By Ed Karvoski Jr., Contributing Writer
Marlborough – A number of Marlborough residents now have mementos of getting a much-appreciated breath of fresh air while following the coronavirus pandemic stay-at-home advisory.
Bringing the now-nationwide Front Steps Project to Marlborough, photographer Katherine Hennessy is capturing residents outside their homes. The photos are shared via social media and raising funds for charitable causes.
“This is creating memories of something that none of us expected we would ever need to go through, and celebrating that we’re all doing this together,” Hennessy explained. “It’s a reminder that we need to stay at home.”
In exchange for a photo shoot, she’s encouraging donations to the volunteer service organization Marlborough Junior Woman’s Club (MJWC) and Marlborough Community Cupboard. Within her first three weeks beginning April 1, she photographed residents at 68 homes and raised about $4,000 for the charities.
Hennessy has been an active member of MJWC since 2004, as well as a Marlborough School Committee member since 2008.
“Everyone has been really focused on wanting to help others in the community through the food pantry,” she noted. “They like the idea that they can have a quick portrait taken by donating to help other folks.”
Soon after the Front Steps Project was launched by Needham photographer Cara Soulia and her friend Kristen Collins, they were joined by other Needham photographers Topher Cox and Caitrin Dunphy. Hennessy learned about the project from Cox, who she represents through her business Kate & Company.
Marlborough residents became aware of Hennessy’s efforts with the project on Facebook or by word of mouth. In her attempt to stay at home as much as possible, she has scheduled up to 10 photo shoots per day. Equipped with a high-power sports lens, she practices extreme social distancing.
“I show up and there’s no contact,” she stressed. “They come out on their front steps and I’m normally at least 10 feet away. I let them do their thing and try to capture what I see. It takes literally just a few minutes.”
A member of one of the many families she has photographed is an essential worker whose only time off from work was a rainy day. The family decided to keep their scheduled photo shoot and look on the bright side.
“They all came outside with bright umbrellas and raingear, and we got a great shot of them in the rain,” Hennessy recounted. “My daughter came with me and held an umbrella over us to keep my camera dry.”
Even families’ quarantined four-legged members are taking part in the photo shoots.
“A lot of the families want their pets in the shot,” Hennessy relayed. “There has been a huge amount of dogs and one cat – and I actually got the cat to look at the camera.”
In these uncertain times, Hennessy is prepared to capture more uplifting moments for Marlborough residents and their animals.
“I’m looking forward to doing more as long as it continues to be safe for myself and everyone else,” she said. “I’m happy to see the response from so many folks around the community that want to get involved and are using this as a way to help others.”
Find contact information at kateco-photography.com.