Front porch photos – photographers create happy memories while giving back to the community

St. Stephen – Going out for family activities is out of the question at the moment, and you can pretty much forget the idea of having family portraits done. Or can you? A group of local photographers have conceived a way to take family portraits without coming within six feet of anyone, and you don’t have to leave your doorstep.

The method? Well, they are asking people to do porch photos. What does this involve? You and your family stand on your porch, and the photographers take the photos from the sidewalk.

These photographers are not only doing something for themselves as well as local families, but they are also doing something to help the community at large. Proceeds from their porch portraits are being donated to the local food bank, operated by the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County, Inc.

Melissa Grant-Mallock, Megan Nozzolillo, Jessica Bellis, Katie McGoldrick, and Yi Kay were inspired to develop a way to get out and stay active, enjoy their passion for photography, and take photos of people even though they can’t get close to anyone. Grant-Mallock said some of them are teachers as well as photographers, and this is a great way for them to get to see some of their students again.

Jessica Bellis thought this was a wonderful idea, having seen similar sessions documented on social media throughout North America. The two made a post on Facebook, and said they received an overwhelming amount of feedback about it.

“Yi Kay, Melissa Grant-Mallock, and Katie McGouldrick all reached out and offered to help us out,” said Bellis. “I am looking forward to capturing the happy and silly moments of our current circumstances and my goal is to capture families as-is. Families decide how they want to present themselves. These sessions will capture a unique moment in our lives. Not only are we giving back to our community, we’re also bringing smiles to the faces of families whose plans are on hold.”

Kay said when she saw Bellis’ post, she thought it was a great idea and wanted to get involved. She said something that can cheer people up when facing a difficult time is important. Because we are in the midst of a global pandemic, people are confined to their homes and many may feel “confused, frustrated, and anxious”.

“If we can help to capture this special moment in people’s lives, even a snapshot, it may make people feel happy,” said Kay. “In addition, we can use this project as a fundraiser for the food bank and give back to the community. Of course, we will follow all of the protocols of social distancing. We will all use long lenses for the shoot. The clients will never leave their front porch or deck, and we will only step out of the vehicles in most cases.”

Megan Nozzolillo said she was a bit torn in the beginning, because she was worried about profiting during a crisis situation. But, she also understood how capturing these images could help to create memories, and show that we are living through truly historically significant times.

“The idea was put out to a few local photographers, and as the message was shared, more help was offered,” said Nozzolillo, adding that the community has been overwhelmingly receptive to this idea. “The food bank has been, and will continue to be our community’s lifeline. In order to make the project work, it only made sense to turn it into a fundraiser.”

Grant-Mallock said she is an “extremely anxious person”, so a project such as this is perfect for her. She said she feels very fortunate to be working with this group of photographers, and if they are able to help even one person, it is worth it. She said everyone has the same fears, and everyone is feeling uncertain about the future and how COVID-19 is going to play out. But, she also sees a positive side to all of this, and that is families slowing down and doing things together, and being reminded about what is truly important.

“To see some of the kids again, even if it’s only for a few minutes and from a distance, it gets me in the feels,” said Grant-Mallock. “I think we all have the same thought in mind, and that is just helping the community during these trying times. It’s just nice to put a smile on some faces. Let’s capture a snapshot of history in the making while providing hope for others.”

McGouldrick said this is a moment that will definitely be in the history books. She called it an “uncertain and scary time”. She loved the idea of this group of photographers coming together to do their part for the community, being able to encourage one another and help everyone to remember that they are not alone.

“I hope that families can look back at this photo of themselves and remember how social distancing and quarantine slowed us down and brought us closer together,” said McGouldrick. “I am honored to work alongside these other amazing photographers, to capture this moment in history and give back to our community.”

Due to the self-isolation restrictions, the photographers are following all of the current guidelines, including keeping their distance (over 20 feet in most cases), and in most cases, they are simply stepping out of their vehicles to snap the photos. If there is not enough distance, they suggest the families stand inside and look out their windows as the photos are being taken.

Kay said, “I always tell my clients, I will see you, from a distance.”

If you would like to have porch portraits done with your family, you can contact any of these wonderful photographers through their Facebook pages.

sarigreen@stcroixcourier.ca