Pacific Palisades Front Porch Project Photographer Robin Aronson Kicks Off Series in Partnership with the Palisadian-Post
By ROBIN ARONSON | Contributing Writer
Our lives as we knew it have been put on pause because of COVID-19. As I first navigated my new “normal,” I knew I wanted to keep taking pictures, and I wanted to give back.
I began the Pacific Palisades Front Porch Photography Project to capture the community during these challenging times and shared values of gratitude, perseverance and hope.
The project was 100% donation based. Forty-four days, 160 families and over $17,000 raised for the Westside Food Bank.
As I reviewed the photos, I noticed that all the families looked perfect. But we all know that our lives have changed in some way, and that everything is not perfect.
So, I went back to each family and asked them to write a small summary about their experience during this time.
In the coming weeks, these honest glimpses of life “Behind the Front Porch” will provide more context and meaning to my Front Porch Project photographs.
I am so grateful that I was able to help those in need through the use of my skills and passion. And while doing so, I have met so many amazing, generous families in our community—and have helped people smile.
It has been exhausting and rewarding at the same time. By taking initiative, I have learned that it is possible to make a difference.
Thank you to all the families who donated and warmly welcomed me from six feet away.
The Rodman Family
Before COVID-19 made landfall in Los Angeles, my family and I thrived on the routine nature of our busy lives. Like most people, I’d never envisioned a scenario in which we’d be confined to our home for an extended period of time.
It never occurred to me that a pandemic would mean we wouldn’t be able to see people that mean the most to us, or that the simple act of buying a gallon of milk would entail Clorox wipes, a mask and gloves.
After 50 or so days of going au natural, knowing that Robin was coming to take our photos gave me just the boost I needed to revive some of my old routines. I actually used my curling iron, blush and eyeliner and put real clothes on!
We look fairly put together, but behind our dark brown front door, there’s a constant circus on display—crying, whining, dancing, running through sprinklers, crafting, writing, Zooming, conference calling, cooking, baking and home improvements are just a few of the ways we’re coping with quarantine.
It’s not all pretty—one of us has suffered a mild concussion—but it’s certainly never dull; one of us is operating an “underground” bike shop in exchange for beer, one of us learned how to ride a two-wheeler and one of us (the dog) has never been happier to have everyone home for a prolonged period of time.
We’re grateful to have a photo from this time that shows the only thing we really need is each other.
The Taffler Family
Our family motto is “Be kind, be honest, listen … and TRY HARD.” Our weekends are filled with sport and social activities. We rarely have or need down time. Then COVID-19.
We are lucky in so many ways. We have our jobs and a spacious home with a big yard in an area surrounded by trails and beauty. We are healthy and not considered high risk for the virus. We love to cook.
Homeschool … well, that’s a mixed bag. With our busy work schedules, it’s more like assigning than teaching. There has been yelling, tears, iPad bans and more.
There has also been lots of cuddles, nighttime walks, 10-mile bike rides around the neighborhood and social distancing with a few families in our Palisades bubble.
This photo will remind us of these long days at home together; with the kids in their PJs half the day, when recess entailed riding in circles in the yard, and happy hour was a nearly daily occurrence.
I think my kids will look back and remember the good stuff, and laugh about how we were the worst school teachers and appreciate the freedoms that will come back when quarantine is over.
The Finck Family
When the rain came down in March, it set the mood as the world hit pause out of real fear of what novel coronavirus pandemic might bring to our local community.
The first sign that this new virus would have an impact on our lives was when I was having difficulty in January sourcing sustainable stretch lace from China and then Europe.
And then, for the first time in 22 years, Scot wasn’t commuting to and from Burbank. He also switched from his daily treadmill workout to taking walks in the neighborhood with me, and he fell in love with where we lived!
I started a podcast and checked in with all our family across the country. What brought us together was comfort food and baked goods. That led to my quarantine 15, but I’m back to intermittent fasting, yoga and running.
Chris, who works in tech, is now telecommuting from his apartment in the Palisades. Griffin graduated with a degree in journalism, and we look forward to celebrating his accomplishment along with his peers together in person.
We are all thankful to not have been personally impacted from the pandemic so far. All four of us have friends who have been laid off or furloughed and this is heartbreaking.
Our hope is we can all (our family and the world at large) recover from this and return to the lives we were living, even if it’s with a face mask!
Robin Aronson can be found at robinaronsonphotography.com or Instagram @RobinAronsonPhotography.
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