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Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Photographers capture snapshots of life in isolation

A number of photographers in Canberra are taking the opportunity to document family life amid the COVID-19 pandemic through creative family portraits.

Tracy Hebden, of Tracy Lee Photography, was inspired by a Lithuanian photographer’s quarantine windows project to start her ‘Us At Home’ photo project.

With her wedding and portrait work being postponed or cancelled, Ms Hebden said the project provides an opportunity to connect with the community, a purpose, and a creative outlet.

“It was only just going to be in my suburb of Dunlop, but when I put it out there, I had 50 people sign up within an hour,” she said. Families as far as Murrumbateman, Queanbeyan and Gunning have expressed interest  in taking part.

“Upon reflection, it’s such a time of uncertainty for people,” Ms Hebden said. “It gives people an outlet to connect while physically isolating and I find it gives them something to look forward to.”

Families who take part are photographed through their windows, or on their driveway, with the process taking about five to 10 minutes. Ms Hebden said families are given access to a gallery to download the images for free, and there are usually one to three images per household.

“The ethos of the project is for them to remember something fun.”

Ms Hebden started the project about three weeks ago and has had over 100 sign-ups. While originally intended to be short-term, she said “I’m just going to keep doing it until we’ve got freedoms again. I’m not sure when it will finish”.

However, there is an end goal in mind, creating a snapshot of history. Ms Hebden has applied for an arts grant which, if successful, will be used to create a book or mount an exhibition of the photos.

And she’s not alone. Documenting life during COVID-19 is becoming a trend for many photographers. Ms Hebden said “everyone is getting the idea from similar projects around the world” and thinks “it’s great” as all are doing things slightly differently and with different styles of photography.

Kelly McInnes said people are excited about the opportunity to be photographed but also to receive a photograph as a reminder of this time. Photo: Kelly McInnes, Huggins Photography.

Kelly McInnes, from Huggins Photography, is another Canberran who has taken the opportunity to document households. She was inspired by a group of photographers in America working together to photograph families in their driveways to document this time of isolation.

Like Ms Hebden, Ms McInnes said there has been significant interest in the project. She has received more than 300 enquiries and is shooting every second day in a new suburb.

“People seem excited about the opportunity of being photographed and having the photograph to share with future generations of the COVID-19 that occurred in 2020 and how it affected their family,” she said.

“The short-term goal is to share an image each day with a small blurb from the family of how they are dealing or how they have been affected. We are all in this together. It is good to know that we are all facing the same challenges.”

Ms McInnes said there is no upfront cost and participants receive a complimentary, low-resolution image. A high-resolution image is available for $5 which has been assisting with fuel costs. To find out more or to get involved in either project, contact Ms Hebden via [email protected] or email Ms McInnes at [email protected]

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