During our nation’s difficult time of quarantine and social distancing, many of us ask “How can I help?”
This is exactly the question professional photographer Kathleen Martin from LKN Images and her husband Ed asked each other. When the stay-at-home order – NC Executive Order 121 – started in March, Kathleen read on Facebook about a Boston Photographer (Cara Soulia) who started “The Front Steps Project” in Massachusetts. She decided to put her talent to good use and created a “Front Steps Project” here in Mooresville.
How does “The Front Steps Project” work?
The premise is simple. Families stand or sit on their front steps while Kathleen takes their picture. Under NC Executive Order 121, Volunteering is allowed and they exceed all Social Distancing Requirements. Staying 20 or more feet away and using a telephoto lens, Kathleen captures her subjects with vivid clarity. She posts the picture on social media (with no names or addresses) under the hashtag: #TheFrontStepsProjectLKN
Each family receives a digital copy of the picture. Kathleen asks the participants to share their picture on social media and spread the word in hopes the movement will thrive.
Who benefits from The Front Steps Project?
The Martins volunteer their time. However, they ask that every participating family donates a minimum of $25.00 to FeedNC.org (Formerly know as the Mooresville Soup Kitchen.)
To date, Kathleen and Ed have traveled “up and down Brawley School Rd” with a heavy concentration at The Farms, The Point and The Harbour, accumulating donations in excess of $20,000 to feed the hungry during this COVID-19 crisis.
How can I sign up for a family picture and be a part of this project?
In order to maximize Kathleen and Ed’s talent and time, they generally focus on communities, asking residents to spread the word to their neighbors and sign up prior to their arrival. All registration and donations are done online through The Front Steps Projects’ web site: LKNImages.com/TheFrontStepsProject.
The magic behind the scenes
Ed does all of the correspondence and scheduling. Kathleen proudly states, “Ed’s the magic behind the scenes!” For example, when it was The Harbour’s turn to participate, Ed used routing software to optimize the addresses of everyone who had signed up with the intent of photographing half of the community on Saturday and the other half on Sunday — listing the streets in the order of appointment.
Each participant received a text at the beginning of the day with a “ball park” time for their appointment — asking that the family be ready when they arrived. After each street was completed, a new text went out saying “We are on our way” so those families would be waiting at the door when Kathleen and Ed arrived. It worked like a well-oiled machine! They photographed thirty-nine families in four hours.
“The best part – everyone smiles – thrilled to be a part of this project, happy to donate to a good cause, glad to be dressed up and delighted to be outside.”
Who is Kathleen Martin?
Kathleen, owner of LKN Images, specializes in capturing high school seniors, athletic events, family portraits and professional headshots since 2005. She is also the contributing photographer responsible for the cover photography for Lakeside Living Magazine. She claims, “My love for photography goes back to elementary school when I received my first camera – a Mickey Mouse, Mick-A-Matic. I can’t remember a time when I didn’t take photos.”
During this stressful, difficult time in America, Kathleen and Ed Martin discovered a way to volunteer their time and talent to create a “silver lining” which not only benefits the hungry but brightens the day for all who participate.
Photos by Tesa Jones
Tesa Jones is an Elon University alumna, retired teacher, wife, and mother of two. Although she lived most of her life in Alexandria, Virginia, she now resides in Mooresville, North Carolina. In addition to being a published author, Jones is very active in her church, adores her grandchildren, and enjoys boating, writing, and photography.
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