Local photographer Jo de Magneval is passionate about creating joyful portraits that capture the small but important details of life. Stay Home Superheroes is one of Jo’s personal projects, developed throughout lockdown.

Jo is also the co-owner of Cellar Magneval, an elegant wine bar in Woking town centre, which she runs alongside her husband Thierry.

We spoke to Jo to learn more about the inspiration behind Stay Home Superheroes.

Firstly, please tell us a bit about how the idea of Stay Home Superheroes came to life.

I was out with my three children, three scooters and a camera on our daily neighbourhood walk at the start of lockdown when I passed a friend's house. Her youngest daughter Freya was waving in the window in her superhero outfit and I snapped her. It kickstarted an idea.

We have all been 'Staying home, Staying safe', which has been a roller coaster of emotions for everyone (to put it mildly!). I thought it would be wonderful to capture the essence of lockdown. I believed that photographing families through a window to their world would be the perfect way to do it. I found my sitters by simply putting a public call out on all my social media feeds and people volunteered to take part.

How did you conduct the interviews that accompany your photographs? What was the motivation behind this?

Once the shoot was finished I sent through a set of questions to help complete the story for each family. I felt it was important to give words to the emotions that they have been feeling as a way to heighten the emotions you can feel in the images themselves.

What do you think is the most important takeaway that people should come out with after viewing your exhibition?

I would hope that people can relate their own lockdown experiences to these images and go away feeling like they have been part of something bigger and that their own personal experiences are just as valid as the ones that have been photographed.

What’s next for you? Any upcoming projects we should keep an eye on?

I am currently compiling a list of community based ideas for future projects whilst continuing shooting with my clients. I love all forms of the medium, so even though I specialise in families and entrepreneurs, I am always open to any project, big or small!

Jo de Magneval’s photographic portraits are on display in the Art Fund Prize Gallery until 27 September 2020 and the exhibition is free to visit.

Would you like to exhibit your work at The Lightbox? Get in touch to hire the Art Fund Prize Gallery.