Local photographer takes porch portraits as charity fundraiser

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SAN DIEGO โ€“ They say laughter is the best medicine. Medically speaking, that may not be true, but Cristina Schaffer hopes she at least can get you to smile.

The coronavirus pandemic has impacted millions of families across the country, forcing many indoors for much of the past three months. Using her camera and some 17 years of photography experience, Schaffer hopes to draw some of those families back outdoors, if only to their front doorsteps.

“Some families are really getting into it,” she said. “They have props; they drink wine; they make signs.”

When the pandemic broke out nationally earlier this year, Schaffer turned on the news and saw lines of cars waiting for food distributed by Feeding San Diego. That left her wondering what she could do to help.

She’s since put her photography talents to works in hopes of making a difference. Recently, she’s been scheduling appointments and going from house to house, taking family portraits on front porches.

โ€œIโ€™ve met some really great people,โ€ Schaffer said.

โ€œIโ€™m not really a portrait-type person, but when they sent it to me it struck me,โ€ Pacific Beach resident Debbie Malcarnie said, adding her brother had a photo taken by Schaffer and it made her want one, too.

โ€œIt really captures the moment, this coronavirus time,โ€ she said. โ€œI found it really moving.โ€

Malcarnie said she’s spent the past three months overcoming cancer. One of the toughest moments of her life and in some ways, she had to fight it alone due to social distancing guidelines.

When Schaffer stopped by, Malcarnie shared the news. The two then celebrated.

“She said, ‘I want more than just this photo of you from your balcony, I want you to come down here, put your hands on your hips, and do a Stand Up To Cancer pose,’โ€ Malcarnie said. “And I just chuckled when I saw it.”

To schedule a porch portrait with Schaffer, contact cristinaschafferphotography.com.

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