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2TM Regional News

Front Steps Project 'shares joy' during tough times

Sam, Maddison, Charlotte and Joel Taylor and animals. Picture: Sally Alden Photography

When the coronavirus pandemic hit small business owners were hit hard, but one Quirindi woman has found a way to adapt and share the joy.

Sally Alden's photography business almost collapsed overnight when weddings and events were suddenly events cancelled due to public health orders banning public gatherings.

"The forecast for that situation [bans on events] was until July, so that was a big chunk of my income," she said.

"I also lost my outlet and my passion and then someone sent me a link to people in America doing the #frontstepsproject.

"The first one I did was my family, and that was my son and the animals."

That first photo took off and within 24 hours, Sally had 30 requests from local families.

Since then she has reached more than 150,000 people on social media with her heart-warming snaps of families in isolation-style.

Sally said people were dealing with shock, turmoil and uncertainty due to the fallout of COVID-19, so they jumped at the chance to find a way to bring a little brightness into their life.

The Liverpool Plains #frontstepsproject 2020 does not just show Sally's incredible pictures; she draws on her experience as a photo-journalist to tell the client's stories.

"I have travelled all over the world for Fairfax, writing and photographing but this was a chance to use my skills in a new way," Sally said.

"I get them to tell their stories in their own words, and it was about connecting with people and bringing a smile to their face.

"It's been a shining light for me during this time as well. This project has helped me be a better mum, a better work colleague, a better member of society and a calmer person."

As a single mum, Sally said it has helped her stay connected and provided a routine during uncertain times.

In a session, she will tell the family the photoshoot depends on what they want out of it.

When she arrives, Sally calls the family, uses her headset while they pop her on the loudspeaker to ensure social distancing guidelines are followed. Then, the fun begins!

"After years of working so intensely planning and designing, it is so liberating to be able just to say 'it's your story, what do you want'," she said.

"It has reinvigorated my business creatively."

Sally said the goal of the project was to tell stories, share the joy and encourage people to spread kindness.

She requests each family to pay it forward and then tell that person to pay it forward.

"It's also a beautiful slice of history that has been captured," Sally said.

"Thank you to all the families and the community for supporting the project, and for getting photo gift vouchers for their mums for Mother's Day."

Check out Sally's work here.


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