Coronavirus: Photographer documents Sussex families in lockdown

© 2020 J J Waller —

A professional photographer in Brighton is documenting the coronavirus lockdown by capturing images of residents in lockdown through their own windows from the street.

JJ Waller switched careers to photography after success as a comedy performer, and has several published books of images to his credit.

He told More Radio how the idea for his current project came about:

“I was working in Worthing, looking for images, and as I was driving through I heard on the radio that the lockdown was going to take place, and I had to think very quickly how I could respond to that. 

“I felt, as a photographer, that it was an important thing to be documenting. And I just hit on the idea of shooting people through their windows. Then I can stay at a safe distance.”

His images, collected on his government-permitted daily exercise, include families and individuals, all showing on their faces their reaction to being held under virtual house-arrest.

JJ said his project is now bringing enquiries from people who’d like to be included — and they sometimes have their own, special, requests.

He said:

“I’m just about to go and shoot a picture after an invitation from the family who asked me if they could take part.

“But would I mind if they included a picture of somebody who couldn’t be there? 

“And then they went on to say that it was a member of their family who they’d lost, and they felt that they weren’t truly represented as a family in the picture unless his presence was felt in the image.

“And I thought that was a very emotional thing.”

“The response has been really positive.

“It’s nice to know that people looking at the pictures see something sensitive coming through in the portraits.”

JJ said his photography of people in their homes is more than just portraiture – it also shows a better way for society to behave.

He added:

“What we can take away from all this it the need for humanity, for positivity, for community, to share. 

“My project is ongoing, and documenting a story that we’re all involved in.

“None of us knows how that story is going to unfold, so I hope it’ll end up as a set of historical pictures sooner rather than later.”

He’s invited anyone who wishes to take part to browse his work, and contact him through his website.

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