Porch Photography Project captures heart of Kimberley during isolation

Chelsea Boyd Gibson of Marysville, professional photographer under the name Meadowsweet Photography and owner of Meadowsweet Yoga and Wellness, has started a Front Porch Photo project, capturing heartwarming photos of Kimberley residents.

The project has been taking off all over the world and Boyd Gibson says its purpose is to document people who have found their lives changed overnight due to COVID-19.

“Once I realized how little work I would have over the next who knows how long, and I started reading about this project happening elsewhere, I became very excited about the idea,” Boyd Gibson told the Bulletin.

“I started thinking about how I could help foster community connection, while raising money for a good cause in a time when things are going to be getting consistently more difficult, AND I could be outside with my camera.”

She was supposed to be on an 800-kilometre walk around Spain for the whole month, which was understandably but unfortunately cancelled. This project allows her to at least get the walking aspect in, but confined to her hometown.

“This project is about my own little Kimberley pilgrimage, as well as about documenting the people and emotions of this whole situation,” she said. “Most importantly we are raising money for the Kimberley Helping Hands Food Bank.”

So far, the project has already raised over $6000 and people who are able to support the campaign can do it through the GoFundMe page here: https://www.gofundme.com/f/kimberley039s-front-porch-project?fbclid=IwAR3tYnU4_1y_jARqPSponX5y52Cjkdle3C1jxMpURSaP4SyCi487kaqOlrs

“It is actually incredible,” she said.

Immediately after getting the idea out there, her friend Emily Gilmar offered to lend a hand, helping her organize things behind the scenes.

“I think she had some foresight into how big this could be — I didn’t — and I am so thankful for her! She is doing all the organizing of emails, routes, creating maps for me to follow as I walk, and being a great ear/sounding board for the whole project. An organizational wizard I am calling her. This would not be happening the way it is without her support and work behind the scenes.”

Boyd Gibson has been snapping pictures of people on their front steps, porches, driveways, through windows, all while maintaining safe social distance, “thank goodness for telephoto lenses,” she adds.

She said the response she’s received so far has been amazing.

“We are getting so many emails a day now, and the speed at which people have been donating to the Food Bank GOFUNDME is unreal,” she said. “The community response in the FB group and on the photos is tear worthy for sure, people are so excited to see pictures of their neighbours, friends and co-workers, and people are excited to have a visitor to talk to, even if it is from the end of their drive way.”

She’s been meeting people she’d never met before and said that everyone in town is “simply spreading the love and community feels.”

“It is a beautiful thing,” she explained, “in a world where there is a lot of uncertainty and sadness, this project is creating something beautiful, visually and emotionally.”

The word most of her subjects have used to describe the current life situation is right now is simply, “weird,” with a lot of, “who knows right?”

“But mostly people have seemed positive, that they are all trying to find the beauty in this situation, and find ways to stay connected. The definite reoccurring theme is, ‘let me just put on some pants and I’ll be right out!’”

The project is just getting started with about five days of walking and photography under her belt, but she says it’s already felt like an eternity and said she feels very grateful to everyone who has supported this project, either by donating money, sharing the posts, telling their neighbours or posing for photos.

“This project is showing all the colours of Kimberley’s community love.”

She added she’s unsure how long the project will continue to last due to how quickly things are developing with the COVID-19 situation.

“I have a feeling it won’t make it to the very end, but we are going to try our best to keep going for now, and continue to photograph in a very safe and socially distant way, while spreading the community cheer.

To arrange to have your photo taken contact kimberleyporchproject@gmail.com


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