Penfield-based photographer Renee Veniskey has been photographing local families since late March with a zoom lens from the driveway, front lawn or sidewalk. Her goal is to capture this moment in time as families are gathered together at their homes.
She arranged her photos into an online exhibition, “A Roc Moment: Families at Home,” on Instagram and Facebook.
Her photos capture families huddled together and playing outdoors, as well as a grandma waving to her grandsons as she stands at a distance in their driveway. Veniskey provides backstory commentary on each family and their situation beyond the photo to show audiences they are not alone.
“This all started because I felt restless and helpless,” Veniskey said. “My passion is capturing moments, and this moment in time is also a moment in history. I don’t want it to reflect the sadness or struggles.
“We are home. We are immersed in our family. We are messy, tired, scared and overwhelmed. We are a unit and — though we sometimes have to leave our house for work or other necessities — this is where we are planted.
“Some of these families are working, some are not. Some are retired, some have minimal financial changes and others are struggling; however, all of these families are affected by this pandemic. They are nervous about income, they are alone, they are scared to shop, they are missing their extended family and, yet, they smile through it all.”
To capture the images, Veniseky pulls up to a curb or driveway and takes photos for 10 to 15 minutes — from a distance — before leaving. She asks that friends, family, clients and community members donate to a Rochester-based small business.
“I imagined this ‘American Gothic’ type photo in my head, the realness of what’s going on,” Veniskey said. “Our jammie pants, our uncombed hair, working from home, homeschooling — it’s a lot! I wanted to capture just that. Not the dressed up, posed family, but the messy and amazing family of the moment. I want it to be just another rule that we’ve broken in these times. It’s OK to wear sweatpants all day and it’s OK to look a little disheveled in these photos, because we are all disheveled right now.”
Visit instagram.com/arocmoment or facebook.com/immagineLifeCaptured to view the exhibition.