Coronavirus: London photographer captures life in lockdown

By Sarah Lee
BBC News

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image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar

A photographer whose work has been put on hold due to the coronavirus pandemic has taken to the streets of east London to capture people's lives in lockdown.

Adam Isfendiyar, from Tower Hamlets, London, posted on a local Facebook group asking for volunteers for his "window portraits".

He said within hours he was inundated with messages and within two days he had 80 people signed up for photo shoots.

"Travelling from house to house on bike, I manage to cover four to five people within the hour and collect their personal stories and experiences of life in lockdown," he said.

image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionAdam Isfendiyar got his girlfriend to take his own picture as he posed on his kitchen windowsill
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionA three generation household, and pet dogs Ozzy and Pepper, were photographed in Mile End

Coronavirus meant Mr Isfendiyar's upcoming shoots were cancelled and any future work is uncertain.

"What is happening at the moment is an event that everyone in the world can connect with and I wanted to be able to help to build connection through identification with others in a time of isolation," he said.

image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionMonika said coffee with friends now seemed like a "big dream" and the view from her balcony "feels different"

The London based photographer added: "I have been overwhelmed at the positive responses from people and at the sense of community that I've seen building around the parts of east London that I've visited.

"I am also very grateful that I am getting to meet new people and hear their stories. It's keeping me busy and connected, which is important right now."

image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionMr Isfendiyar takes pictures of four to five people within an hour
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionRebecca Godden, a freelance actress, has had all her work cancelled or put on pause amid the coronavirus pandemic

Rebecca Godden, 28, who was photographed on her balcony in Mile End, said she was trying to stay positive.

"I am a freelance actor and practitioner of performing arts so all my work has been cancelled or put on pause for the foreseeable future," she said.

"This is the biggest way my life has been affected- creatively, financially and emotionally. It's tough but I have my health and for that I am thankful."

image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionVoluntary worker, Lynn, 69, said the lockdown had provided her with the time to take on more voluntary roles in her local area
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionMr Isfendiyar said his project had helped him connect with people in his community
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionDavid and Rachel Wickert loved being photographed at their Limehouse home as it "brings strangers together through their shared experiences"
image copyrightAdam Isfendiyar
image captionNadine and Stephen with their children Ben and Beatrice were happy to have their photo taken

Mr Isfendiyar has shared his photographs on his personal blog and hopes to exhibit his work in the future.

"I want all participants to be able to meet and celebrate the end of lockdown together."

Photos by Adam Isfendiyar

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