RESIDENTS and businesses in our Brighton Municipality are really showing their innovative approaches to staying home and saving lives. Brighton Community News is focusing its May edition on some of the many ways in which residents and businesses are showing how they are coping during the COVID-19 pandemic particularly those with children who are at home and who need to be both kept entertained and also home-schooled. More stories about individuals and businesses coping are featured on pages 6 and 7 in the pdf version of the newspaper downloadable here: http://brightoncommunitynews.com.au/past-editions/
BRIGHTON Municipality accredited professional photographer Michael O’Keefe is taking his lens to the streets and photographing families ‘doing their thing’ in their driveways.
#TheDrivewayProject is a national initiative by photographers throughout the country where they are capturing family portraits in driveways across Australia in suburbia or in the regions.
They are fun, relaxed and candid images right in family driveways all done while practising social distancing.
“Of course I can only do it in the Old Beach area so if you see me around show your support and book a session with me.”
Michael said it was a fun and unique way to capture families throughout this challenging time and how families are dealing with the COVID-19 #StayHome #SaveLives rules set by national and state leaders and health authorities.
“As photographers who are absolutely in love with what we do, it kills us not being able to capture memories But this allows us to still do what we love, to still be creative and to spread the love,” Michael said.
He said the photos are happy and casual.
“I’ve even had people come out of their homes with their PJs on,” he said.
“In my situation, I took photos of my family with my kids all doing what they love, gymnastics, golf, you name it, they did it”.
Michael said he had one family sit in the back of their ute and in their driveway.
“It allows people to dress up or dress down, to put on makeup and really have some fun,” he said.
All photos are posted on social media platforms such as Instagram using the hashtag #TheDriveWayProject.
Michael said the response in the community was fantastic and he’d already taken about 40 or 50 photographs. It’s free, it’s in the driveway and so social distancing is not a problem.
“I use a 200mm lens so I’m at least four metres away from each group.”
Michael hopes to eventually produce a book or an album as a keepsake for local families.
“I would like to get some information on each family photograph I have taken to complement the photographs themselves. It’s a time in our lives we will want to look back on, to reflect on how we handled it. This is a great way to remember that time.”
Michael has been living in the municipality for about 25 years. He and his wife Heather have four children Mia, 14 Madelin, 14 Mitchell 12 and Ruby 8.
He has been a photographer for almost nine years.
“I loved taking photos, which nine years ago was a hobby but it has now turned into a full-time job.”
Michael works from a home studio but because he takes mainly newborn children, families and weddings his work has had to cease due to having close his doors during this period.
So to keep his skill, he decided to take part in #TheDrivewayProject.
“It helps us all come together. People are spending much more time with their families, and some may be going a bit stir crazy. This is another distraction for them and it gives us all a good laugh doing it.
“It just captures what this is all about and what they are feeling. There is a lot of gratitude from families too so I feel a great sense of being able to give back.”
As a stay at home dad, Michael said that he and Heather have to do a lot of juggling of time to keep their children entertained and also to help with schooling.
“We are doing all sorts of things, playing cards, playing outdoor sports like badminton, in fact, all sorts of things together.
“We are lucky to have so many great walking tracks around Brighton so we’re spending a lot of time exploring them.
“What is also great is that it seems everyone’s doing the right thing and that’s particularly good to see,” Michael said.
If you live in Old Beach and want to take part in Michael’s project you can call him on 0411 484 132 email him on michael@MichaelOKphotography.com or find him on Facebook Michael O’Keefe Photography.