Photographer's mission to raise money for charity by taking "porchtraits"
Neil Baxter has been a man on a mission the past few weeks.
For the photographer from Bury St Edmunds has been taking time out snapping iconic images of people and their families adjusting to the Covid-19 restriction with the clients donating money to charity.
And over the past few months the 43-year-old, who runs his business, Wedding Photographs by Neil Baxter, has raised a total of £1,220 for the My WiSH Charity, which supports the work of the West Suffolk Hospital, with the money directed towards the Help Your NHS Hospital Appeal, set up during the pandemic.
He has been visiting people mainly from in and around the town and including places in Stowupland, Rattlesden and Brandon and as far afield as Norwich, taking doorstep portraits and he particularly enjoyed visiting those families which got creative depicting their life during the pandemic.
Neil photographed one family where the daughter had embraced home baking, the son had barely got off his games console and the mum had enjoyed the odd tipple.
His first shoot was of a couple celebrating their seventh wedding anniversary – who he also photographed on their wedding day.
“I’ve loved taking pictures of those who want to tell their lockdown story, where they have taken a bad situation and embraced it,” said Neil. “I’ve had requests from all over for me to come and take doorstep pictures, even as far afield as Norwich.”
Neil asked for donations per shoot from clients with all proceeds going to My WiSH.
He said: “Once isolation kicked in it meant I was months staying in the house doing nothing and when people started doing the ‘Clap for Carers’ I saw a few other people raising money for the NHS and felt I wanted to do the something.
“I had seen a few other photographers taking pictures on people’s doorsteps and in years to come it could be a keepsake for them to help them tell their story of the pandemic. I thought that I could offer this doorstep scheme and people could donate whatever they think it’s worth.
“I must have done between 100 and 200 houses during that time. It’s something to say thank you to the NHS and every penny that they get helps, especially when there’s a global crisis going on. And it has got me out of the house.”
Neil, who lives on the Mildenhall estate, added: “It’s nice that I have had a bit of a break but it has been very frustrating for the brides and grooms but it’s been lovely to be able to put that time to good use. I wanted to tell people’s stories and most people were happy to see me on their doorsteps. But I can’t wait to get back into my proper job again next year.”
Sue Smith, head of fundraising, said “Neil has taken some amazing photos which have really captured family life during lock down. We can’t thank him, and all his models, enough for their support.”
Written by Russell Cook