Local photographer Julie Fix offered free family portraits to those in the Waunakee area last week, as part of a nationwide effort that has been dubbed the Front Porch Project.
The project has involved photographers taking pictures of families at their homes, free of charge.
Fix said she found out about the project via social media, where photographers sidelined by social-distancing measures had been posting images of families outside their front doors.
“I saw a couple other photographers doing it,” Fix said, “and I just thought Waunakee might need it… Everyone’s stuck in their house right now, and they need a reason to get out of their pajamas or sweatpants and get ready for something.”
The project has allowed photographers across the nation to continue their work while providing an activity in which families can partake when most others have been postponed or cancelled.
Fix announced on March 21 that she would be participating in the project as well.
One of the first families Fix photographed was the Flesches, residents of the Kilkenny neighborhood who were searching for an activity that would involve their entire family.
“It’s been tough having two little kids at home,” said Erin Flesch, a high-school teacher who is mother to 4- and 6-year-old children. “And the weather hasn’t been great. So we were kind of looking for an excuse to get back into regular clothes, do something fun and interact a little bit.”
Flesch said the project is good for the community as well, as it provides a sense of togetherness.
“It’s a nice way to bond the community,” Flesch said. “It’s a really stressful time for a lot of people – whether that’s financially, emotionally or mentally… So it’s just kind of nice to capture a positive moment in what can be a really stressful time for everybody.”
Liz Henry and her husband recently had their picture taken by Fix, whom the couple has known for more than a decade and describes as having altruistic motives for contributing her services.
She cited some of the photographer’s work for the local community.
“Julie has done a lot of things for the Waunakee Neighborhood Connection,” Henry explained. “She went in and did family photos for people who needed its services, free of charge, so that they could feel good about having family pictures taken… She’s done a lot of projects like that.”
Henry said bringing the Front Porch Project to Waunakee was just the latest example of Fix’s contribution to the community, and a good abatement to the effects of social distancing.
“The Front Porch Project was a brilliant way to connect people without them physically violating the social distancing,” Henry said. “That’s why a project like this is valuable – because people are pining… They’re missing the ability to get together.”
Fix added that, for an out-of-work photographer, the project has presented a perfect opportunity.
“It’s exactly what I needed,” Fix said, “especially when I was supposed to be shooting spring sports that we’ve completely missed out on now that school’s out. So to be able to go out and do what I love in a time like this, with all that’s going on, has made it a little bit more bearable.”
Fix has posted pictures taken for the project to her Facebook page, and said she will continue to photograph families wishing to participate for at least the next few days.
Those interested in having a family picture taken by Fix should contact her via Facebook.