With the UK’s lockdown set to remain in place for at least another week, photographer Silvia Molteni has spent her daily walks documenting how north Londoners are coping with quarantine.
The beginning of lockdown coincided with a long and uninterrupted series of sunny spring days in the capital, and Molteni’s series, cheerfully named ‘Like Sunflowers’, shows people catching every inch of sunshine possible from their window sills, gardens, rooftops, driveways and fences – all while respecting social distancing.
Says Molteni: ‘I noticed that Londoners had started to use spaces of their homes that had always been neglected. A bit like sunflowers follow[ing] the sun’s ray throughout the day, street after square, crescent after alley everyone was climbing onto anything just to get some sun without violating the lockdown rules.’
Only leaving her home once a day for physical exercise, Molteni noticed that although her travels were confined, her attention to the details of the streetscape was heightened.
‘I learnt the cycle of the blossom, for instance,’ she says. ‘First came the prunes, followed by the cherry trees, and finally the wisteria. I now know where the most beautiful trees of these varieties are – including an entire street lined with cherry trees.’
Ultimately, the photo essay made Molteni appreciate the little things. ‘This series is a love letter to north London. I thought lockdown would really have a negative effect on me, but being able to [do my daily] walk to some of my favourite places in London has really been a lifeline in these uncertain times.’