When Jerilyn Faciano, owner and principal photographer at JL PhotographyRI, saw a photographer friend share a social media post of a family photographed on their front steps, she immediately knew that she wanted to do a similar thing for families and couples in South Kingstown. “I have been trying to think of a way to help bring some positivity to our community during this stressful time,” she says.
And so The Front Porch Project was born, offering families to be photographed outside their homes while maintaining social distancing. Faciano offers quick, five minute photography sessions taken right on people’s front porches or steps. Using her zoom lens, she is able to stand 30-40 feet away and snap great, high-quality photos. Each family and couple who has their photo taken receives one image delivered in an online gallery.
Many photographers throughout the state are using their talents in a similar way. “We’re in this unique time in history where many people are home in their houses,” says photographer Cara Soulia. “People are working from home, their kids are home, and we’re all just together under our roofs. It’s such a unique time in our history and feels like it needs to be documented.”
As a photographer, Faciano has a passion for capturing people’s love for each other, but it has become difficult to do that. Many places are closed, events have been canceled or moved online, and people are practicing safe social distancing - as they should - in their homes. “My hope is that they will look back on their portraits and remember a time their family started spending more time together, eating dinner, playing games, going on hikes, instead of only remembering the anxiety and fear of the unknown that many of us are feeling,” she says.
Not only does Faciano hope that people look back on their portraits with fond memories – she also wants to use the South Kingstown Front Porch Project to help a local charity whose activism she has always admired. In return for her pictures, Faciano asks that people donate to the Jonnycake Center, a Peace Dale organization that provides basic needs and resources, and whose main goal at this time is to get food to those who need it most.
Seeing this as a great opportunity to get a family photo and donate to a good cause simultaneously, many people have already hopped on board. With the help of the South Kingstown Front Porch Project, South Kingstown has raised over $9,000 for this cause and has no plans to slow down any time soon, and neither does Faciano. “I have received way more from this project than I have given,” says Faciano, “and will work on this project as long as I am being asked.” Visit the South Kingstown Front Porch Project for more information.