The Front Steps Project

I became a photographer because I am passionate about documenting life. And for most people right now life is spent at home. I wanted to participate in this movement which has been gaining in popularity by doing it safely and in my own way. I volunteered to go around in my own neighborhood for one week end at the very beginning of all this, and always from a safe social distance. I wanted to spread some cheer, maybe get to know a few families who live nearby. This whole experience was so meaningful for myself, and now that the people who participated have given me some feedback, I know that it was for them as well. It was little things like getting to dress nice and do their hair, kids showing off some of their skills or favorite toys, hanging out with their pets, having a platform to share some really important messages. Most of all, I learnt that we are all in this together, but every story is completely different, and equally worth telling. Each family showed me in their own way what is truly important, and what we need to focus on as a community so that we all come out of this stronger.

Remarkable Parents

Routines have been ripped away from our children and I am seeing parents doing everything in their power to make sure that not only their children’s needs are being met, but that they keep striving in this environment which is less than familiar to them. They are getting creative, re-inventing the definition of a birthday party, school, coming up with new ways to exercise and connect with the outside world. When I visited these two families, I saw happy, fun, excited boys. And so busy! They were so happy to explore, even if they were right beside their house. These families have direct ravine access from their front yard so we were able to take a few additional photos. They went ahead and I followed from a safe distance. And I would say that it was totally worth it!

Gratitude

A lot of us have been doing our part by staying home to help flatten the curve. Many people have been doing their part by caring for the sick and the needy or making sure that we still have food on our tables and jobs to return to. To all of those people, we say thank you. Actually, thank you doesn’t begin to reflect how we feel and we will keep expressing our gratitude way passed the COVID-19 related events. These families expressed it so beautifully through their art work.

Community

This first family is about to move out and said that these photos would be something to help remember the house that their girls grew up in. For the second, they were so happy for their very first family photos to be taken in front of the house that they just moved into and where they will create so many new memories with their son. I have done many sessions inside of my clients’ houses, but never really outside since we usually get a little more creative with outdoor locations. The current circumstances made us take those photos on front steps, but in hindsight it actually was a great, meaningful idea in both of these cases. A little something to celebrate our beautiful community. And the newcomers even busted out their drinks of choice! Cheers to the move and to getting to know their new house really well, really fast!

Protecting Life

I don’t think that I could add anything else here. Their dad lives with ALS and deserves the best chance at spending as much time as possible with his beautiful children. So please listen to them.

Please Social Distance – Stay Home – For Our Dad – Stronger Together

Keeping Youth Engaged

Kids are so resilient and are able to understand the importance of what we are doing right now. All of the little things parents do and suggest to keep them engaged truly make a difference – spending time outside, playing hockey, twirling, finding rocks, walking the dog, lots of love and hugs. These are direct examples of what I witnessed spending ten minutes with those families. I love it. I love seeing so much joy found in all of the little things.

Looking on the Bright Side

Completely unconventional. I absolutely wish that I could have offered them a proper newborn session. But this beautiful mom sent me the nicest thank you message saying that they looooove the photos. And I guess that is really all that matters. I am a lifestyle photographer so I want the images that I capture to be an accurate portrayal of what real life is. And I guess that this is what real life is right now. Protecting our family by social distancing. Welcoming a baby in a very odd world. Using siding as a backdrop. And taking pictures through a window to get as close as possible to those adorable squishy little cheeks. I guess they’ll have a good story to go with these photos when their kids are older!

The Front Steps Project made me realize that we might call it social distancing, but it really is physical distancing. Because I have met some incredible people who live all around me, I have built new relationships and know that when we all come out on the other side, we will be stronger and closer. We might not be able to hang out in close proximity of people, but there are countless ways to stay connected and show support. I love the sidewalk chalk art, the pictures and cutouts kids hang up in their windows, neighbors who smile and wave at each other more than before. Many talk about the things that will be different when this is all said and done. I want to know, how can this affect us as a society in a positive way? Maybe we do not take each other, our families, our work, our freedom to travel for granted anymore. Maybe we smile at the grocery store clerk and put down our phone when they are scanning our groceries. Maybe we are more thankful for having access to entertainment, video chats, groceries, household items, at the click of a button.

This wraps up an amazing project and I want to thank all of the families who participated for being so selfless and generous in sharing your stories.

Stay home and stay safe. We are all in this together.

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