ESSEX FELLS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A photographer in New Jersey is getting a snapshot of the families quarantined during the coronavirus pandemic.
Photographer Audrey Blake says there’s no sugarcoating it, the isolation life is rough.
“This is seriously new territory, obviously, for everybody, but wow, it’s hard,” she told CBS2’s Jessica Layton.
With the world shutting down around her, the popular New Jersey lifestyle photographer found her work also came to a standstill.
“Nobody was hiring me to do shoots right now,” she said.
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The Essex Fells mother to three young girls decided to keep busy by capturing the quarantine through the lens of her camera.
Then she had an idea.
What if she could also document this time of social distancing for other families? She put the word of her five-minute sessions from 10 feet away out on social media.
“Within 24 hours, I’ve had over 60 people contact me,” Blake said. “It’s been awesome because that is a beautiful distraction.”
Dozens of families have taken part in her passion project, which she calls “All Stooped Up.” There are posed shots on porches and candids as the kids play in the yard. Some even hold signs explaining the positives of being at home.
“It can make a family smile and make a mom get dressed and put on make-up for 10 minutes to take a photo that she might not really even be able to wrap her head around right now, but hopefully when we all come out of this, it will be a positive memory,” Blake said.
Laura Zupa D’Avella says it forced her to change out of her workout clothes and put a smile on her face. The result is a picture she and her family will treasure forever.
“It also made me stop and recognize the silver lining through this pandemic — time together with my family, as a family,” she said.
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Blake isn’t charging the families for the photos. Instead, she’s simply asking that they make a donation to a local food pantry.
Being kind and being present are perhaps the most important lessons Blake’s children will learn while they’re home.
“I’m trying to show them that in the face of adversity, you can find positivity in everything, everywhere,” Blake said.
Transforming a tough time of uncharted territory into a cherished memory.