Why I won’t offer “Front Porch Sessions” March 28, 2020.
A week and a half ago I thought “Front Porch Sessions” would be fun. Families gather on their front porch. I drive up and photograph them from safely across the street.
Then I thought about it deeper. I checked my reaction when I heard photographers across the country and the world were offering them. And I got mad.
Who are we to think we are elite? Yes everyone wants to feel “essential” but where does it stop? If I am out walking and driving around and staying 6 feet apart isn’t that ok? No.
If I as a photographer start doing that then landscape companies, fence repair shops, roofers, painters, and any number of contractors should be able to go about their business as well right?
Here’s why it doesn’t sit well with me:
Driving: Once the governor issued the Stay at Home order for Colorado I finished my last errands. One was to close up my studio space and bring home any equipment I could use for projects at home. On my way home, one block from my house, emergency vehicles were gathered. Fire truck, police, tow truck, ambulance. A fender bender. Car accidents still happen. We are distracted and anxious. Now all these emergency responders and potentially ER hospital beds will be taken.
Desperation: Offering portrait sessions during a time of crisis felt desperate. Am I doing it to be in the news? Publicity? Do I just want to increase my portfolio? Am I in it to make a few dollars? Do I want people to remember me as the nice photographer who took family photos for free? These are all so self serving.
Leading by Example. This crisis is real. The numbers around the globe prove it. I need to lead by example and stay home. As much as I love photography it is not essential. Repeat-Non Essential. That’s a bit of a blow to my profession I know. But is it really worth walking or driving all over town when I could be doing my part for the greater good?
I searched my heart and what I considered the deeper reason for Front Porch Sessions. Why was I originally drawn to the idea weeks ago?
To me it’s all about memorializing this time in our history, in our community, in our family. What did life look like in Spring of 2020? How did we fair during isolation? What did our day to day look like? How did we feel? Like a happy family in our best clothes sitting pretty on the front steps? Maybe sometimes. How about the quiet moments on the couch in the evening. Or everyone gathered around the dining room table for a meal they hadn’t enjoyed as a family in a very long time? What about our pets, our children, our spouses telecommuting? When we look back years from now we will want to remember those times.
You don’t need a professional photographer to show these moments. Take your own family portrait. Prop your phone on some books, set the 10 second timer and get in the photo. Or be watching for moments and quietly record a photo or video. Give your phone or camera to your kids and have them take photos all day. Set your camera in the corner, turn on time laps and forget it’s there for an hour recording. You can document your own life. Heck you can even sit on your front porch in nice clothes and prop your phone on a bush.
When “normal” life resumes again us professional photographers will be here for you again. To photograph your family in high definition to print and hang on your wall and send to loved ones.
Until then I will be home. Washing my hands. Snuggling with my family. Holding Zoom meetings. Creating videos. Honing my skills. Reading. Bird watching.
And wishing all of you health and safety.