As families spend weeks together at home, the need to capture the triumph of joy amidst the gray sea of survival has come up as a muse for photographers through the #front- porchproject. The viral Facebook/Instagram movement has inspired artists to work their craft within the parameters of social distancing by having photographers take photos from safe distances (e.g. from a car) of families on their front porches.
Jen Meyn, of the popular and elegant Maria May Photography, was keen on capturing families during this once-in-a-lifetime event, but reluctant to put the burden of a fee on struggling people. “I thought to myself, I can’t charge people. Who knows what anyone is going through with their business being closed or being furloughed?,” said Meyn of her initial reluctance. Typically, her 15-minute holiday photo shoots cost $150, and while this is a standard rate for photographers, it can be a fortune for families whose income has been decimated by the pandemic.
Teaming up with The Sayville Inn, which was also motivated to help front-line workers, they came up with a twist on the #frontporchproject: Meyn would essentially donate her services and families could donate $25 to the restaurant, which in turn would provide food for emergency workers. “I wanted to help people capture this benchmark of their life,” said Meyn of her motivation to take portraits of families in a moment of strife instead of the normal celebratory nature of her photoshoots.
The collaboration has proved to be popular, as the first week resulted in 60 meals from the money raised by Meyn’s #frontporchproject. “The Sayville Inn is a gem between the towns of Sayville and Bayport,” said Meyn of her partner in this chari-