What started out as a simple idea to photograph neighbours from their front steps has quickly turned into a global movement that has brought people together virtually when physical distancing keeps us apart.
The Front Steps Project (#thefrontstepsproject) was born in March by a group of women in Needham, Massachusetts, US as a fundraiser for their local community council. It was a way to give back to their community during these uncertain times and it’s by that spirit so many photographers around the world, including Canadian Moussa Faddoul of Fotoreflection, have decided to carry the torch in their own communities.
“I wanted to do something creative that involved families in our community,” exclaims Moussa. “When I discovered ‘The Front Steps Project’, I knew I had found the answer I was looking for.” According to Moussa, the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Families have been happy to participate and extremely grateful.
“Some just needed a reason to dress up, get the kids out of the house, and document this time in their lives for a keepsake,” he remarks. “Others never had a family portrait together before and found the initiative to be timely.”
During his photo sessions, Moussa found many families to be enjoying the simple connections on the front steps, huddling together, making silly faces, or sharing hopeful messages of encouragement they wrote on boards.
In exchange for the professional image, the families are asked to donate to a local charity. Moussa Faddoul grew up in Lebanon, a war-torn country where people spent weeks, sometimes months confined to their homes or in bomb shelters without electricity, easy access to food, clean water, or the communication tools we have today. Despite the hardships of war, Moussa recalls a unifying spirit that helped get people through those dark times.
“Almost everyone I know from those days shares a common expression, ‘We miss those days.’ People were closer and looked after one another. They were not afraid to dodge snipers bullets to bring a bag of flour or a cup of rice to a neighbour in need. That spirit of selflessness and other-centeredness gets people through anything. I see that spirit at work today.”
As we continue to work together to get through these challenging times, people are finding creative ways to help their neighbours and reach out to those in need. Thanks to people like Moussa Faddoul, we will get through not only this pandemic but also anything else that faces our communities.
“We’re stronger together,” says Moussa. “Be patient, support one another and trust that better days are coming.”