Jo de Magneval has been living and working in Woking since 2008. Until recently, she’s been running the well-known Cellar Magneval Wine Bar in Woking town centre with her husband. Now that they’ve sold the business, she’s been focusing on her photography business and exploring ‘storytelling creative for life unscripted’.
We sat down with jo to talk about her latest project and all things photography…
When did you first get interested in photography/videography?
“I fell in love with photography when I was at college. The magic of watching a photo unveiling itself in front of me in the darkroom had me hooked and my wonderful parents bought me an enlarger not long after, which then came with me to uni and beyond, travelling from house share to house share in London! I continued photography, exhibiting with a friend in London and doing personal projects and life documentation whilst working in post-production. My videography started back at the same place in college but has taken a little longer to circle back into my life.”
What are the usual subjects of your photography?
“I see myself as a visual storyteller and I adore creating. I mainly work with families, female entrepreneurs for their personal branding, and capture big awesome life events. My style is lifestyle documentary and I am all about real life and the beautiful unscripted moments.”
What inspired the ‘When the world paused’ piece?
“After my #stayhomesuperheroes photo project from the first lockdown, which culminated in an exhibition at the Light Box Gallery back in September 2020, I wanted to create another project only this time using film as the medium.
Having spent lockdown with 3 children under 11, trying to shield them from our worries and concerns (which by the way was impossible sometimes!) I was keen to give them a voice. After all, it’s not just us grown-ups that have been affected by this pandemic and all the life changes that have happened, and I felt they deserved have a chance to speak about what has been on their minds and be heard by us.
I hope other children who may watch it will identify with their feelings and emotions and know that they aren’t alone in how they may be feeling.
From a mental health perspective, it’s important to be able to talk through your feelings and feel like you have support so I hope this video does that.
Plus, I also wanted to highlight and reflect on the positives that may have happened because of this and create something that may give us all a bit of hope that the future can be bright again.”
How did you select the children for this video?
“I put a call out on my business and personal social media channels (Facebook & Instagram) and the parents of the children involved contacted me… except my own children of course!”
The children in the film are inspiring. What lessons can they teach us about life post pandemic?
“Aren’t they fantastic?! They blew me away with their maturity in their answers and their honestly and openness. I feel so privileged that they allowed me to tell their stories. I think this film shows how incredibly resilient and adaptable to change they are, something that we can struggle with as adults. Children can teach us to be more present and less controlling of what we can’t control, to keep things simple, enjoy our family and friends and hopeful that we can create a better world together.”
What are your plans for your career post lockdown?
“Since selling our business, I’m now focusing full time on my photography. I always have personal projects on the go (most recent ones are featured on my website) and I have new and exciting family photo packages available, one of which is perfect for all those post lockdown family get togethers that we are all planning!
I have also just launched my own take on family films, which I am really thrilled about. They are a time capsule mini documentary films that have a similar feel and style to this film. One option is called ‘Child of Mine’ which captures your child or children and all their favourites things in the present moment before they grow, change and we slowly forget those moments, so you can always go back to who they were right then.
The other is called ‘Legacy Tales’, these films focus on the older generation passing down their own family stories to treasure, perhaps filling in the blanks from your own childhood memories or creating a visual biography of their best moments. I know there are family stories that get told around the dinner tables and I believe these special stories deserve to be honoured in beautiful mini films to be enjoyed for many years.
As long as I am creating I am a happy girl and when my clients are happy it's the icing on the cake!”
Watch When The World Paused here.
You can find out more about Jo and her other work here: