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The Pandemic Porch Portrait Project: Community Impact in Asheville, NC

WNC Native & Award Winning, Professional Wedding & Family Portrait Photographer, based in Asheville, NC documents the living history of the families in her community as well as the social and economic impacts of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the locally owned, small businesses & non-profits rooted in this popular tourism destination, nestled in the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains.

From the inception, I wanted this project to be about documenting this unprecedented moment in our region’s living history. Native to the area and having been a Professional Wedding and Family Portrait Photographer here for the last eleven years, in this very special little city that I’ve called HOME for most of my life… I naturally wanted to photograph the families living in my community. I wanted this project to be about capturing them as they really are, right now. I wanted to meet them wherever they are, whatever that means for them right now. Some families have made light of the moment, some families have given me a raw look at their hardships and how taxing it can be to parent in this difficult moment in time, some families have brought me tremendous JOY in dressing up, incorporating funny props and making the very best of a really bad situation. Some families have invited me to capture the milestone moments that are STILL happening despite this crisis.

This experience has been incredibly humbling and inspiring, exhausting and extremely difficult at times. This experience has been an unbelievable blessing in our lives and quite literally has meant survival for myself and my three year old son, Noah during this very scary and uncertain time to be an artist, a small business owner and a single parent. So, from the very depths of my soul, THANK YOU.

Very quickly and organically, this project grew to include paying special tribute to the HEROS of this Pandemic. I have been so honored to photograph dozens of Doctors, Surgeons, Nurses, Paramedics, Cops, Firefighters, Pharmacists, etc.

But of ALL the HEROS that I’ve photographed, stopping by MANNA Food Bank this week to photograph the incredibly selfless HEROS there was probably the most moving and impactful moment of the project thus far. Because of this experience, $10 of every Pandemic Porch Portrait Project Booking going forward will be given directly to MANNA Food Bank to support them as they continue their essential work in our community.

Here are a few words from Mary Nesbitt, Chief Development Officer at Manna Food Bank:

“As the COVID-19 public health and economic crisis hit hard in mid-March, MANNA was in rapid disaster relief response mode. The necessary closings of non-essential businesses and schools plunged so many people across our region into a financial crisis overnight. As a result, we experienced a dramatic spike in the number of people who found themselves in need of our assistance. In a matter of days, the lines of people at the 220+ pantries that we support across our 16 county region reached record numbers.  Many of whom, for the first time in their lives, finding themselves in need of our vital support.

For the health and safety of all, it was also necessary for MANNA to change our method of distribution to providing balanced, boxed family meals to create a low to no contact means to get food to the people. Therefore, the combination of the significantly increased numbers of individuals and their families needing food, and our new method of distribution have make it necessary for MANNA to purchase more food now than ever before.

Another critical aspect of our work that significantly changed was our volunteer base. So many of our amazing core, weekly volunteers are in a higher risk category, and therefore could not continue their volunteer service during this pandemic. Thankfully, we have had an outpouring of support from low risk residents who are stepping in to help during this crisis.

The best way that people can help as we all move through this unimaginable crisis together- is through financial support. For every dollar given, MANNA can provide four meals for our neighbors in need, making gifts of any size truly matter. To give, please visit our website at www.mannafoodbank.org. Additionally, if you know someone in need of food,  please ask them to call our MANNA Food Helpline at 1-800-820-1109 or to visit our website to find a pantry near their home.”

Just a few of my favorites from this week’s Pandemic Porch Portraits:

You can see the “Best of the Pandemic Porch Portrait Project” by clicking the link below:

BEST OF THE PANDEMIC PORCH PORTRAIT PROJECT, ASHEVILLE NC

About the Project:

The Pandemic Porch Portrait Project began with friends & neighbors and rapidly expanded to include photojournalistic portraits of families within the Asheville community, paying special tribute to the HEROS (including but certainly not limited to: nurses, doctors, surgeons, paramedics, fire fighters, police officers, social workers, lab techs, pharmacists, engineers, etc) and again expanded to also include a profile of small business owners with photographs in front of their shops downtown and non-profits providing vital resources to our community during this crisis.

