Should we be doing Porch Portraits in a Pandemic?

What are porch portraits?

This  "Porch Portrait" was taken in 2015, not in the Pandemic
Photographers find themselves without work. People are cooped up in their houses for weeks and need a distraction - and a way to look back at this odd time in their lives. It seems like a perfect match.

Photographers travel around streets, taking photos of people gathering on their porch together.

It's an opportunity for the photographer to practice their craft, and for the families to have an interruption to an otherwise dull day. As a photographer who finds all of their events suddenly cancelled and income drop to zero, it is tempting to seek out some way to bring in some income, or even just to get out and encourage others by providing free portraits.

But is it safe?

Gary belongs to the Professional Photographers of Canada. They recently posted a statement recommending that these types of sessions do not take place at this critical time. The best way to stay safe is to stay inside and minimize your physical contact with anyone.

Their explanation is quite simple and clear, so let me relate what they have said. Here is the official statement from PPoC: 
There has been a lot of controversy on various Photography groups regarding the increasingly popular Porch Portraits/ Front Step projects, and variations. We have been contacted by several photographers upset to see this happening in their area when they are abiding by the suggested public health measures and are staying home. We have also heard from photographers who don’t understand why they should not do these kinds of photography sessions, if they are being safe about it, are doing it for charity, and are following their region’s suggested public health restrictions.

Our country is currently in the early phase of a Global Pandemic. Given the increasing number of cases in Canada, the risk to Canadians is considered high. Extreme measures have been implemented in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. We are in the midst of a serious health crisis like nothing we could ever have imagined.

There is a lot of conflicting and confusing information out there regarding non-essential businesses with restrictions varying from province to province, and city to city. Photography is not an essential service or business. Daily, we hear the direction from Canada’s top health officials repeating the same message:

•   Stay home!
•   Work from home (if you can).
•   Only go out for essential reasons.
•   Keep a safe distance of at least 2 metres from other people (if you must go out).
•   Go out to exercise but stay in your own neighbourhood (in certain provinces).

For these reasons PPOC strongly recommends that these types of sessions do not take place at this critical time. We cannot be too careful! This virus is extremely contagious, and is killing people all over the world. Sadly, we are seeing the death count rise daily in our country. This virus can only move, if YOU move.


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