Capturing the people and stories behind the doors of Windsor during the lockdown

PUBLISHED: 00:00 29 June 2020

Clara (c) Sophie Balchin

Clara (c) Sophie Balchin

© Sophie Balchin

Local photographer Sophie Balchin documents a unique moment in time.

“The idea for a book of lockdown Windsor doortraits came about when I was participating in one of the Thursday evening claps for our carers. My balcony looks over so many rooftops and front doors up to Windsor Castle and it got me wondering about the stories behind each of them,” says photographer Sophie Balchin.

After posting about her project on Facebook, Sophie received messages from people wanting to be included. “I had such a great response from the locals – it was uplifting,” she says. “It took a lot of work to plan out the routes on my bike and timings every day.”

The photos will be created into a book, which will be sold with all profits going to the NHS and local charity Thames Hospice.

For each photo Sophie stood at a safe distance away from the door. “It has been an emotional experience,” she says. “I have met so many people with all sorts of different stories. Families that are homeschooling, nurses that have to stay in a separate part of the house to their families, pilots that can’t fly, new mums that had to give birth alone, neighbours celebrating VE Day over a fence...

Sophie BalchinSophie Balchin

“Over the past week I have been down roads I never knew existed. I’ve seen community and love. Young and old. People from all sorts of countries and backgrounds,” she explains.

Sophie was born in Ascot, raised there, and moved to Windsor in 2011. “My whole life is here,” she says. “Berkshire has everything I need: green areas, the river, buzzing towns and gorgeous villages with farm shops. I love the Long Walk and strolling to Dorney. We are spoilt.

“I spent 10 years running pubs, so got to know a lot of the locals, but I decided to leave my job and persue my passion,” she says. “I’m now putting all my creative energy into photography, as well as some brand styling and design. I love capturing the beauty of life, our wonderful world around us and glances between loved ones.”

Sophie will photograph as many people as she can before sending the book to print. She is in talks with companies that will sponsor the first print run of the book, so the money from the book sales can go straight to the NHS and the Thames Hospice.

Sophie adds: “One thing is for sure, Windsor has made my heart very happy doing this project!”

The book is available to buy online at sophiebalchin.co.uk and The Barker Gallery, Eton

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