History, memories captured in East Tennessee front porch family photos

As Seen On WATE

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) — Over and over, we’re seeing so many in our community come together, from volunteering to checking in on our neighbors.

One Knoxville man is rallying families during a time of uncertainty in a unique way with a photography project called Front Stoop Photos.

MORE: Tracking Coronavirus

Rain or shine, Marshall Stephens and his camera are out in neighborhoods. Stephens says it’s not so much family pictures rather, “It’s kind of a time capsule.”

Through his lens, Stephens is capturing how East Tennesseans are coping with the coronavirus pandemic.

“So you can look back in 10 or 15 years or 20 years and say, ‘Wow we were together as family, we were stuck in the house and we made it through and here we have this memory we can look back on,'” he explained.

When capturing these moments, Stephens always keeps 6-foot distance while families stand on their front porches.

“It’s good being able to feel the fresh air,” said 5th grader Brayden Settlemyre.

Each family and each photo sharing the realities of being in self-quarantine.

“We feel like our kids are now going to be known as ‘the COVID-19 generation’ to some degree and will be talking to their grand kids some day about what life was like during this period of time, just like when we talked to our grandparents about what life was like during WWII,” said Stacy Cox.

“I just think it’s crazy that we’re getting sold out of everything and this virus is horrible, going around and it’s crazy,” added Settlemyre.

Stephens is hoping to share a little joy by doing these photo sessions for free, “I think the biggest lesson I’ve learned from the coronavirus is to take things one day at a time. We don’t have to solve this whole thing right now. We’re not going to solve this whole thing right now, but it’s important to take a step back, take a deep breath and realize we’re going to get through this.”

For families making these memories, it’s giving a new perspective on “Home is where the heart is.”

“One of the possible blessings through all of this is just realizing the value of being together as a family and being able to rely on each other to get through something like this,” said Cox.

How to be featured in the photography project, Front Stoop Photos

If you’d like to coordinate a family picture session with Stephens, you can email him at marshallstephens@gmail.com

You can also contact him at the Front Stoop Photos website, click here.

(Photo: WATE)

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