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The New Type of Portrait to Emerge During COVID-19 | Rangefinder

As many photographers we’ve covered during the last several weeks continue to stay creative while homebound, New Jersey-based lifestyle photographer Sue Barr feels grateful as stock assignment requests for images that brands can use immediately to illustrate the COVID-19 pandemic continue to come in. “It’s been a couple of insane weeks trying to keep up with requests,” she says. Still, she felt something was missing.

Photo © Sue Barr

“Clients are asking for ‘happy family inspirational interior’ shots. Families together playing games, baking, working out and cuddling together (not a far reach to what I already do) or singular people outside gloomily walking through empty streets. Even more depressing, the request for medical staff smiling.”

Barr says she hasn’t been that inspired by these requests, but “being the consummate creative professional, I have tried to figure out how to pay my bills, create art and get through this bizarre moment in time as I believe the other side is filled with genuine appreciation, respect and real social change.”

Then, while editing her work one night, she had “a moment” and decided to create a series on window portraits, photographing her neighbors and other people in her town of Red Bank.

“The response was overwhelmingly positive and people started emailing me saying how much they loved the series (subjects were posting on Facebook and instagram) and asked if I wanted to photograph them.”

Barr’s original plan was to charge $99 for the shoot since all of her assignments, events and portraits were canceled for March, April, May and possibly June, but that wasn’t really something she felt comfortable with. Instead, she and a neighbor decided to use all the traffic she was getting on social media to raise money for their local library. “The library doesn’t get any federal or state funding and has been hosting a ton of children’s activities and storybook time online during this crisis.” In less than 24 hours she raised close to $600 and continues taking photographs (like the ones shown here) for the series.

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