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Lakeland photographer documents families together amid COVID-19 concerns

Posted at 4:57 PM, Mar 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-26 18:32:03-04

LAKELAND, Fla. — It's rough staying inside for days and weeks on end. Self isolation or quarantine is necessary for flattening the curve of COVID-19, according to experts, but it’s also a challenge for some families.

But a Polk County photographer is asking families to get outside, if just for a moment, and here’s why.

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“I love the idea of the moment, that snapshot in history you see pictures of times our country went through like WWII, Vietnam and the Great Depression and there’s amazing pictures of families and how they handle it. And I thought this would be a great way to participate in something that has happened during our time,” Ginnie Chapman says, with a smile on her face.

Like thousands across the nation, she and her family have been self isolating in hopes of ending the spread of the coronavirus.

On Thursday though, she made an exception.

Chapman and other neighbors joined in on a project. A project Kim Carpenter, with Kim Carpenter Portraits, decided to implement due to her extra time and need for a little light in all of our lives.

“We are all just looking to add a little positivity to our day,” Carpenter said, with her DSLR camera in hand.

Like food delivery, this is like drive-by photography.

Carpenter adhering to social distancing recommendations, drove by families homes, shouted from afar and snapped a few shots of the family. A moment, they say, they can look back on and remember what they went through during the COVID-19 outbreak.

“This has been something we won’t forget,” Chapman says.

She says she hasn’t lived through a time in her life when she hasn’t been able to find eggs, milk or toilet paper at any stores.

ABC Action News asked Kim Carpenter why she takes the time to take photos for free, when she herself is suffering from multiple cancellations due to the virus.

“There’s a lot of negativity and a lot of hard times for a lot of people but this is just adding just a little tiny bit of a smile to their day,” she said.

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The final images show families together, smiling and spending more time together than they normally would because of work and other obligations. The portraits document what they are facing and how they are handling the stress of it all.

For some families, it helped them forget, if even for a moment.

“It kind of made it feel like it wasn’t as scary,” said Gabrielle Gard, a pregnant mother and wife. “It makes it feel like we are definitely going to get through it."

In lieu of payment, Kim Carpenter Portraits is asking clients to donate to a local charity, Grace City Church, which is providing relief for COVID-19 victims in the area.

“The moms and dads are really happy to have a family portrait to kind of look back at this time,” Carpenter said.

To donate to Grace City Church, click here.