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I'm Shillawna


Front Porch Project


What an incredibly WEIRD moment in history these last few months have been! I never expected that I would spend so much time stuck at home…with my three children… There’s been some struggles. Overall, I can honestly say that I am grateful for all of the extra family time. I’ve been able to focus on what is most important in life.

The Idea

Back in March I saw a post that had gone viral on either Facebook or Instagram. It was posted by a photographer named Cara Soulia. She had the amazing idea to document what was happening in the country where those who were affected would be: at home. She went to her neighbors’ homes and spent 5-10 minutes snapping a few photos of how those families were coping with the pandemic and quarantine. While maintaining proper social distancing standards, she was able to provide a few minutes of relief from the stress and worry of a very oppressive situation.

Gone Viral

Other photographers from around the nation started to join her “cause.” (You can read more about her story here) They were offering Front Porch Project sessions, Front Step sessions, or Porchraits. Soon, with three kiddos and a pooch in toe, I found myself posting notes on all of my neighbors’ doors. I was offering the same few minutes of reprieve and documentation of the best part of the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic: Family Time.

The Sessions

Of the 70 or so notices I posted, I had a total of 12 families respond to my offer. I wanted them to show me what the Stay at Home order meant to them. I walked from home to home, lugging my Canon 5D Mark IV loaded with my 70-200 mm f/2.8 lens. My oldest daughter, Anslie, came with me and helped keep me with timing and mapping. It would be an understatement to say I cherished the time we spent together.

I was easily able to keep a safe distance from my subjects while calling out directions for posing. It was probably one of the most fun little projects I’ve ever done! I could tell that each family really cherished the effort I made to document this period of history for them as well. It felt really good to do something to brighten the day for those who live around me.

The Hope

I can imagine the families who participated in my Front Porch Project stumbling upon their images in the upcoming years. When they do, I hope they remember the good moments they had during quarantine. Most of all, what a special gift they were given by spending extra time with the ones they love most. I know I will remember my experience fondly, both professionally and personally.

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