IRVING PARK — What started out as a way to meet her new neighbors has blossomed into a coronavirus quarantine project for Jackie Bravo Vicere.
The Irving Park photographer is offering families free portraits during the stay home order, traveling around the city to document families … from a safe distance.
Bravo Vicere has been taking photos for the past seven years as a hobby. She moved into Irving Park in April 2019 and was planning to offer her portrait services to her new neighbors for free as a way of introducing herself long before the coronavirus pandemic led to a state-wide stay home order.
“I just wanted to meet my neighbors and offer my services for free,” Bravo Vicere said.
After the stay home order went into effect, Bravo Vicere was scrolling through a Facebook group for photographers and saw a post about people offering to take portraits for free in other states during the pandemic.
“I posted in the Irving Park Facebook group last Thursday asking if anyone would like me to take their portraits while they were on their front porches and people have been reaching out to me nonstop since,” she said.
Bravo Vicere is calling her photo series the “Front Porch Project.”
“I’m driving around the city and I’m staying at a safe distance while I take photos of families and their pets while they pose. One family I photographed used a beach theme and were in swimsuits and had a huge beach ball,” she said.
Families from Irving Park were the first to ask Bravo Vicere to take their photos. But since then she’s also had people from Portage Park , Logan Square, Bucktown and suburban Norridge asking her to swing by to snap their photos.
“I’m extending it to as many people as I can drive to,” she said. “There are some people who have reached out who have newborns and they didn’t have a chance to take family pictures when their kid was born because have been so crazy with everything. So I’m taking their first family portrait.”
While Bravo Vicere is offering the service for free some neighbors have insisted she take some kind of payment for taking their portraits.
“People are giving me gift cards for restaurants, someone baked me cake pops and I’ve gotten a few envelopes with money and thank you note,” she said. “The main thing for me and why I love doing this is that people need to realize how unimportant our routines are but how important the human interactions are.
“Now that we’re all separated to slow the spread of the virus we appreciate that interaction so much more. I’d rather help people have a human connection than get any money.”
Chicagoans who want to ask Bravo Vicere to take their portrait can reach out to her via her Facebook page Just In Time Productions.
Below are a few of the portraits she’s taken so far.
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