Looking for the Good!
Porchraits is an initative that found the Calgarians who were 'looking for the good' amongst the tough times of the worldwide pandemic.
How long does a camera lens need to be to overcome physical distance protocols?
Neil Zeller is proud to present his first photography book, Porchraits. Calgary Families in Isolation During COVID-19.
The book offers a glimpse of the work Neil did (from a safe distance) to capture photographs of Calgarians at home, during the spring and summer of 2020 as we navigated the pandemic. Like a series of more than 600 flashbulbs, the Porchraits project captured the attention of our communities, bringing light to a dark time.
In their own words, more than 200 participating families have shared their stories of those disrupted early days when so many retreated to their homes. The book also features photos from 150+ more families, and a chapter dedicated exclusively to the porchpets Neil met on his travels to all corners of the city.
"In a time when many of us felt alone, the Porchtraits connected us with hundreds of others posing on their porches."
It marks a moment in time I will never forget
Having our porchraits done was therapeutic. It gave us a feeling of connection with community and the realization that we were making history
Share in the Experience!
“Neil Zeller is a master of the fart joke!” (sort of joking)
Neil offered us all some connection and joy in the isolation that lasted longer than any of us might have imagined.
Neil, and many other of the city’s entrepreneurs, showed a level of innovation and compassion that was both thoughtful and inspiring.
Thank you, Neil, for making the Porchraits happen. It was a beautiful way to remind us all that we are one community, not just during the pandemic, but in everyday life.
Daring to venture out, 10 days into lockdown, we were rewarded with Neil making farty noises behind a big zoom lens. He even got the dog to smile!
Everything was so uncertain and scary – it was really nice to just have some fun in the snow together!
We love it when our mom laughs. It lights up our lives. Seeing her giggle when Neil asked her to “stare lovingly at the streetlamp” just made our day!
Neil and his project symbolized that we were not alone. We were all united in sheltering-in-place and keeping our loved ones safe.
“These porchrait sessions are a great way to raise morale while we go through this crazy time in our lives. Thank you Neil!”
Thanks Neil, for injecting some light during a moment of darkness.
We willingly smiled (and laughed) with a friendly stranger snapping our photos in the midst of Covid lock-down!
The longest in-person conversation I'd had up to that point in the pandemic! (Also making sure my cat didn't escape during the session.)
Thanks for the memories and all the fart noises, Neil!
My son and my Porchrait session was fantastic. It gave us another excuse to hug each other.
In a time when many of us felt alone, the Porchraits connected us with hundreds of others posing on their porches.
An afternoon photo shoot with you, Neil, was a fun distraction from the stress of COVID, so thank you for being part of our COVID story!
Anticipating our porchrait “shoot” was such a bright light during a dark and scary time
Having it rain on our photo day didn’t dampen our spirits!
Neil's project shone a bright light on Calgarians during a really dark time for many of us and made our tiny family bubble feel a little bigger through the power of photography.
When Neil showed up at our curb-side, we felt connected to our greater community, alone but alone together.
Having our porchraits done was therapeutic. It gave us a feeling of connection with community and the realization that we were making history.
This photo shoot with Neil was such an uplifting moment for us. His energetic and outgoing personality was a breath of fresh air during such a scary time. The kids loved his energy! It felt amazing to get dressed up and interact with someone outside the immediate family. We had some good laughs on the porch that day!
Neil brought a ray of sunshine to a unsettling time and we are so thankful!
Fred Rogers said “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”. Neil Zeller was a helper that day!