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Ronnie’s “Pandemic Porchtraits”

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My name is Ronnie & I started my photography about a year after losing the earthly presence of my 27-year old daughter Christina to cancer. I was looking for hope in one of the darkest times of my life, so I began reading the letters she had written to a child she sponsored in India. I was so moved by listening to her heart that I decided to take action. I took over her sponsorship and then decided to fly to India to meet the young boy who had meant so much to my daughter.

That trip changed my life. I have been interested in photography since I was quite young, but only as a hobby. After taking photographs in India and documenting the story for Compassion International’s magazine, I realized that I could use my hobby to make a difference. I decided to start a nonprofit called Capturing Grace, to help organizations around the world who are making a difference in the lives of orphans, vulnerable children and people in poverty. Many of them do amazing work but do not have the resources for professional photography to tell their story. I have now documented beautiful stories for nonprofits for over 5 years and through 44 countries.

So when the pandemic hit and my scheduled trip to South America was canceled, I looked around to see what stories I could tell in this new season. Everyone has their own pain and heartache…not to be compared, just to be shared. This virus has affected us all.

I wanted to start with my own neighborhood. I live in an old, historic community, and while I know some of my neighbors, there are many I have not met. So I posted an idea on our neighborhood Facebook page. I would come and take portraits of their family on their front porch (I called them Porchtraits) and then we could post them as a way to bring solidarity to our neighborhood and help us get to know one another.

It has been well received so far, and it has been a lot of fun! I feel like it is helping to draw us together as a community in a time where we all feel so isolated. We are learning more about our neighbors and beginning to share our own stories with one another.

Stories are important. They are the way that we connect and learn about one another. That’s what we all want…to be heard and seen and have a sense of connection. I’m glad that I have been able to bring my own neighborhood together, even in a small way, by sharing my gift of photography.


Want to nominate a person or group to be spotlighted as a Neighborhood Hero? Send your recommendations to stories@vomo.org with a brief description of who and why they should be featured.

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