Coronavirus: Photographing the neighbours during lockdown

By Caroline Lowbridge
BBC News

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image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionLizzie Adams' project was inspired by this photo of her brother Chris and his family

Faced with no work due to weddings being cancelled, photographer Lizzie Adams decided to spend time doing portraits of her neighbours.

She has been combining her daily exercise with "lockdown photo-shoots", assisted by her five-year-old daughter Elsie who "shouts directions at people".

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionLizzie took this self-portrait with her daughter Elsie

The portraits capture households in Rutland as people cope with being stuck at home in unprecedented times.

"It was really wonderful to speak to everybody and they said it was so nice to see a different face," Lizzie says. "I think the value of making connections at the moment is really important."

'Freaked about the future'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionLuke May and Romy Letteri are enjoying spending more time together

Romy Letteri and Luke May both work in the music industry. Luke is a sound engineer and Romy is a caterer and dressing room co-ordinator. They met when they were working on a Catfish and the Bottlemen tour.

"We are enjoying the time together but also freaked about the future," says Romy, who lives in Uppingham.

"We lost so much work because the whole live music industry just shut down, quite rightfully so.

"The scary prospect is no-one can put money on when it's back to normal."

Looking after Romy's two daughters - aged three and five - has kept them occupied, along with lots of exercise, work around the house and games like Uno and Jenga.

"We are taking each day as it comes," says Romy. "I guess this puts things in perspective."

'We've become closer'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionAnna and Ollie Hughes dressed up for their portrait with Jasper, 6, and Rafferty, 3

Artist Anna Hughes has been doing creative activities at home with her children while husband Ollie goes out to work in the food industry.

"I think as a family we've become closer," says Anna, who lives in Oakham.

"The reason we dressed up as we did is to do with my love of bright colours but also the boys are really into rock music.

"It was nice for Lizzie to come round and be able to chat to her across the road. That's what I miss the most because I'm quite a sociable person."

'Smoking is his new hobby'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionKatie Simmons says her boyfriend Liam Baker has been growing vegetables

Katie Simmons, a TV producer, and her food stylist boyfriend, Liam Baker, have been trying to be productive while in lockdown in Oakham.

"Liam has been growing vegetables and has been painting, as in the house and canvases," says Katie.

"He has also taken up smoking, that's his new hobby, although he's trying to give up now. His daily routine was hosing the garden with a rollup in his mouth."

Katie has been able to carry on working and they have also been getting out of the house while walking their dog, Dennis.

"We know we are the lucky ones," says Katie.

"We've got a beautiful garden and the sun is out. If it was that rain earlier in the year we would perhaps have gone a bit mad."

'Sharing a space is interesting'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionChris Law is enjoying having her eldest son home from university

Chris Law was celebrating her birthday on the day she was photographed with husband Keith and sons Tom, Dan and Will.

"I was thinking it's going to be the most grim birthday ever but actually it was one of the nicest birthdays," says Chris, from Oakham.

"The eldest hasn't been home for my birthday since he was at uni so to have him home was lovely."

Chris is a teacher and has been setting lessons from home while also going to school to teach children of key workers.

Her husband, a fibre planner for a telecommunications company, has also been working from home.

"Sharing a space is interesting because he's very loud and I like to work in silence, but we are getting there," she says.

Twins Dan and Will, 17, are doing their schoolwork remotely while 21-year-old Tom will have to do his university finals online.

"To have him home for six weeks is the longest he has been home and I have to say, very selfishly, I'm loving it," says Chris.

'Times are tough'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionNikki Loomes was photographed with husband Kevin Loomes and children Jake, Anya and Fin

Like Lizzie, Nikki Loomes also works in the wedding industry, offering a venue dressing service.

"It is tough at the moment when you see the weddings you had booked for 2020 being cancelled one after the other," says Nikki, from Oakham.

She says anything that "brings a little joy and positivity" like this photo-shoot "is a wonderful thing to be part of".

"Lizzie is very talented and a great person and our family were very happy to support her project."

'We've both been furloughed'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionDogs Rolo and Louie also feature in this portrait of the Lynch family

Fitness manager Gemma Lynch doesn't normally like having her photo taken but thought this would be a fun way to raise money for charity.

She and her husband, IT manager Rob Lynch, have both been furloughed and are at home in Uppingham with their son Ethan, 11, and daughter Emilia, nine.

"We've been coping reasonably well," Gemma says. "We've been able to go outside and get fresh air, and we've been decorating and getting on with jobs around the house.

"We've been making sure we stay in contact with friends and doing shopping for my parents and sister and trying to shop locally, really."

'We've been dealing with a newborn'

image copyrightLizzie Adams
image captionGareth Owen and his wife Nina Blyth-Owen have their hands full

Gareth Owen and his wife Nina Blyth-Owen have been kept busy looking after their newborn son, Miles, while also home schooling their four-year-old, Archer.

"I've been very fortunate as I can work from home," says Gareth, whose job is in music publishing in London but who lives in Oakham.

Nina, a florist, is currently on maternity leave.

"We've been dealing with a newborn and the lack of sleep while trying to do as much schooling as we can," Gareth adds. "It's been an adjustment."

All photographs were taken in return for donations to Rutland Foodbank

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