When the pandemic hit with associated lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, business and school closures, photographer Lynn Osborn started taking pictures of some neighbors on their front porches as a way to both document this period of time and capture some of the variety of architectural styles and family groupings in the Mad River Valley. She kept the project going through the changing seasons and phases of COVID-19, as children were home schooled, parents worked remotely, and older children returned home from their closed-down colleges or job layoffs.
Some extended families sheltered in place, as one person said, “It was like the family came for Thanksgiving and stayed two months.” Others found themselves living alone and isolated. Throughout The Valley, individuals and groups sprung up to help others out, from making masks and sanitizers, to meals and meal delivery, Osborn recalled.
Some of those photos are currently on display at the Mad River Valley Chamber of Commerce on Bridge Street in Waitsfield and there are some on display near Mehuron’s in the Village Square Shopping Center.
“The hardest group to document were the farmers, who had no choice but to keep working seven days a week with little time during daylight hours to pose on a front porch! I was immensely honored to meet so many people: from recent flatlanders to those whose families have lived in The Valley for many generations,” Osborn said.
“And, of course, the Mad River Valley is famous for its creative culture, resulting in a wonderful variety of porch styles and entrepreneurial people. I plan to change these pictures throughout the summer to represent most of the 120 portraits that I made,” she added.