Hope, not fear.

When I open up my newsfeed and read what's happening in the world, I ask myself, "Is this really happening?". It doesn't seem real sometimes. I've pinched myself to be sure. So many things being shared and spread - a lot of it, fear. It's overwhelming. Since closing up the studio March 16th, I've been asking myself what I can do to help contribute to my community and to my city. I see so many amazing business owners doing their part and stepping up to help people in their own way.

As a photographer, I usually spend time through the week capturing images of families, moms, babies who've just arrived, children and so much more. I capture people's moments - And although we are all experiencing struggles, fear, worry, loneliness - those moments of joy and happiness are still happening in your home right now. Unfortunately, I can’t be there to capture it the way I normally would. I'm so happy Barrie residents are doing their part to keep each other safe. 

To help keep hope alive, I have decided that I am going to start The Front Steps Project for Barrie. This project began in Boston, Massachusetts by an amazing photographer named Cara Soulia and she encourages other photographers in other cities to use her idea.

Starting today I am taking 1-2 hours each day to run around town and snap some super quick images of Barrie families on their front steps. It will take no more than 5 minutes. You will know when I am coming. I will text you. You can step outside, where I’ll be standing near your driveway or street, at least 10 feet away. I’ll take a couple quick shots and leave. I physically interact with no one, and touch nothing, during these sessions. However, I will smile and laugh with you. After your quick session, within a day or so, I will post your digital files of your family portrait here: http://shannonavila.pixieset.com/frontstepsproject

In exchange, I am asking that you make a donation that will be going toward the BARRIE FOOD BANK, local struggling businesses and families. The Barrie Food Bank does such great work to help local families in need and right now there are families in need!! *As of May 1st we have donated $2000 to Barrie Food Bank and $650 to very small local businesses who have struggled to pay bills or put food on the table for their family.

I will be posting these images on Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #thefrontstepsprojectbarrie #thefrontstepsproject #supportbarriefoodbank. Please share these posts. Let’s spread the word!

The purpose of this project is to bring our community together at a time when we might be feeling isolated or lonely and to document this time at home with your family. For many, this is the first time that they are all together with the time to enjoy one another. I also want to highlight the faces of our community and neighbours and show that we really are all in this together from our own homes.

To be clear: I will be taking images outside ONLY and from at least 10 feet away. Our session will be brief. This is not a typical get-dressed-up-and-pose-for-the-photographer session. Come as you are or as you'd like. Pajamas & slippers welcome! Kids in mismatched clothes but you’re thrilled they got dressed? Fantastic. Wearing your bike gear because you’re headed off to ride a trail in the nice weather? Love it!  Be you, Barrie! 

How can you donate? You can donate via EMT to shannonavila@outlook.com. These sessions are a limited time offer. Donations will be sent to Barrie Food Bank every second Friday.

Fill out the form below to participate.

Love and Blessings to all,


*Update: May 5*

I am so grateful for all the love and support. Our community is amazing. In just 6 weeks we have raised close to $3000 for the Barrie Food Bank ($2000) and very small businesses and families who have needed some help!! I have been completely overwhelmed with all the requests and I am very slowly getting through them.

As of MAY 18th, I will no longer be offering Front Steps Project photos. As Ontario opens up for business, I would like to take some time with my family as well as preparing for my studios re opening. I have been so blessed to photograph over 100 families to date. If you have put in a request already - Not to worry, I will still come snap your photo. If you missed this amazing project, I implore you to still send donations to the Barrie Food Bank or food bank of your choice.

THANK YOU SO MUCH!! God bless each one of you.

Thank you to all those who contributed to this project and supported the small local businesses and the Barrie Food Bank!