Pacific Palisades Front Porch Project Photographer Robin Aronson Shares Series in Partnership with the Palisadian-Post
By Robin Aronson | Contributing Writer
The Pacific Palisades Front Porch Project began on April 19 when I asked my neighbors across the street, the Grandys, if they were interested in a photo of them on their front porch in exchange for a donation to the Westside Food Bank.
I posted the photo to my Facebook and Instagram accounts, and tagged the Grandy family—and it took off from there. At first, I just photographed my friends in the Palisades but that quickly changed to photographing friends of friends, and then to friends of friends of friends who saw my social media posts.
The Front Porch Project became a full-time job. I was incredibly busy photographing up to eight families a day. After lots of back and forth coordinating everyone’s schedules, I photographed from about 9 to 11 a.m. and then again from 4 to 7 p.m.
In the middle of the day I contacted back families who wanted to take part, uploaded the photos to my computer, culled the images, did some light editing, and uploaded them to my website and then sent a link to each family with their high-resolution digital images. I tried to get all the photos out to the families within 24 hours.
Meeting the different families (from a distance) and making new friends was great! I did this for 44 days straight (I took one day off—Mother’s Day) and at the end of my project, I had photographed 160 families and raised over $17,000 for the Westside Food Bank. I was exhausted but at the same time energized from giving back.
The Grandy Family
These are unprecedented and scary times for everyone. So, we are especially grateful to Robin for capturing one of the few silver linings of 2020: the chance to spend more time together as a family. When the quarantine started our family was in dire need of a reset.
Over the past few months we have been able to slow down and revel in the time we have to talk, bake and eat meals together. We walk the dog, ride our long-neglected bikes and have kitchen dance parties. We have TIME.
Don’t get me wrong, we fight (I’m sure Robin can hear us from her house!), yet we have rediscovered what is important. Getting dressed up for a family portrait? Not important. Having a family portrait where we’re all genuinely happy to be together? Extremely important.
After our smiles, my favorite part of the photo is our hair. We were in need of haircuts going into quarantine. But now our wild hair abounds … except for Annabelle who took it upon herself to chop her own with kitchen scissors.
If I’m being perfectly honest, there was a time not too long ago this would have bothered me. There are real things to worry about right now. And real things to be grateful for. I know we will eventually go back to a new normal, but I hope some of these changes stay with us forever.
The Montminy Family
We never expected our third child being born during a pandemic! We are focusing on the silver lining of getting to spend so much time together, and that our newborn gets the joy of being around family. This photoshoot was such a joy since it was the first photo as a family of five.
Our two older kids have been home doing virtual school and Joel has been working from home. I’m seven weeks postpartum and trying to stay afloat, juggling everyone’s needs, while trying to rest and heal—and do some work. We’re focusing on what we have versus what has been taken away from us during this time, and staying incredibly grateful.
—Dr. Zelana Montminy
The Milner Family
Looking back, it already feels like our front porch photos were taken a long time ago. I say that because it was relatively early in the shutdown phase and we were all adjusting to life in lock down.
Hannah had come home for spring break with the intention of only being here five days. Maya left Pali High one day after school planning to return a week later and never went back on campus. We were only a few weeks into quarantine and joking a lot about driving each other crazy and feeling very out of balance when we made the signs for our porch photos.
Now, less than two months later, we have all adjusted to the “new normal.” We don’t sit around and talk about “when is this going to end?” We have come to terms with the fact that all of our summer plans have been canceled.
We have settled into a slower pace. We eat dinner together almost every night. We bake A LOT … yes, the cliché sourdough starter is currently sitting in my fridge. We laugh and talk a lot.
The silver lining for us as parents is the gift of extra time with our young adult daughters during a sea of change in our country. We talk about real issues like Black Lives Matter, the power of peaceful protest and what sorts of change needs to occur for there to be true racial equality in our country. It sounds intense. It is. It is not a light moment and I am thankful that we are experiencing it and processing it together.
Robin Aronson can be found at robinaronsonphotography.com or Instagram @RobinAronsonPhotography.
This page is available to subscribers. Click here to sign in or get access.