Lockdown Memories Doorstep Portraits Project.
On 23rd March 2020 something unprecedented, unpredictable and totally beyond most people’s comprehension happened in the United Kingdom. The Prime Minister placed the entire country on lockdown, a phrase which will come to symbolise the events of this year.
While this announcement was felt on a national scale, it was the personal stories which emerged as a result of these monumental changes to life as we know it, that become most poignant.
As a professional photographer, furloughed from my job as a property photographer, I wanted to find a way to utilise my skillset, fill my time and, most importantly, raise money for the people who have come to be known as our modern day Superheroes – the NHS.
And so, the Lockdown Memories Doorstep Portraits Project was born, capturing a snapshot of life in lockdown and recording a little bit of history for everyone who takes part. Here was a way I could tap into the personal stories of the community in which I live, whilst raising money for the NHS and still respect social distancing measures.
To get the project started, I took a photograph of my own family in our front garden on Friday afternoon and posted it to Facebook, along with a brief description of the project and what I was hoping to achieve. I also set up a just giving fundraising page, for people to make donations to if they wished. Unsure of how the idea of having doorstep portraits taken would be received, I set a modest fundraising target of £500.
After a few hours of the Facebook post going live, it hadn’t really mustered any interest and I had a feeling that the project may be a non-starter. However, I was very wrong! Within 72 hours of the project being announced, the initial fundraising target of £500 had been smashed.
On the Saturday morning, I packed my camera and with the sun shining, set off to photograph the 1st of 5 families that had booked in for that day. It felt great that people wanted to be a part of the doorstep portraits project, and as much as I love my family, it was great to see and speak to different people. All the families, I photographed that day were excited to be involved in the project and were happy for me to use the photos on social media to help raise awareness. That afternoon I posted the photos from the day on Facebook and my partner Lauren sent a message to our streets WhatsApp group. Within a few hours I had 18 bookings for Sunday, the project was taking off!
Fast forward two weeks. Over 120 families photographed and over £2500 raised so far. I could not have imagined the support the project has received. I have been getting so many enquiries that I had to set up an online booking page. The project has also been featured on the blog of Sim Imaging, a supplier or wedding albums and photos books to the photographic industry. You can see the post here Sim Blog
At the time of writing this post we are awaiting an announcement from the government outlining the next stages of lockdown. I plan to continue the project for as long as lockdown restrictions are in place and see how far I can take it and how much can be raised for the NHS.