leave, and Luke’s working from home (the spare bedroom to be exact). Our flat isn’t huge, but we’re really lucky to have both a garden, and space for Luke to use as a makeshift office. It makes the world of difference, and being able to spend time outside with Wilf so he can roam around is brilliant.

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
Since lockdown’s eased, we normally head to the park once or twice a day. At weekends, we try to make sure we get out and head to Epping Forest for a change of scene. For me (Poppy) and Wilf, it’s pretty great – we often meet a friend for a socially distanced walk, and have been able to explore the local area a bit more. It’s low key, and actually made us feel more of a sense of belonging in our neighbourhood. For Luke, though, it’s more challenging – he’ll sometimes get to the end of the day without having left the house if he doesn’t plan it in around Wilf.

How are you all with everything?
It feels a bit uncomfortable to admit it, but we’re really loving lockdown life. We spend loads more time together as a family: we eat 3 meals a day together and Luke’s home for play in the morning and bath time every day. Having Luke around means I can have some time to myself, so I’ve started some other side projects which is a great creative outlet. Overall, our lifestyle feels more relaxed – we both feel like we’re more present, and more rooted in our home.

That said, we’re both missing face to face interaction with other humans, and Luke’s really feeling this from a work perspective. Equally, it’s sad that our families have missed out on seeing Wilf grow up. Last time they saw him he couldn’t even sit up alone, and now he’s crawling – there’s only so far a Zoom call can go in bridging that relationship gap with a very small person! And, more than anything, we miss the pub!

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N4LP_011
June 1st

Describe your home situation (who’s in there, what’s your environment like).
I share my flat with my boyfriend Paul and my dog Pearl. Paul is working from home right now and I am spending the week days in my art studio with Pearl. It has worked out quite well that I have the studio space to go to. I know so many people currently having to work on top of each other, so we are lucky we can have our own space to work. We also feel very lucky to have a nice garden to spend the evenings in and get some much needed sunshine and fresh air!

What’s your current situation like in terms of working and/or getting out?
It’s not too bad all considering. Pearl needs a least one big walk a day. She’s an American Bulldog and needs a fair bit of exercise so she is a really good reason to get out. Also, I spend the weekdays in the studio so I haven’t felt like I am trapped in the flat all day. Before lockdown my studio The Workshop N4 was used for both my own practice and for teaching 5-11 year olds after-school art.

Now, as I obviously can’t teach in the studio, I am making video tutorials for online art classes, and alongside this making paint from rocks and painting a lot which is really great. I think it’s the first time my studio space has really felt like my studio space as normally I share it with all the little creatives that come to my classes. I really miss their wonderful drawings and imaginations though, that is definitely missing from the studio! My dog Pearl spends most of the day with me in the studio and occasionally gets a play date with my friend and her two girls.

How are you all with everything?
Like most I am up and down. Some days I love lockdown. I love the tranquility, the slower pace and the challenge of making everything work as best I can. Other days I find that I crave normality like being able to pop into my local shop, head into town to a gallery or go to my favourite bar, Brouhaha on Green Lanes, eat amazing Japanese food from Kata and drink cocktails in the beer garden!

I have worked really hard since I opened my space 3 years ago to get it to the point of having fully booked after school clubs and holiday clubs, so I am finding losing all that over night really tough. I am a hard worker though and being busy is something I love so I have been working really hard with the online art classes and also making sure I spend this time I wouldn’t normally have painting as much as I can!

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