The Doorstep Documentary Project

As a photographer my job is to create memories for people, and to be more specific memories that make people smile. When someone looks at one of my photographs I want it to be a reminder that they belong, that they are important and most of all that they are loved. My purpose is to document a families history. My photographs may not depict the very serious pain of covid-19 on communities but they do depict the spirit of a community coming together in a time of crisis. They show the re-connection of families and send a message that we are in this together.

The door step documentary project was born out of a sense of loss. I saw people around me struggling with a variety of losses. The loss of a business, the loss of freedom, the loss of a milestone or the loss of a life long dream. I am very aware that these are small prices to pay in the bigger picture and that the loss that matters most of all is the loss of life but I still wanted to acknowledge the very real and raw feelings that individuals and families were experiencing. For me I am facing the loss of my plans to add to our family. Our IVF savings now necessary to ensure my business and household can sustain the blow of the pandemic now known in these parts as "Rona". I needed to find a way to do some good in the community. I needed a way to help myself heal and be ready for what was head but also reach out to others who are also unsure of what the future now holds.

The concept was simple. To take an image (mostly from the passenger seat of the car while hubby drove) that would give families a reason to smile and connect with one another in these early days of covid-19 in Adelaide, Australia. The rules were simple, I was to stay 3m away at a minimum or work from the car and participants would receive one free image for their involvement.

Here are some of the stories I heard.

Elii, Tusmore

In the few months since our little girl was born, the world has changed. With COVID-19 essentially shutting down his industry, my husband has been stood down. We’ve had to cut off visits from both of our families, meaning our daughter – the first grandchild on both sides – is missing out on spending time with her grandparents, aunties and uncles. Just when we were getting comfortable taking her out into the world, we’ve been forced to stay home.

But we have been looking for the light in these darker days:

We’ve been able to spend more time together as a family. We have a little more time to cook, to read, to play. Walks have become restorative as we take time to breathe and be present. We aren’t compelled to be anywhere or do anything but look after and enjoy our little girl.

With life slowing down, we’re taking more time to appreciate each other, each meal, each moment we’re healthy and happy. There are some uncertain times ahead, but for now, we have each other.

Amy, Cumberland Park

The pandemic has halted most of my research work while the health system directs all its energy and resources towards it, so my job is in jeopardy. And Soph misses her friends terribly. We all do. This picture captures such a strange and difficult moment in time, yet here we are, together, doing our best as a little family, grateful to have each other and our roof over our heads

Jordan, North Adelaide

Covid-19 has been tough for us. We have some family members who are in very vulnerable categories, so we’ve been isolating hard for 3 weeks already - homeschooling and working from home before many others were, to protect them. It’s been a juggle at times to balance things, especially because Ruby has been missing her friends. But we’ve also had some really nice times together as a family - board games, lawn soccer and crafting.

It was lovely to have a reason to dress up a bit for a family photo after a few weeks in PJs!

Elaina, Munno Para

My wife and I are both essential workers, but ensure we only go to work and back. Being 28 weeks pregnant I have been looking forward to all things baby, but unfortunately we have had to cancel our baby shower, Selina was not allowed to attend my ultrasound last week and a maternity photoshoot is off the cards. So to have the opportunity to be photographed today means the world to us.

Hayley, Paradise

This photo will be included in our little girl's baby book and serve as a memory for why we stayed home and hopefully why this pandemic ended quickly.

Isolation has me remembering what it was like to have a newborn and how alone I felt. We are practiced now and while we were doing well in our home bubble, today Finley had a high fever and had to see a doctor pronto. It brought home two things; 1. How scary it could be if our doctor's and nurses were overwhelmed and couldn't see Finley and 2. How hard it is to not be able to hug family- my mum in particular when she dropped off a care package.

Mentally, I'm seeing cracks in my usually staunch character. It is friendly smiles/waves from neighbours, funny videos from around the globe, music, my husband and of course smiles from my baby that is getting me through.

We are in this together.

Although these stories may pale in comparison to what others are enduring I want to acknowledge the sacrifices and togetherness of ordinary Australian's. we are, and must unite because every Australian matters, whether it be their first breaths or the end of a long life, every single Australian matters and we should all be doing our part to make sure that we protect our loved ones, neighbours and colleagues. We will change our daily lives but we will not let it rob us of our spirit.

I want to thank those who participated and I hope this project spreads some joy as we all adjust to what will be the new normal. Let's send Rona packing.

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