21st May 2020

Environment Coronavirus: Photographers’ children’s lives in lockdown

Environment Coronavirus: Photographers’ children’s lives in lockdown


Professional photographers in lockdown in the UK, Mali, Costa Rica, the Philippines and elsewhere, have taken shots of their children in lockdown.

environment A child looks out a window at the outside worldImage copyright
Haris Calkic / Unicef

Unicef UK, a charity working for children in danger, has coordinated a photo-essay by their photographers, showing life in their households.

Hundreds of millions of children have been affected by the lockdowns, with a potential negative impact on their education and mental wellbeing.

The images, taken in March and April, show the constrained and resourceful way activities are being carried out in households, including home-schooling, exercise and playtime.

Each photographer describes their image.

Environment Arimacs Wilander, Jakarta, Indonesia

environment A woman embraces her son whilst sitting on a bedImage copyright
Arimacs Wilander / Unicef

“I live in the capital city of Indonesia, Jakarta, with my wife and son.

“Fauziah embraces her son, Etno, and manages to persuade him not to go to school.

“Sometimes, my son cries because he is not allowed to go to school.

“But my wife can always control my son’s emotions.

“My wife always tells funny things while hugging my son in the window of our house.”

Environment Igor Isanović, Bosnia-Herzegovina

environment A multiple exposure image of the same child doing different activities at homeImage copyright
Igor Isanović / Unicef

“Get up, sit down, stretch out, jump, dance, relax, run, stop, look, breathe – little girl Lana manages to do everything in one day.

“She plays, learns new things but also helps Mom and Dad in preventing Covid-19 from spreading, by having fun at home.

“Be like Lana – stay home, learn at home and have fun at home.”

environment A child lies on her father's back while he does a plank exerciseImage copyright
Igor Isanović / Unicef

Environment Peter Hove Olesen, Denmark

environment A child sits on the swings in an empty playgroundImage copyright
Peter Hove Olesen / Unicef

“Normally, all the playgrounds in the inner city would have been filled at this time – but the lockdown has been in effect for two days and people seem to be staying at home.

“Having a three-year-old son and working two full-time jobs is normally a bit of a puzzle.

“When the Danish government decided to close all universities, schools and kindergartens, a few thousand pieces were added to that puzzle.

“I have been working at the newspaper, trying to take pictures of the way the city I live in changed.

“I also started photographing my son, Vester – in the beginning, mainly because I have been spending a lot more time with him than usual.

“But as the days passed by, it grew into a diary of some sort, because his world also changed – a lot.”

Environment Karel Prinsloo, Johannesburg, South Africa

environment An upset child clings to its parents legsImage copyright
Karel Prinsloo / Unicef

“Paul shows his displeasure at doing another task for home-schooling.

“Paul is coping really well with the lockdown.

“He does not seem to miss school that much and I am busy with home-schooling.

“And of course he has lots of playtime.

“We try to make sure the kids can talk to a friend every day on WhatsApp.”

Environment Roger LeMoyne, Montreal, Canada

environment A child in a doorway as a dog looks onImage copyright
Roger LeMoyne / Unicef

“Sacha, 13, climbs the walls in our home in Montreal, Canada.

“The earthbound family dog, Kobi, looks on.

“Sacha has been interested in parkour, the sport of using the urban environment for gymnastic-like movements, and has attended classes and parkour camp.

“It is difficult not to have the [lockdown] situation create a sense of doom that then undermines the kids’ motivations.

“With my wife working in the hospital, I have accepted that I need to stay home and keep the kids on some kind of routine.

“So we are spending all day every day together, which would usually only happen for a couple of weeks during vacations.”

Environment Jack Bacon, UK

environment Jago and the tvImage copyright
Jack Bacon / Unicef

“As a family we are normally outside a lot with friends and the restrictions have been difficult for the children to adjust to.

“Socialising has been replaced by screens, and we think the children are so desperate to play with others they have become obsessed with Youtubers – watching other children playing tag and building box forts there instead of doing it for real.

“However, we have found moments of joy, like my wife catching a turtle on our daily walk, a ‘socially- distant’ Easter egg hunt, and chatting to friends passing by our balcony. We hope they will remember this stressful time as one long holiday and that our old life will return.”

Environment Bruno Amsellem, Lyon, France

environment A woman uses a laptop whilst a child plays with her hairImage copyright
Bruno Amsellem / Unicef

“We had to reshape our daily lives, with my wife, Anne-Lise, a Euronews TV journalist, and our daughter, Violette, three.

“We are used to sharing our day between home-schooling with Violette, whose teacher sends a schedule every week, indoor exercise and reading.

“Outings are very rare and impose social distancing and have to be in a 1km (0.6-mile) radius for one hour maximum.”

Environment Priscilla Mora Flores, San José, Costa Rica

environment A girl lies on the floor covered with photos and papersImage copyright
Priscilla Mora Flores / Unicef

“My name is Priscilla Mora and I live with my husband, Iván Yuja, and two children, Teo, seven, and Lara, 10.

“Lara (above) is lying on the floor covered by photos, cutouts, drawings and other documents from the ‘treasure box’ of memories.

“The quarantine officially started on 16 March in the country – but in my house, we were already quarantined since 3 March, because I got the A/H1N1 influenza [swine flu].

“I went to the hospital, presenting symptoms of fever, cough, body pain and extreme tiredness.

“The diagnosis was swine flu, the last pandemic registered before this current one.

“The doctor gave me two days of hospitalisation.

“Every day at home, together, it gives us the opportunity to be present as a family, without so many distractors.

“For one year and seven months, the four of us lived in an ’89 [Volkswagen] VW van, traveling through South America.

“That travel experience now works for us to know how to cope with this quarantine – living more slowly, being less consumerist and enjoying the small pleasures of each day, where the rhythm is indicated by mealtimes together.

“Creativity is awakened.

“One challenge has been to ensure that children continue to maintain their social relationships, through the internet.”

Environment Seyba Keita, Mali

environment A man and girl sit on a sofa whilst the girl plays with a cameraImage copyright
Seyba Keita / Unicef

“Sharing some tips of my lovely work with my daughter is one of my best moments in the day.

“She loves handling the camera and taking photos of her family.”

Environment Karin Schermbrucker, Cape Town, South Africa

environment A boy lies on a bed and does some knittingImage copyright
Karin Schermbrucker / Unicef

“Ethan, six, loves to knit and it has kept him busy for hours during lockdown.

“Still in his pyjamas, nestled between the cushions and covers of the couch, he creates a safe and happy place amidst the current concerns of the outside world.”

Environment Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi, Zimbabwe

environment A boy exercises on the ground as his siblings watch from a windowImage copyright
Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi / Unicef

“My son Tapfuma Mukwazhi, 15, exercises while my other kids, Timikha (left), 10, plays with the dogs and Terrell, five, looks outside the window at our family home, in Hatfield, Harare, Zimbabwe.

“The Covid-19 pandemic has made us endure many days indoors and helped us to bond and understand our children better.

“For us as a family, the lockdown has been a great opportunity to reflect on so many things – and when this is all over our lives will never be the same again.”

All photographs courtesy Unicef.


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