May 14, 2020 in

Weekly Dose of Community with Christine Hochkeppel

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And we're back with our final dose of community!

Through spotlighting the many creative ways Cape Codders have adapted to the new normal of a global pandemic, we have been reminded of what the word 'community' truly means. In many ways, community is togetherness. Today, togetherness looks a lot different than it did before. But by sharing our stories, lending a helping hand, staying home in solidarity with your neighbors, our community is learning that togetherness doesn't always need to happen face-to-face. By thinking and acting with your neighbors in mind, we are redefining what community means and only strengthening the connections we have to one another.

In our final installment of our Daily Dose of Community series, we're spotlighting the incredible creativeness of Christine Hochkeppel of Salty Broad Studios and her new photojournalism project, Together Apart.

Have you missed our previous posts? Read more about the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, Fox + Crow Cafe, Cape Cod Commercial Fishermen's Alliance, Power Yoga of Cape Cod, and WE CAN.

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Can you share a basic overview of this project you’ve set up in the wake of the COVID-19 public health crisis?

Together Apart is my way of pivoting, not panicking. My business, Salty Broad Studios, would normally be busy photographing events like CCYP’s Shape Your Cape Summit or weddings and graduations but since the Governor’s stay-at-home advisory and shutdown of nonessential business, all of the work I had scheduled from mid-March through July has been canceled. My career background is in journalism so, instinctively, I felt the urge to cover the crisis as a news photographer. I recognize the intrinsically historic time we are living in and my most natural reaction was to create a record. I started by photographing small kind gestures that I discovered through word of mouth and eventually I started getting invited to photograph larger mobilized efforts like the Mass Military Support Foundation’s Food4Vets project and Faith Family Kitchen at Faith Assembly of God. Now I am expanding my coverage to show the full range of emotion as we navigate the uncertainty of this crisis. We’re living with loss whether it’s mourning a loved one, suddenly becoming unemployed or simply feeling lonely in isolation so I’m doing my best to show to the polarities of the human experience in a compassionate manner. One of the most poignant themes I have identified through this time is that while socially distancing, many people feel compelled to help others and find a way to connect with others.

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What was your goal when initiating this project?

It’s my goal to show how our community is contending with the various highs and lows that accompany any crisis. I want to capture pictures that express triumphs, struggles and even the mundane. My big reach is that I’m hoping to photograph a family who has decided to have a home birth because of the COVID-19 risk and also to capture how we are grieving without being able to gathering in groups. I know these are intimate, private moments. It’s a big ask but I’m hoping I’ll find the right family or individual who feels as strongly about sharing their story as I do. I have invited the public to make suggestions through this google form:

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What sort of response are you seeing? How has the community responded?

The response to the project has been largely positive. I’m honored to have received grants from the Arts Foundation of Cape Cod and the National Press Photographers Association. I have also received kind words from members our community and town councilors. I think most people acknowledge that we are living through an unprecedented time and that it is critical to create a record for the sake of posterity.

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