KITCHENER -- A freelance photographer living in Guelph has made it her mission to bring happiness to people living in self-isolation.

Chantel David-Kieley started the Guelph Front Steps Project on Tuesday, offering free, five-minute portrait sessions for Guelph residents from a safe distance.

"You can step outside, where I’ll be standing near your driveway or street, at least 10 feet away. I’ll take a couple quick shots and leave. I physically interact with no one, and touch nothing, during these sessions," a Facebook post explains.

"I *do* smile and laugh with you, however, and don’t we all need a little bit of that right now?"

Two people pose for a portrait through a window

All she asks is that people donate to a local charity if they're able to. On her Facebook page, she lists a number of Guelph charities for people to consider.

"We need to see the light in the darkness at a time like this," said David-Kieley. "Give them that moment to step out of their house and know that there are other people who are going through the same thing as them."

Since she launched the project, David-Kieley says she has received over 300 responses.

"We're very lucky," said participant Shelley Hilliker. "So we immediately chose three different charities."

She says she was inspired by another photographer in her hometown in Nova Scotia.

Other Canadian photographers have joined in on the idea, including one in Edmonton.

The purpose of the project is to bring together anyone who is feeling secluded while in self-isolation.

"It gives us all an opportunity to bond in a new kind of way," said participant Arthur Hilliker. "It's really important that even in strife there's value in community."

A bright side of a dark time is introducing a new series of uplifting stories as the world grapples with the COVID-19 pandemic.

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