“I figured I could make something kind of joyful during this time”: Richmond photographer captures the good in life during the coronavirus

Local News

This porch front photo is of Sisters Briana and Ashley Williams.

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, it’s easy to get bogged down with bad news from around the world. However, one Richmond photographer is using his camera to capture what’s good during these trying times.

Frank Pitchford, owner of Soho Photos, is doing free porch front photo shoots for people in the community.

“I figured I could make something kind of joyful during this time,” Pitchford said. “A happy memory, a happy moment, you know anything to take the mind off of the coronavirus.”

Pitchford said he got the idea from his photography colleagues from around the country. He saw a photographer in Florida doing virtual photoshoots and a mid-western photographer doing family portraits on people’s front porches.

“I was like ‘well these are already services I provide so I can just continue to do so,'” he said.

Briana Williams said she and her sister had to deal with a lot of family health issues that week, both related and unrelated to the coronavirus, so the photo shoot was a nice break for them.

He said he’s able to take photos of people while still practicing social distancing and has done three photo shoots so far. One of the shoots was of two sisters, Brianna and Ashley Williams.

Briana said she and her sister had to deal with a lot of family health issues that week, both related and unrelated to the coronavirus, so the photo shoot was a nice break for them just to enjoy being with one another.

“Looking back at the pictures, one of the things me and my sister really appreciated was the fact we were able to find joy in that moment with everything that was taking place for everyone,” Brianna said.

“I think everyone is going through their own personal situation. Personally, being a single woman having to deal with self-isolation looks a lot different than for families or for people who have significant others and things like that. So being able to do something like this was fun but much needed at the same time.”

Pitchford did another with April Williams — unrelated to the sisters — and her family. April’s family has had their life impacted by the coronavirus as well– her son is adjusting to online classes. She’s trying to earn her PHd and her husband is a pulmonary critical care doctor.

April Williams said this is the second time her family has had professional photographs taken of them, the first was last year during her son’s bar mitzvah.

“We sat on the front porch and had a couple of laughs and it was something kind of sweet to do and be thinking about in a really usual time that we’re having right now,” April said.

Pitchford said he has more photo shoots planned for this weekend, and he will continue doing them as long as people are interested. Although he is not charging for his photography in this series, donations are appreciated. 

“I think this is something that is needed for the community right now,” Brianna said.

To see more of Pitchford’s work or schedule a shoot click here.

Pitchford said this photo is of a couple who was supposed to get married that day but their wedding was canceled because of the coronavirus.

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