When people were ordered to stay home from school and work due to novel coronavirus, the first thing I thought was: wow, scheduling spring photos should be a snap. Everyone’s home! Parents! College kids! But then we had to follow that six-feet-wide distance rule, which theoretically isn’t a problem when you have some great zoom lenses. However, since I’m a photographer and not a spy, I knew it would limit some of my work, including setting up lighting equipment and having the flexibility of approaching people closer than the allotted six feet.
As much as I enjoyed documenting the non-quarreling moments of my family’s day-to-day in this interesting state of affairs as I navigate between Khan Academy and work emails, I wanted to get out and talk to other people. Even if it meant yelling from 10 feet away. So I did, with camera in hand, around my neighborhood last Tuesday, when the weather was forecasted to be warm and sunny. In exchange for a “socially safe” session, families donated $30 or more to the Capital Area Food Bank. In total, I raised about $800 through Facebook and separate checks people wrote—and counting! And I met many new neighbors, fellow elementary school parents, kids, pets, and their neighbors. People really took the opportunity to get out of their sweatpants and dressed their kids up, and, as one person admitted, made her husband shave the mustache he had been carefully cultivating. Cherry blossoms and magnolias were in peak bloom and people’s hair still looked fresh from their last visit to the stylist’s.
THANK YOU to you all for such a fun day, and for helping other families in the DC area get food—which we know is not easy, if you’ve tried buying eggs recently. It’s an unprecedented time I have dubbed Stranger Things. (Which, sadly, I finished bingeing before we were asked to stay home.)
I’ve received numerous inquiries as to whether I will be doing another session like this, and I will keep you all posted! In the meantime, here are the families who participated in my first “socially safe” photo sessions.