Why?

I wanted to do what (I) can, using my unique skillset to help my community during this crisis. As a professional photographer, I believe that it is my responsibility to document this moment in history.

I am offering this opportunity to families, small businesses and non-profits within my community, to help them to document this unprecedented moment in our country’s living history. The idea for the project is to capture your family (or business/organization) as you really are, right now, in this moment. No special hair, makeup or wardrobe required & nothing is perfectly lit or posed… this is meant to be just you: real, honest, and human.

Purpose:

The purpose of the project is to document your struggles, your resilience, your tenacity, your hope and the JOY that you create despite this crisis. Some families have opted to do a “normal” portrait and my favorites have been those families who have chosen to make light of or to make the very best of an incredibly bad situation by dressing up in costume, incorporating funny props, bubbles or signs of encouragement for their neighbors, etc!

Safety:

I actually shoot these portraits with a telephoto lens (70-200mm) so that I can shoot comfortably from a 50-75ft ft distance away from my subjects (I am usually at the curb, out in the yard or at the end of the driveway. I am no where near my subjects and certainly not within any distance where there could be any potential risk of virus transmission.

Cost:

The cost for a Pandemic Porch Portrait is $40 (as of 4.18.2020)

$10 of every session booked will go directly to MANNA FOOD BANK on behalf of the Pandemic Porch Portrait Project Families. (as of 4.18.2020)

Payment:

You can Pay Pal or Venmo me.

Venmo me: @ Brittany-Sisk OR Pay Pal me: brittanyksisk@gmail.com

This modest fee quite literally keeps gas in my car to carry on with the project, keeps the lights on, keeps a roof over our heads and keeps food on our table during this very scary and uncertain time to be an artist, a small business owner, single mother & my son’s sole provider.

From the very depths of my Soul, Thank you for your Support.

Scheduling:

You can schedule your very own Pandemic Portrait Project experience for your family, business or non-profit by clicking the link below to sign up for an available space on my calendar!

(I am trying to schedule folks in the same area on the same day so as to limit my running back & forth and all around the county!)

Please be aware that as I begin to look at the calendar (usually a couple days ahead of time), I will likely send an updated confirmation with your scheduled shoot time — which may change slightly as I organize a travel route that is efficient and limits backtracking!)

Wednesday: East AVL – Haw Creek, Oakley, Sweeten Creek area, Kenilworth, N. Hendersonville Rd neighborhoods + points in between.
Thursdays: Asheville City (proper) – Downtown, Five Points, Montford, Norwood, Grove Park/Sunset + points in between
Fridays: N. Asheville (UNCA area, Beaver Lake area, Woodfin)
Saturdays: West Asheville- RAD, Haywood + points in between.

What about Arden, Fairview, Fletcher, Candler, Weaverville, Black Mountain?

If you live in a neighboring community, I WILL travel there, however, you will just need to organize a group of 5-10 neighbors and friends in your area to participate on the same day (during the same 2hr time block) so that I can give your community an entire day’s shooting (Mondays or Tuesdays) Please reach out to organize pandemic portraits for your community!

Contact:

If you need to speak to me ahead of your session, please give me a call OR shoot me a text (828.779.8401)

The Process: I usually text when I’m en route to your location with an ETA, I’ll beep the horn when I arrive, you’ll come outside & I’ll shoot the portraits. After the shoot, I’ll edit the files and upload them into an online gallery for you to download your files or order prints, etc. I will send a link to your email with a download PIN for access to download your files! ❤

Follow us on the Socials!?

Facebook: @AshevillePortraitCompany
Instagram: @AshevilleWeddingPhoto

Photographer: Brittany Sisk
Native of WNC, Professional Wedding & Family Portrait Photographer located in downtown Asheville for the last eleven years.
Owner/Lead Photographer at Asheville Portrait Company – which is the umbrella company for:

www.AshevilleFamilyPhotography.com www.AshevilleWeddingPhoto.com

Asheville family Photography

Serving Asheville, NC & Beyond

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Serving Asheville North Carolina& Beyond