Lotties in Lockdown | Documenting quarantine without leaving the house

May 1, 2020 | Projects

What do you do when you’re a family documentary photographer in lockdown with no families to photograph? You start a collaboration with your 9 year old daughter to make photos of Lottie dolls of course! 

Meet the Fleming Family:

Living just outside London, single Mum, Amber Fleming, is isolating with her 3 kids; 15 year old teenager Florence and 8 year old twins Humphrey and Hattie. We have been granted exclusive access to document the life of the Fleming family as they adapt to the changes brought about by the covid-19 pandemic.  Doll family at breakfast time for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectHumphrey is starving, Amber’s lockdown rations just aren’t cutting it, so in an attempt to curb the constant moaning she had decided to cook a big fry up for breakfast, but things never go to plan in the Fleming house… Two dolls playing dressing up for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectAmber Fleming is wondering how she is going to cope with her 8 year old twins at home. All. The. Time… There are pens and paper all over the floor in the kitchen, felt pen on the Moroccan rug, she found tissue paper on her bottom and now the twins are wrecking the sitting room … after a moment of refocus she realises the benefits of imaginary play and sits down for a cuppa whilst a frenzied sword fight ensues… Two dolls having a water fight for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectCabin fever is running high in the Fleming house, but the weather unseasonably hot, so Amber has thrown the twins in to the garden for a good old fashioned water fight … for a fleeting moment coronavirus was forgotten and everything seemed normal again… Two dolls doing PE with Joe Wicks for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectIt’s a small miracle, Florence is dressed and downstairs in time for PE with Joe Wicks at 9am, Amber is congratulating herself for mastering the homeschool routine and peeps her head around the living room door to admire her work … but while the twins put their heart and soul in to the routine, the lazy teenager is found lounging on the sofa… Two dolls in a bathtime scene for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectWithout having to venture out in to the real world, it seems 10 days have passed since anyone in the house had a bath or shower so the situation needs addressing. Whilst Amber and Florence take turns in the shower, the twins take advantage of the lack of supervision to see how far they can splash bubbles up the wall. Two dolls in a kitchen scene baking cookies for Emma Collins Lottie Doll projectLike much of the UK, the Fleming family have turned to baking to pass the time. With Hattie’s help more of the mixture ends up on the floor, but Amber is not letting it bother her, no one can come to visit so she is enjoying embracing her inner slob.

The background to this project:

My youngest daughter and I began ‘Lotties in Lockdown’ to combat boredom and to keep our days exciting and varied during the extensive period of social distancing that the UK has been thrown into. As a documentary photographer who is normally busy photographing families it is a way for me to photograph a family without leaving the house and it’s been an incredible way for us to connect and collaborate on a creative project. Many of the props and details are handcrafted by my daughter, so this has also been the perfect way for me to document her talent for crafting and her brilliant observational skills. Inspired by her play and the care she takes when creating family scenes, the project has since snowballed and become part of our daily lockdown routine. At the end of ‘homeschool’ each day we set up a scene and take a new photo of the Lottie family and their social distancing efforts, my daughter gets to indulge in her favourite play and I get to document a family life of sorts… and the bonus is that no consent is needed as GDPR doesn’t apply to Lotties! To follow along and see what the Lotties get up to next, as well as lots of behind the scenes action, visit me on instagram.

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