As Kim Magee approaches homes in Lindsay, Ont., individuals, couples, families and sometimes even pets emerge from their front doors with a bright smile to greet her. Kim is a Front Porch Project photographer, snapping family portraits from a distance in exchange of a donation. The Fleming College graduate has raised $2,775 in the past four weeks for Kawartha Lakes Food Source.
“It’s fun, people loved it! They get to smile and there’s not a worry on their face in that moment. They’re happy and stress-free for a minute amidst it all,” said Kim, who has photographed 48 families, Caressant Care Long Term Care staff, Queen’s Square Pharmacy, South Pond Farms, Action Car and Truck Accessories, and Kawartha Lakes Paramedics, among others.
Kim is one of many photographers participating in the Front Porch Project, where photographers fundraise to help support their communities amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. Kim chose to fundraise for Kawartha Lakes Food Source to help those in need, encouraging financial donations as Kawartha Lakes Food Source can turn every dollar into six dollars worth of food.
She said the experience has been a pleasure for her and has been keeping her busy. In February 2020, all of Kim’s upcoming photography bookings were cancelled due to COVID-19 concerns. When a friend told Kim about the Front Porch Project, she jumped at the opportunity to pick up her camera again and make a difference in her community.
“It felt good to be out there shooting because I hadn’t been in a while, and it’s that connection with people,” Kim shared. “Knowing we’re all in the same boat right now, it just makes you appreciate the little things more. I’m capturing this moment in time, and I’m feeling the love out there because we all need it right now.”
Kim is happy to call Lindsay, Ont. her home after moving from Emo, Ont., near the Minnesota boarder, to take the Fish and Wildlife Technician program at Fleming College’s Frost Campus.
“I grew up watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom, which was like a National Geographic Channel-type show. They’d capture and tag wildlife on the show and my favourite was when they went to Africa,” said Kim, who dreamed of being a wildlife photographer in Africa after learning photography in high school. “I found the Fish and Wildlife program perfect for me, because I like to explore fish and wildlife, and it would help towards my dream of being a National Geographic photographer.”
Kim developed many relationships at Frost Campus, including amazing friendships, getting married and starting a family, which is why she decided to stay in Lindsay after graduating in 1992.
“The friendships I made at Frost Campus, including my friendship with the former manager of the Mary Street Residence, they became my family. They are my family and my son views them as aunts and uncles. I got such a great foundation in Lindsay,” said Kim. “It takes a long time in a new community to set roots and make friends. If I hadn’t had those people around me, I probably wouldn’t have stayed. These people are wonderful and it’s all why I’m still here. Plus, the Lindsay area is also very similar to my hometown. It’s a great place to be!”
After graduating from Fleming College, Kim worked at a mall photo lab and would display her nature photography in the frames to help sell frames. It wasn’t long until shoppers started asking Kim to photograph their weddings, which she denied for a long time (“why would I take pictures of people?” she laughs) until she finally agreed to photograph a wedding for $50. She was hooked and has been in the business for 26 years.
“My Fleming College education has stayed with me my whole life. I know how to work with nature in both my personal life and my career,” said Kim. “And my dream of Africa has never left my head. I’ll save for the big lenses and one day I’ll be photographing big cats in South Africa. That’s the retirement goal!”