The night Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced the first big Covid-19 restrictions in Australia, with the closure of restaurants, pubs and all places of gathering, I couldn’t sleep. Not only that announcement meant that like a lot of others I had lost work for the season (or the year?), but the atmosphere that night had changed. Uncertainty, fear, negativity and confusion were hanging in the air. Staying at home in this mood is never good for anyone’s mental health. As a first time mum, I had also lost our daily routine of amazing activities and meet-ups organised by and for the Darwin mums community. My feet had been itching for a while, I had been looking for a way to help. What I had learnt from my family and friends in the Italian lockdown, is that to get through this together we have to stay positive, keep busy (at home) and be creative. So I asked myself, what could a family photographer do to help lift the spirits and bring the community together in the time of social distancing? And then I stumbled on my Instagram on #frontporchproject, a hashtag that had been going on for a while, a variety of versions, interpretations and spin offs mostly in the US, pre and post corona virus. Some Instagram posts were simply family portraits in a front porch, others where candid shots of families writing positive messages with chalk on their drives during lockdown.
And so I thought about our driveways and of the powerful message we could send from them and of what beautiful stories I could tell by photographing families in front of their homes during this unprecedented time in history and how close to one another this could make us feel while keeping physically 2 metres apart. #thedrivewayproject was born: a series of free portraits of my fellow neighbours, full of fun, joy, hope and love, to see the silver lining of spending more time at home with our families and to spread the message “we are all in this together”. Darwin, stay safe and keep smiling!
The Driveway Project is a volunteer photography initiative started in Darwin, NT, on 23rd March 2020 and finished on 26th April 2020. All images have been taken following current NT Government guidelines and restrictions. Find my first Facebook post starting #thedrivewayproject here. Since then, other photographers locally and around Australia reached out to me asking if I minded them bringing the project to their own neighbourhoods. My answer was Yes of course! Spread the love! As long as we all keep it in the same spirit of positivity, fun and kindness, adhering to social distancing rules and keeping it 100% free or in exchange for a donation to a charity. So now there is more love being spread around Australia, one driveway at a time. Click on this link for some examples from other aussie driveways.