Photographer aims for quarantine life in Chandler The Chandler Arizonan

Photographer aims for quarantine life in Chandler

Photographer aims for quarantine life in Chandler
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By Kevin Reagan
Arizonan Staff Writer

A local photographer is looking to document the lives of Chandler and Gilbert residents during the COVID-19 pandemic by shooting them from 10 feet away.

Edit Vasadi Denning, a wedding photographer from Gilbert, is offering to take free photos of local couples and families willing to pose either inside or outside of their homes.

Denning wants to capture both the mundane and extraordinary moments of everyday life during the global pandemic as residents continue to adjust to a distant, isolated lifestyle.

Not only will these photos help to document this unusual event, Denning said, but they can visually remind residents that everyone is making sacrifices to keep COVID-19 from spreading.

“I would like people to see that we’re all staying home,” the photographer said. “It’s kind of like an awareness to stay home.”

Denning launched the “Stay Home” project last week and plans to publish photos online as she progresses.

Though she is not charging subjects to be photographed, Denning is encouraging them to make a donation to Arizona Together, a charitable organization helping to combat impacts of the coronavirus.

Residents in Chandler, Gilbert and Queen Creek areas can schedule appointments through Denning’s website and the photographer will travel out to their homes.

She’s not too picky as to who can request an appointment, but Denning is particularly interested in finding images that can tell an impactful story — like family members attempting to visit a quarantined elderly relative.

Denning promises to keep a safe distance from her subjects and may even try to photograph families through the windows or doorways of their homes.

Denning said she was inspired to start the project after reading about photographers in other states offering a similar service to their neighbors.

Cara Soulia, a photographer based in Massachusetts, began photographing families from their front yards shortly after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advised citizens to limit outdoor activities.

After scrolling through Soulia’s portraits, Denning said she was motivated to recreate the project within her own community — almost as a way to help her neighbors feel more connected during a turbulent time.

These last couple weeks have felt so bizarre not socializing with anyone and staying away from public places, she said, adding, “We talk to people online but it’s just not the same.”

Denning is accustomed to documenting happy couples on their wedding day.

But she likely won’t have any weddings to photograph in the foreseeable future, pushing her to find some of the lighter moments happening in people’s homes during this pandemic.

“It gives me a warm feeling to see families together now that they’re able to spend more time together,” Denning said.

But there’s still a haunting element to these pictures, Denning said, because the viewer knows these subjects are almost trapped by circumstances that are out of their control.

“It is also a little bit sad in some ways because they’ve been in that environment for weeks now,” she added.

Denning grew up in Hungary and immigrated to the United States with her husband 11 years ago. She took up photography to thwart off feelings of loneliness she experienced after relocating to a country that was far away from her friends and family.

She discovered she enjoyed capturing images that are frozen in time and sharing them with others. She’s not sure yet what she may do with all her quarantine-focused photos after the COVID-19 outbreak subsides, but she hopes her subjects will get some joy out of them.

Denning also hosts a podcast that explores multicultural traditions and relationships. She’s decided to devote the podcast’s next few episodes to local couples who have had their weddings interrupted by COVID-19.

More information: stayhomeproject.editvasadi.com.

**Edit Denning shared these photos she took of her own family that demonstrate how her photos of other families may look like*

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