The work of a Pāpāmoa photographer has gone global after she participated in a fundraiser during lockdown earlier this year.
The Front Steps Project, which started in America, saw photographers all over the world head out during lockdown to get photos of families outside their front doors, raising $3.2 million globally for charities.
The project was started by Kristen Collins and Cara Soulia in Needham, Massachusetts in the US. They would send the photos to the families who were photographed and encourage them to donate to a charity of their choice.
Now the organisers are putting together a book, The Front Steps Project: How Communities Found Connection During the Covid-19 Crisis, featuring some of their favourite photos, including two taken by Pāpāmoa's Kelly O'Hara.
Each participant chose a local charity to support and O'Hara, along with four other North Island-based photographers, raised $18,600 for Homes of Hope in Tauranga.
"We obeyed all the rules of Covid, with social distancing. It was pretty exciting, I'd work it into my daily exercise so I wasn't breaking rules. I took photos of about 75 families during lockdown.
"I'd email them some photos with a link to the Homes of Hope fundraising page so they could donate.
"The founder got in touch with me which was just awesome. She and her husband have asked photographers who participated to submit four images and out of those two were chosen [to feature in the book]."
One of her photos also featured in a Wall Street Journal article about the Front Steps Project.
O'Hara said the project was a therapeutic process, for her and the families she photographed, during the lockdown and she was thrilled to feature in the book.
"I was looking for something to do during lockdown and I was researching old Victorian doors when Covid hit. Among that research, I saw this amazing project and I thought 'Boom, there it is'.
"The front doors in New Zealand have such a Kiwi flavour, it's different to America which is great. I didn't know where this would go, I don't think the organisers knew it would be this big - it's been so much fun."
She said every front step had "something different going on".
"One of the photos chosen for the book was Lisa Adamson and her family. She loved to collect older vintage, quirky things and in her front door, she had a parking meter.
"What she and her family are sitting on is a refurbished park bench. It's over 100 years old, her grandfather had recently passed away and when asked what she wanted from his estate she said the park bench because of the memories.
"It was chosen for the book because it had a story, it had that connection. Some of the families had older dogs or pets that they knew wouldn't be with them much longer so it was nice to be able to include them.
"For me, it's not just getting the image, it's the depth and the authenticity. That's something I really enjoyed about the Front Steps Project was that it forced people to be happy photographically in their own skin and their own home. Traditionally we think of family portraits at a beach or a park or in a studio," O'Hara said.
For more information on the Front Steps Project go to: https://www.thefrontstepsproject.com