Porch portrait photographers raise nearly $3,000 for food bank

St. Stephen – The group of photographers who offered porch portraits for people in self-isolation were able to raise nearly $3,000 for the Volunteer Centre of Charlotte County, Inc. Food Bank, and while creating memorable moments for many families. Photographer Yi Kay said there were six photographers in total (Nicole Reid signed on as well), and they photographed more than 80 families, wrapping up their project last Tuesday. Each photographer had 14 to 15 families to work with.

“It was a great project, and I believe we brought happiness to people,” said Kay. “We had a list of families who signed up with their email addresses and phone numbers. As of last Saturday, we had $2,800 in the account we set up, and there were some families sent money to the Volunteer Centre directly. So, I would say we raised about $2,900.”

Most of the families donated funds for the food bank, and many also donated funds and food items directly to the food bank. No money ever changed hands throughout these porch portrait sessions. The subjects were able to pay through electronic transfer, ensuring everyone involved would remain safe and be practicing social distancing so as to not have any close contact between the photographers and their subjects.

“We provide an email address, and people EMT their donations to it. Some of them drop off their food items to the food bank, or EMT to the Volunteer Centre email address directly,” said Kay.

While most people thought this was a great idea, there were a few who felt the photos went against the social distancing protocols as set out by the Province of New Brunswick in order to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Kay said there was never any actual physical contact with any of the people they photographed, and the photographs were taken from several feet away from the subjects.

Submitted photoYi Kay was one of six photographers who did porch portrait sessions to help boost spirits and raise nearly $3,000 for the food bank in St. Stephen. Her friend, Yuna Park, snapped this shot of Kay doing a portrait session while standing several feet away from her subjects.

All arrangements for portrait sessions were made via email or Facebook Messenger, and the photographers used long lenses so they were able to stand some distance from everyone they photographed.

“I understand there were complaints and negative feedback,” said Kay. “But, I feel we did the right thing, and the majority of people supported us. We had followed all the protocols we should follow.”

Kay said the photographers would park at the end of the driveways of the families they photographed, or in some cases, across the road, and the families would come out onto their porches or doorsteps. The photographers used zoom lenses that allowed them to shoot from a minimum of five meters away. Each session lasted approximately five to 10 minutes. The photographers are glad that they have been able to create happy memories for people during these uncertain times, and that they were able to do it without breaking any social distancing protocols.