SUNDRE — Local resident Maila Leoncito is proud to have taken portraits of several people staying at home during the COVID-19 pandemic which will be displayed at the Sundre & District Museum next year.
Late last month, over a couple of weekends, Leoncito took photos of about two dozen families in the community.
“It was originally just a way for me to first, practise my photography. And at the same time, -- because I’m not taking any pictures recently because of the pandemic -- just something for me to do while everybody’s practising social distancing,” Leoncito said.
“And at the same time, it’s also just a small contribution to the community, because I did it for free; I did not charge anybody for the project.”
On Facebook, Leoncito posted an invitation for families to participate in the photo shoots.
“I’m glad that there are some families that replied and responded to it,”” she said.
“It’s just a tiny thing that I did, but well, the families appreciated it and again, it gives me something to do while everybody’s social distancing and just staying at home.”
Jaime Marr, the museum’s executive director, saw Leoncito’s photos and asked her if they could be included in an exhibit she’s creating of how people have been coping during the pandemic.
Plans call for that exhibit to be displayed next March and possibly go on the road as part of an exhibition which will hopefully include displays from other Central Alberta museums.
Marr is impressed by Leoncito’s generosity.
“Now most photographers, if you’re going to use their pictures, you need a copyright or you need to buy the photos. But she’s willing just to donate them to us,” Marr said.
“They are hilarious. And they’re wonderful. They’re uplifting,” she added.
“It’s just a cool way to remember your family and what they were doing during COVID.”
Now all that needs to happen is for those families to fill out forms authorizing the museum to display the photos.
Leoncito is now hoping to undertake another similar project.
“I’m working with the parents of the graduates here in town, to possibly do the same thing for the graduates,” she said.
However, when interviewed, Leoncito had not yet received the go-ahead for that photo shoot.