Famlies of Revelstoke are spending a lot more time at home during the COVID-19 pandemic. To highlight the isolation, two photographers gathered families outside their homes on the porch for photoshoots to capture life in an era of physical distancing.
Zoya Lynch had all her work cancelled due to COVID-19 and at the risk of going ‘stir crazy’, she decided to follow what other photographers are doing around the world – taking ‘porch-raits’.
“It’s to document life here during the pandemic,” she said.
Another photographer, Sarah Mickel, who has also lost all her photography work, decided to join Lynch.
The two took roughly 150 portraits, asking each family for a suggested donation of $50, half of which went to charity. The pair managed to raise $4,400 for the local food bank.
As each family stood on their porch, Lynch or Mickel would take their photo from a distance, usually with a zoom lens.
With the world closing and economies crumbling, Lynch said the project was a way to do something meaningful.
“It made me feel a little less powerless.”
|(Photo by Zoya Lynch)|
Mickel said the project made her refine her improvisation skills. Usually, she chooses the location for portraits, depending on where the sun is.
With the porch-raits, Mickel said she was running to a new home every 15 minutes, sometimes crossing town and would have no idea if she was going to capture a cute front porch that’s either too dark or too bright.
“I learned to fly by the seat of my pants,” she said.
The porch-raits, Mickel said, was an opportunity to come outside, be yourself and have fun.
“If people came out with hair dishevelled or in costume, it tells a story. The formal portraits can be for another time.”
Some of the porch-raits include families wearing medical masks or with their dogs, cats, ducks and chickens. Some parents are on skateboards, others shovel snow while another sits near reading a good book. Others barbecue, workout (while wearing fur coats) or play music.
Some folks are old. Some are young. Some are expecting.
Last month, Black Press interviewed Cathy English, curator of the Revelstoke Museum and Archives. She wondered how this pandemic will be remembered.
“How will we preserve the memories from this significant event?” she asked at the time.
Lynch and Mickel are going to donate the porch-raits to the museum with the home address noted.
|(Photo by Zoya Lynch)|
“In another 60 or 80 years people can look back and say oh my god. That’s my house and those are the people that lived in my house during the pandemic of 2020,” said Mickel.
Lynch said she is planning another portrait series, one focusing on people and their gardens.
In Revelstoke, there is an awakened push for growing food. Some people are planting gardens for the first time.
“There’s quite a movement towards it,” said Lynch.
She continued the pandemic has sparked a desire for local food security and she hopes to capture the change.