Shropshire

Coronavirus: Photographer captures lockdown life in doorstep portraits

A mother and her two children Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption Birgitta Zoutman takes pictures of neighbours during her daily cycle. This is one of the families

A photographer whose work has stopped during the coronavirus crisis has been documenting her community in a series of doorstep photographs.

Birgitta Zoutman, from Shrewsbury, Shropshire, started photographing neighbours while on her daily cycle and sharing them on her Facebook page.

The pandemic forced her to close her studio and she said it felt "so good to be doing what I love again".

Pictures are free but Miss Zoutman asks for a donation to a local food bank.

Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption People have decorated their homes with yarn as an annual yarn bombing of a local foot bridge could not happen

The mother-of-two, from Castlefields, said the project "started by accident".

"I'd been aware of doorstop portraits and I didn't feel comfortable doing them initially," she said.

Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption Pets have featured in many of the portraits

However, after one of her daily cycles she asked neighbours if she could take a portrait, posted them on her Facebook page "and it all went a bit mad".

She has been so overwhelmed that her daily hour is now booked up until 8 May.

Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption Miss Zoutman said she had been overwhelmed by the response to the photographs and now had a waiting list

"I've offered to do them purely when I'm out on my bike ride so that I'm within government guidelines."

The 46-year-old will only carry out portraits within a 20-minute cycle from her home and uses a zoom lens to ensure social distancing.

Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption An exhibition of portraits will take place after the lockdown
Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption A chicken and dogs feature in this family portrait
Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption The project is for the community and captures "a moment in history"

She has asked for donations to Barnabas Community Projects as it is an organisation close to her heart.

Image copyright Birgitta Zoutman Photography
Image caption A campervan decorated with bunting takes centre stage in this portrait

"I haven't done this for my business, it's purely a community thing," she said.

"It's a moment in history, I didn't want to be taking money from it. But now it's taken off, I've got 30 people waiting to have their portraits, I thought I'd put it to good use."

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