Lou’s Summer

Lou’s Summer

Is a unique collaboration between me and my 6-year-old son Lou photographing our lockdown lives in NYC and The Netherlands.

‘Lou’s Summer’ is a reflection of the bizarre time we’re living in. One year ago the COVID-19 pandemic erupts, turning all our lives upside down. New York City, my home for the past 12 years, was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic and went in complete lockdown. We decided to rent a car. We didn’t feel safe commuting on the subway, and driving allowed us to escape the confinement of our small city apartment. We ventured out to Coney Island and Orchard Beach — short trips to get some fresh air and it helped us cope with our uncertainty. Lou asked if he could use one of my old cameras, and, from the back seat of our rental car, began to take pictures of “his” New York. Intuitive, unassuming, he looked upon the city in ways he had never seen it before. The city that never sleeps turned into a ghost town.

In early June of 2020, we left for The Netherlands, where we’ve gone on summer breaks every year since Lou was born. The Netherlands felt like a different planet. After two weeks of quarantine, my fear dissipated, my body relaxed. We enjoy the outdoors. I realized that Mother Nature is so much stronger than us people. During this pandemic it forced us to change our pace. And it painfully showed us the inequalities in society’s. We decided not to return to New York anytime soon so Lou can go to school in-person. We are painfully aware of our privilege to be able to make this choice.

I started to take pictures of Lou. I captured him sleeping, swimming, growing—intimate moments where dream and daylight touch. I saw a change in his identity. Seeing him in the Dutch landscape, feels both new and familiar to me. Now he is not only a New Yorker but also recognizes his heritage. Taking these pictures was therapy. It helped me cope with all the changes. All the choices I have to make, as a parent, a partner and a photographer.

Combining our photos created a natural synergy that gives a glimpse into our lives in two worlds, where New York and the Netherlands are inextricably linked. All photos taken in New York are photographed by Lou.

You can order Lou’s Summer via info@chantalheijnen.com
The book is €45 (excl €5 local shipping cost)