Topics: Ethical Living | Relationships

Pandemic portraits capture a new way to connect

Photographer Alicia Thwaites wants to highlight the importance of social distancing

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Connection: A woman says hello to her sister and baby nephew through a window in Winnipeg.

Two years ago, Alicia Thwaites snapped a touching photo of her toddler reaching toward a window, his grandparents touching the glass from the outside. When COVID-19 started to keep us all isolated, the Winnipeg photog­rapher decided to create connections through similarly styled pictures in a project called Through the Window.

Thwaites began taking photographs of her family and close friends in March. She soon had nearly 70 people reaching out to volunteer for a portrait.

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“I thought it was a way to shed light on the import­ance of social distancing,” says Thwaites, whose nephew has cerebral palsy and a compromised immune system. “As much as it is hard to only see loved ones through a window or at a distance, it’s important because we don’t want to live like this forever.”

Words: Amy van den Berg

Pandemic portrait: Bowie, the son of Thwaites’ best friend, smiles for the camera.
Reflection: Family friend Chelsea Walker kisses baby Sophia.
Together apart: Inside, Jeff Sawler (left), his girlfriend, Barb Turczak, and her daughter, Lily, wave to Thwaites’ two children.

“I am incredibly proud of my fellow Manitobans for how we have risen to the challenge presented to the world at large.”

Alicia Thwaites
At home: Cat Brown is Thwaites’ good friend and fellow photographer.
Family ties: Alfred and Theresa Jobse, Thwaites’ parents, greet their daughter through the door.

This photo essay appeared in Broadview’s July/August 2020 issue.

Alicia Thwaites is a family photographer in Winnipeg.

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