Farmington photographer captures ‘photos from the porch’

Inspired by a social media post, Farmington resident Jaki LeMense spent a quiet evening last week photographing her neighbors – from a safe distance.

We asked the owner of Charisma Photo a few questions about her “photos from the porch” project, which proved popular – and may continue:

Tell us a little bit about you.

I moved to Farmington a couple of summers ago after meeting my now husband. I was in the photography business for many years in my 20s but left that and went into payroll and accounting. I decided the cubicle life just wasn’t for me so started Charisma Photo to see if I could make it in the digital world. It’s been a slow process so far but I’m okay with that.

Photos from the Porch
(Photo by Jaki LeMense)

Where did you get the idea for “photos from the porch”?

I actually saw the idea on another Facebook page and thought “Farmington is the perfect little town for this”. Plus with social distancing and having to stay home/stay healthy I thought it was a good use of some time for anyone that wanted to be involved. So I posted it on the Farmington Neighborhood page to see if there was interest, and right away I had families interested.

Photos from the Porch
(Photo by Jaki LeMense)

How did you go about getting the photos?

I figured out a couple of days that worked for me and asked the families which time would suit their street/neighborhood. Since we are social distancing I stayed on the sidewalk and had them come up with whatever idea they wanted but the rule was they had to stay on the porch.

Photos from the Porch
(Photo by Jaki LeMense)

How did people react?

Everyone seemed really happy to just have something else to do and plan. It was great fun getting to meet some of the neighbors that I don’t know.

Photos from the Porch
(Photo by Jaki LeMense)

Do you plan to do more photos?

I would love to if there is any more interest. It would be fun to set it up every couple of weeks until we are all out of this situation. I would love to do a day of elderly neighbors.

Photos from the Porch
(Photo by Jaki LeMense)

What advice would you give someone else thinking about a similar project?

I say go for it. I had a blast! It gave me some much need “work” to do since I am unable to do my job at this time. Keeps my skills fresh.

What did you get out of the experience?

We are all in this together so it was nice to see those friendly faces out there. I know it hasn’t been long that we are all stuck inside for the most part, so I hope we can all find fresh ideas and fun things to do. It can get pretty lonely, I’m sure. I have three teenagers in my house, so I totally get it.