Sherman resident, Sarah Wiggins, has created a new philanthropic calling for her photography business by starting a local Front Porch Project. A nationwide effort by professional photographers to take portraits of families on their front porches to generate funds for their local communities, Wiggins was inspired “to not only document families during this crisis but to also support those families in need.”
Excited that the project has taken off, with several thousand dollars accrued in recent weeks, Wiggins explained that 100% of the funds are being funneled directly to Sherman families. Coordinating with Sherman’s Director of Social Services, Beth Trott, Wiggins explained, “She is helping me to spread out the donations where it is needed most at the time. So far we have donated to Sherman Cares, a family with a household emergency. I believe after this weekend’s contributions we will be donating to the Community Relief Fund at the Sherman Church, and as donations come in, we will continue to distribute.”
Wiggins, a mom of four under the age of ten, described a busy day recently holding nine separate physically-distanced photo shoots with families. She finds that the space between her and the families is not an issue. “It is actually quite easy! Thanks to my zoom lens I am able to photograph from a very safe distance and get an intimate portrait.” She describes the sessions on her Facebook project page, which also serves as the hub for booking appointments and receipt of funds, writing that “This is completely no contact and photos will be taken from a very safe distance.”
Capturing families at their homes, especially after they’ve recently spent so much time there and with each other, gives the photos an interesting perspective that goes beyond the typical family portrait. Families are charmingly photographed in front of colorful entry doors, on well-appointed decks, or in their spring gardens, documenting a moment in this unprecedented space in time. For many, you can imagine that this session was a fun excuse to reach for dressier clothes that don’t get nearly as much wear these days.
Wiggins has a full schedule with The Front Porch Project, in addition to a busy home life. She paints a portrait of her own brood, explaining that their quarantine life has been “Organized chaos.” She said that “I find that while it is challenging to school my children from home, I am so thankful for all of the guidance and assistance our teachers and administration have provided us during this time.” Like many, wary of the prolonged absence from normalcy, she said “the reality is my children dearly miss their teachers, the school routine, and friends.” She says that her children have kept busy playing with each other and completing schoolwork, but that she is also keeping perspective on parenting rules during these unique times, calling it “survival mode” and saying “if they want left over birthday ice cream cake for breakfast the next morning, why not!”
“I just want to thank everyone who has donated to my project. Also, for those who would like to take part, The Front Porch Project Sherman Edition will continue!” Wiggins said. She is not only photographing families in Sherman, but has branched out to New Fairfield, New Milford, and Gaylordsville. Visit her Facebook page for more information on scheduling a session at Facebook/Sarah Wiggins Photography.
By Sarah Opdahl