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The view from my window - Zoe Owens

Last Spring, at the start of the first lockdown I began to take portraits of people through the windows of their homes - the glass a natural barrier to a world that we suddenly found ourselves removed from. I asked people to share their stories and experiences with me.

Over 6 months after this portrait was taken, and into our 3rd lockdown, I'm thinking about the next part of this project (to go back into peoples homes and photograph the view looking out) and how the last year has been for everyone - what's changed for them and how they feel now.

You can read Zoe's story, a humbling insight into her first lockdown experience, below


" I hadn’t put much thought into lockdown. I was lucky enough to still be working & my partner works from home, so on that level we didn’t have much to think about. We’d moved to Brighton, so are familiar with not seeing family & friends for a while. ⠀⠀

Everything changed on 1st April when I was diagnosed with Breast Cancer. Suddenly lockdown became more real. I was concerned about my mum & how she’d cope, which was made harder when my Nan (her mum) sadly passed away the day after. I get my strength from her & looked on the positive. I had my cry in the doctors office, & then it became a case of ‘how do I fight this’. I had my rock, Alex, & he fought with me. I love researching things I don’t understand, so this became my new, hobby. I didn’t look for pages of doctors notes, I looked for real women going through this journey & found comfort knowing that even though I was “locked” in my home, thousands were doing the same. The biggest thing I got from it was how positive everyone was.


Family & friends reached out on a daily basis. We’d have quizzes & group chats. A simple hello would lift my day, flowers in the post brought me to happy tears, & a cuddle from our French Bulldog Lola would ease the distance with family. It’s amazing how quickly the world adapted, as if everyone was more connected. ⠀⠀

I had my lumpectomy & my world opened up again when I was told they’d got all the cancer out. When I look back on this lockdown & my breast cancer journey, to me it will be filled with love, kind words, happy memories, simple pleasures & reconnections. As well as a beautiful scar. ⠀⠀

As the world opened up again, links between friends & family became distant memories. It was heartbreaking to think it was going back to the old normal, until the BLM movement reached an all time high, people came together again & my research changed to educating myself. Due to my health I was worried I wouldn’t be able to march & show my solidarity with our Black community, but for me this took a back seat. Fundamental human rights are too important. It was a strong peaceful protest.


The world around us is changing, I’m holding out hope it’s for the better."


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