A Red Deer photographer has raised thousands for local food banks by taking photos of families on their front steps.
Leah Tyler-Szucki, who owns her own photography business, began raising money earlier this month by participating in the Front Steps Project.
“I kind of dug my head into this project to distract me from everything I was missing and it’s brought me so much joy,” said Tyler-Szucki, who has raised about $4,000 so far.
The Red Deerian stays a safe distance away while taking photos of families in front of their homes. In return, the families donate money to a local food bank.
Tyler-Szucki learned of the project after a friend heard about it on social media.
“I hesitated to do it because there have kind of been some mixed reviews on it coming from the Canadian Photographers Association. They aren’t approving it because they want everyone to stay home,” she said.
“But my stance on it was, there’s a small amount of people right now that can do something to help those who will be without food, due to job loses and such. There aren’t very many people able to participate in charities like this, so I decided to risk the fine knowing I was fully capable with my equipment to take these photos from a more-than-safe distance.”
The Red Deer Food Bank has received about $3,200 – the food banks in Blackfalds and Sylvan Lake have received support as well.
“I remember hitting $500 and calling my boyfriend, who works out of town, and was like, ‘I can’t believe I hit $500,’” she said.
The experience hasn’t just been about raising money for food banks, she added.
Through the project, Tyler-Szucki took pictures for the family of a terminally ill man, who passed away a few days after the photography session.
“That was the moment I’ll remember for the rest of my life. They never would have reached out if they didn’t hear about this project. Now they’ll have those photos with him, his two kids, his wife and his mom for the rest of their lives. That was probably the most impactful moment so far,” she said.
Sessions can be booked for a $100 donation. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/leahtylerszucki.photos.