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The Front Steps Project Captures Brooklyn Families to Benefit Covid Relief Funds

The Front Steps Project Captures Brooklyn Families to Benefit Covid Relief Funds

This Brooklyn photographer and mom of two is connecting NYC families in quarantine through the lens of her camera while raising money to benefit local Covid-19 relief funds.


Ever since Adina Lerner stopped teaching in NYC schools, she has devoted herself to capturing the small moments in life. As a documentary and lifestyle photographer, she often shoots families and kids of all ages. So when she found out about a project started by Cara Soulia and Kristin Collins in Massachusetts called the Front Steps Project, which was created to bring communities together virtually during this time of social isolation, she was inspired to bring it to Brooklyn.

A few times a week, Adina leaves her Park Slope home, which she shares with her two young kids, her magician husband and a 60-pound dog named Smokey, to photograph families peeking out of quarantine. Sometimes they’re on their front stoop or perched outside an open window. These images of people emerging from their homes have delighted folks all over the city, as well as garnered over $3,000 in donations for local Brooklyn Covid-19 relief charities that provide meals and PPE to hospital staff and donate to local businesses and families out of work. We spoke to Adina about this project. 

How does the Front Steps Project work?
It only takes about 5-10 minutes per shoot. I photograph people on my walks to get some exercise. I stay far back on the sidewalk, at least 10 feet, and the family stays on their front stoop. 

How do you find families to photograph for this?
Families have found me through social media, mainly Instagram, and even from a TV spot on local news!

What has been the reaction to the project so far?
The reaction has been wonderful! In Park Slope there are lots of small business that make our neighborhood what it is. We're a large but close-knit group trying to help each other out. In order to get photographed by me, a donation must be made to any COVID-related charity, small business or family in need. Everyone here has been generously helping out our community. 



Is there something that is similar about all the families you’ve photographed?
The major similarity between all of the 50 (and counting) families I've photographed is that they're always happy to see me (kids and adults alike), happy to be outside and happy to have a reason to get a little (or a lot) dressed up. No matter what they were doing before I arrive (teaching remotely, working, holding a crying baby, cleaning, cooking...) they're always happy to be on the front steps. 

 

Is there something you’ve noticed that has surprised you?
The reaction our neighborhood has had to the project has definitely surprised me. It's also gotten me to connect with and befriend other local photographers to which I'm grateful!

What do you think seeing families on their front steps means to most people?
Everywhere I look people are saying, "we're all in this together."  These photos show that.

How did you make this a fundraiser?
I liked the idea of each family contributing to a Covid-19 related cause—and I stress that any amount they donate is fine, because every family is going through their own economic hardships. In the 50+ families I've photographed so far, I've raised about $2700 for various charities (the donator chooses which one)—that have included providing meals and/or PPE to hospital staff, plus helping families and business that need it.  

If you'd like to be part of the Front Steps Project, you can sign up on Adina's website. All of Adina's proceeds go toward the donations she is making, so if you would like to make a contribution to her directly to support her while she is not accepting payment, you can do so by Venmoing @adinalerner.

RELATED: A Day in the Life of a Mom Quarantining in NYC

 

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Shana Liebman

Author:

Shana Liebman is the features editor of NYMP. She’s a writer and editor who has worked for magazines including New York MagazineSalon, and Travel & Leisure—and she is the mom of two energetic little boys.

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