Front Porch Project: Photographer looks to add joy, hope to local families

By Eileen Persike

Editor, Northwoods Star Journal

RHINELANDER – It is easy to capture joy and spontaneous happiness in a photograph at a wedding or birthday party. A Rhinelander photographer, however, is reaching out – at a safe distance – to Northwoods families to provide a moment of laughter and positive energy in the face of more trying times.

Temel Yasar, owner of Soft Light Photography, said he knows what isolation feels like, having worked from his home for the last five years. He was looking for a way to alleviate that feeling among community members.

“A week ago I saw this project started by Cara Soulia Photography in Boston,” he explained. “I thought that it would be a great idea to remind people they are not alone in this but together.”

Yasar is donating his time to photograph area families on their front porch steps, because he said he believes seeing a family picture on their front porch increases morale.

There is a second part to this project. In exchange for the photograph, Yasar asks that a donation be made to Northwoods Alliance for Temporary Housing or another non-profit organization that helps people in need. “I don’t collect any donation myself,” he said. “I leave it to good faith.”

Angela Buttice of Rhinelander jumped at the opportunity to get a photo of her family.

“I really like that he was doing the pictures at a time like now, where people are rushing to buy things and not thinking of kindness for others,” she said, adding that Yasar is showing kindness from the curbside, which is an “awesome” idea and by making it a fundraising venture – it’s even better.

Rachael Budzynski, her children and the family dog had theirpicture taken outside their home in Tomahawk.

There is no such thing as a donation that is too little, Yasar said.

“Some participants sew face-masks and donate them to nurses, some participants cook food for the elderly, some prepare lunch for kids, some donate to their church or food pantry,” he said. “This project is to support people in need.”

As long as people are willing to participate, Yasar will continue taking pictures, and following guidelines and restrictions given by health and government officials.

“I am hoping to create a stronger community by supporting the most vulnerable people at the moment,” Yasar explained. “A little joy and hope this movement spreads is what we need as humans.”

The best way to reach Yasar for an appointment is via message on his Facebook page, Soft Light Photography.

“Years from now,” he concluded, “these pictures will be a valuable documentation of how strong we stand in these difficult times.”

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