Vermont-born photographer making a difference with her front porch photos

Published: Apr. 12, 2020 at 9:34 AM EDT
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When a Vermont born Photographer, now living in Boston, decided she was going to stay with her family in Franklin County during the pandemic, she brought with her, a camera and a concept.

That concept started in Massachusetts and has now made its way north.

Photographers like her are focusing on helping others.

At Mill River Brewing in St. Albans, another gift card is going out the door.

This is one of the ways Ellen Sargent is doing her duty.

"These restaurants really are the heartbeat of our community and the economy and being a small business owner myself I just felt like okay, that seems logical. Let's help them out," says Sargent.

Ellen's small business is photography.

"It just makes me happy to freeze a moment in time and make a memory for people," Sargent says.

Since that's a business deemed non essential, she, along with many other colleagues across the area are doing their own type of Front Porch Forum.

"Many people are like, ugh it's not the prettiest front porch or it's mud season and whatnot and I more pitch the idea that this is a bizarre season of life that we're in and this is more capturing your family where you're at in this moment," says Sargent.

Those moments include a porch portrait of St. Albans Mayor Tim Smith and family. They also happen to be related to Ellen.

The proceeds from the porch photos go towards gift cards at restaurants like Mill River Brewing. Ellen then takes those gift cards and donates them to health care workers.

"People just want to help and they don't know what they can do right now, but many of us know these restaurant owners and we know these nurses and so knowing that we're able to help them and get a photo out of it is kind of winning for everyone," says Sargent.

After posting the idea to social media, several reached out from all over wanting to help.

A few Saturday's ago, Ellen made 38 stops across St. Albans and the Burlington area. In total $4,100 was raised. About $2,500 was put back into St. Albans Restaurants.

The other 1,500 dollars was given to the Farmhouse Group. It includes restaurants like El Cortijo, The Farmhouse Tap and Grill, and the Guild. Ellen chose them, because Farmhouse's owner Jed Davis is giving 100 percent of the proceeds to any gift card purchased, back to its employees.

"I really was doing this for others and I've gotten so much in return," Sargent says.