Through the window – families at home during lockdown’ is a series portraying mothers and fathers with their children during the Covid-19 pandemic.
The project, created by Manchester based photographer Coralie Monnet, was photographed between March and July 2020, in South Manchester and focuses on the mother/father and child relationship, and also pregnant parents expecting a baby during the confinement.
Photographed in Chorlton, Whalley Range, Didsbury, Old Trafford, Stretford, and Hulme, in a way that adhered to social distancing regulations in place in Manchester, the series features 20 families. All of them were really happy to participate in order to bring something positive and new to their daily life which had become monotonous.
The series of beautiful and candid photographs was photographed entirely through the windows of their home, as a depiction of the situation where the outside world existed primarily through a window or virtually via the Internet.
Documenting this unique moment and collecting stories to understand how these families experienced the pandemic was a way for the photographer to make a record for these families and also for the future generations.
Coralie built a strong connection with every family through emails as well as a video call before each visit to make them feel as comfortable as possible when taking pictures. She used questionnaires to give her more info about each family member, details on the way lockdown had changed their day to day life and also discovered their routine and learned more about the things they like to do together.
She then worked with the families to agree on a moment that was important to them, and would come at that time to photograph them as naturally and discreetly as possible. Every moment varied from family to family – breastfeeding the baby early in the morning, making pizza together for dinner, home schooling in the family’s van, dancing in the living room at the end of the afternoon and most of the time simply observing at the window what was happening outside.
Each family had a different outlook and feelings about the lockdown. Some parents worked from home while others are key workers. Some homeschooled or looked after the children all day while other parents worked full time and only saw their children in the evenings and on weekends. Some are single-parent families, some are expecting their first child.
Coralie said; “The moment we are living in is unique, frightening and full of questions but is also a chance to focus on the people we live with. This series has been photographed entirely through the windows as a representation of the situation where the outside world mainly existed through a window or virtually through the internet.
“I believe that this time has and will change our perception of the way we live. Documenting it was a way of keeping a trace and a keepsake for the families, especially the children, and to be able share their experience with the next generations.
“My work is based on storytelling, using a documentary, humanistic and poetic style to capture the unique relationships and connections between the people I photograph. I love to capture emotions and details, especially those of everyday life, to transport the viewer to relive, imagine and feel those moments.
“The idea for the series “Through the window – families at home” came to me during the first confinement. I needed to use my creativity and wanted to bring something positive into this uncertain climate.
“As a family photographer I was curious to see how families were practically and emotionally living during lockdown. Every point of view is different because some people experienced the first lockdown very well while others mentally struggled. Sometimes the photos aren’t enough to document a situation and I personally like to listen to the stories behind photos so it was essential here I think to have these accounts.”
Coralie first contacted families that she already knew and then looked for families (living maximum 10 minutes away from her house) on social media, especially local Facebook groups.
Coralie sent each family a guide explaining her approach, the project, a contract to sign allowing her to publish the photos and a questionnaire. The questionnaire was a way for her to find out more about their family, how they experienced being in lockdown, the positive or negative repercussions on their daily life and the changes it would imply on their future.
For more information about the families taking part and the photos visit https://coraliemonnet.com/