What a week it’s been, right? Headline after headline of almost unbelievable news stories, a sudden disconnect from our regular social activities, families home together trying to navigate work and school in a whole new way–it can all feel more than a little overwhelming and isolating. But what if we stop a minute and think about how everyone is in exactly the same boat as we navigate these new waters. We’re in this together, even if we’re experiencing it apart. As a photographer, my job is to connect with people, to come into their homes and share in the beauty of their everyday lives and right now I just can’t do that.

Finding Cara Soulia’s amazing #thefrontstepsproject on Instagram just as I was feeling the weight of this reality hit me was serendipitous. And her call for photographers to start a version of this project in their own communities found me at exactly the right moment. Because I know that those wonderful stories of love and life that I find such joy helping families tell are still going on inside homes all across Madison.

So, here’s the idea: we’re all socially distanced, but really we’re all more connected than ever. Let’s do something to celebrate that deeper togetherness while also benefiting those in our communities who need help in this unprecedented moment. Starting Monday March 23 I’ll be offering 5 minute front steps photo sessions for families in the Madison area. After your very quick session, I’ll email you a digital copy of your family photo. In exchange, I am asking you to make a good faith donation to the Dane County COVID-19 Emergency and Recovery Fund through this GoFundMe Campaign.

I’ll be sharing all of the photos I take for this project on Instagram and Facebook using the hashtag #thefrontstepsproject. Please share the posts and let’s spread the word about this amazing nation-wide project. And let’s all send a cosmic shout-out to Cara Soulia of for this brilliant idea!

My goal in joining this project is to make us all feel a little closer together at a time when we all feel isolated and alone, while at the same time helping those in our community who need assistance in this very difficult time. We won’t be seeing our neighbors at school pick-up, the gym, the office or in bars and restaurants, but we can see them here. And maybe that will help us all feel a little better, a little less alone or a little less frightened.

Thank you SO much to all the families who took part in #thefrontstepsproject in Madison! I am no longer accepting requests for photos, but thank you for your interest!

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Catherine Hilcove Photography: Family Photography, Madison WI