Toynbee Hall photo exhibition tells community's stories of lockdown

Isabel De Rios at her front-door in Bethnal Green

Isabel De Rios at her front door in Bethnal Green - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar

People stuck in isolation during lockdown have “gone public” to share their experiences at an exhibition in Whitechapel's Toynbee Hall centre.

Photographer Adam Isfendiyar walked the streets snapping people at their windows, doors and balconies for a University of Oxford study into the effects of lockdown.

Peggy Metaxas isolated in Bethnal Green

Peggy Metaxas isolated in Bethnal Green - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar


“I saw people just looking out into the street and that gave me the idea,” Adam told the East London Advertiser. 

“I put a message on a Covid mutual aid group and got 50 replies from people anxious to tell their stories.” 

Lynn Mcfarlane in her rooftop garden in Limehouse

Lynn Mcfarlane in her rooftop garden in Limehouse - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar


Adam met two of them again when the exhibition opened. They were Peggy Metaxas, who he photographed at her front door in Bethnal Green, and Lynn Mcfarlane, who he snapped looking down from her rooftop Garden in Limehouse.  

Adam Isfendiyar with two he photographed, Peggy Metaxas and Lynn Mcfarlane, at Toynbee Hall  holding copies of their pictures

Adam Isfendiyar with two he photographed, Peggy Metaxas and Lynn Mcfarlane, at Toynbee Hall holding copies of their pictures - Credit: Jeremy Freedman


“They were thrilled to see their pictures on show after spending months in isolation,” the 41-year-old photographer added.

“The lockdown was soul destroying with some even feeling paranoid.”

Komal Patel at her window in Mile End

Komal Patel at her window in Mile End - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar


Lawyer Komal Patel was in isolation in Mile End and spent her days cooking, reading and practising the piano.

She recalled: “It was pretty soul destroying, but it made me realise how much of my life runs on adrenaline. It's nice not being in a rush.”  

Their stories and Adam's snapshots are on show at Toynbee Hall until the end of the month.

Reflective shot... Rachel and David-Wickert at home in Limehouse

Reflective shot... Rachel and David-Wickert at home in Limehouse - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar

Rene on her balcony in Poplar

Rene on her balcony in Poplar - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar

Rose Curran at her window in Whitechapel

Rose Curran at her window in Whitechapel - Credit: Adam Isfendiyar

Photographer Adam Isfendiyar himself... snapped at his own window in Whitechapel by a friend

Photographer Adam Isfendiyar himself... snapped at his own window in Whitechapel by a friend - Credit: Sofie House


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