Monday 23rd March 2020 is the date that will be etched on ours minds and taught in history lessons in the future. The date that Boris told us to Stay at home, Protect the NHS & Save Lives.
Most of us did one or all of the following things….. worked from home, did the Thursday eve 8pm clapping for the NHS, got furloughed, home schooled, did PE With Joe workouts, baked scones, made rainbows in our front windows, tried to keep the children occupied, did some gardening, got out the paddling pools & sprinklers, celebrated VE day with front garden parties, & got to know our neighbours better,
Working as a full time Newborn & Family Photographer meant of course, that shoots were put on hold, rescheduled and I missed my clients terribly. The first few weeks of getting us all into a routine with homeschooling I found really hard. Adam, my partner, has a land surveying business with his brother and they were kept occupied working from home too. (Vertex Surveys Ltd) Whilst my other photographer friends photographed their own families day by day , I didn’t pick up my camera for weeks, was so disappointed and had quite a few down days.
I started to think how I could give back to my community after seeing many photographers around the country taking Doorstep Portraits in aid of charity. It was totally free and all I was asking was for families to consider a donation to charity.
What a fantastic idea!
A page was set up with the help from Laura at the charity and all proceeds going to The Royal Surrey Hospital Charity which is our local hospital and where we had our youngest daughter. We were allowed 1 hour per day to go outside and exercise so I used this time a few days per week to go and photograph families on their doorsteps and of course keeping my 2 metres of social distance.
Using our local Tongham Community Facebook page, I asked households just in my road first. I and got quite a response so then extended it to the whole of Tongham but wasn’t prepared for how popular it would be! I sat with many pieces of a4 paper with all the road names on in the village and listed each family on each road and planned my route grouping them altogether. I started photographing on foot but then realised going on my bike was the quickest way to get around.
VE Day was upon us on Friday 8th May with front garden parties with road DJs and many houses were still decorated in flags and bunting when I arrived so they looked great.
After being with just my own family for so long it was great to get out and chat (from afar) to other people and find out about their lives and our community in Tongham. I met neighbours I had never seen before and everyone was so friendly and supportive of what I was doing of which I am totally grateful.
So who did I photograph?
5 Baby bumps
2 Birthday girls
1 Birthday boy
1 Church & Vicar
Keyworkers were fitted in when they had a day off with their families and I would like to say an extra big THANK YOU to them.
The Farnham Herald Paper wrote a piece on what I was doing and to see the images in the paper made me super proud of what I was doing. I had an interview with Eagle Radio too who set me a goal to raise £500 which we quickly reached in a few days.
So, as the younger children in our country are heading back to school, shielded people can at last go out, we can meet up to 6 people from other households and our country is coming out of these strange times, my Doorstep Portraits are coming to a close and the total we have raised is £1491 which I am so proud of and The Royal Surrey Charity will be very grateful for.
Now I am planning getting all these images printed in a book to keep as a record for Tongham as these are historic times we are going through. (permission always asked for images to be used)
When all this is over and we return to some kind of normal what ever that will be, I would like to have all the photos of you and your families up on display maybe at the Community Centre or The Old School so we can see them all printed together and I can say hi to you again and maybe a big hug too……i’ve missed hugs!
During this time babies have still been arriving and and I was so lucky to go back and photograph a couple of the families who had welcomed their new arrival! Congratulations guys!!!!!
Lots of love