Porch Portraits: Images of Orlando Families During Coronavirus Stay-At-Home Order
Before we turned to go indoors, a photographer captured portraits of family.
When Stephanie Dishman heard of something called “The Front Steps Project” from a fellow photographer, she knew she wanted to do something similar in her neighborhood.
Near the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, Boston photographer Cara Soulia invited homebound families to pose on their front steps while she took their portraits from a safe distance. In exchange, she asked that they make donations to charity.
“She challenged photographers all over the world to do the same,” says Dishman (left). “I knew my community of Celebration would be the perfect place for it.”
Inspired by Celebration’s Southern, idyllic style, Dishman named her project “Portraits on the Porch.” She posted a message to the town’s virtual bulletin board and immediately received an enthusiastic response.
Before Osceola County’s stay-at-home order on March 26, Dishman shot 39 family portraits. Instead of payment, she asked for donations to two of her favorite charities: Community Hope Center to serve homeless families on Highway 192 and the Green Hand Project to combat sex trafficking.
Besides raising money for a good cause, Dishman says that she was grateful to bring a little joy to families going through unprecedented times. “Some people said that I gave them a reason to shower that day,” she says with a laugh, “while others were appreciative to have a positive experience and a family portrait to treasure.”
Breck Maass and Cara Moccia were disappointed to postpone their wedding from April to October, but Dishman’s project gave them the opportunity to dress up anyway. With all their children and a cat, Gordon and Katherine McConnell got their first-ever family portrait of everyone together. And Greg and Mary Ann Forbes, who as seniors are in the high-risk category, turned off the news for the first time in weeks to step outside together.
Dishman says if there’s one good thing to come out of the crisis, it’s a renewed focus on family. “Although everything on the outside is stressful and anxiety-ridden, I have gratitude that we’re getting back to the basics of family,” she says. “We’ve changed our mindset and are realizing just how important being together is.”