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Through the Front Steps Project, Senad Tiric of Tacoma is snapping and sharing photos of folks in front of their homes, with goals of connecting them - and raising money for charity. (Photo: Sky Orca Photography)

Apart Together: Connecting Tacoma Neighbors Through Photography

Senad Tiric is a photographer whose company, Sky Orca Photography, usually specializes in portraits and aerial drone photography. But with the current health crisis, Tiric wanted to bring his neighbors together, even though they might feel isolated. He is snapping and sharing photos of folks in front of their homes, with goals of connecting them and raising money for charity.

Seattle Refined: So Senad, you’ve been out there in your N.E. Tacoma neighborhood taking gorgeous pictures of your neighbors and posting them. Tell us about that.
Senad Tiric: One of my friends posted a project on her Facebook page called Front Steps Project that originated in the Boston area. It was a couple of photographers that wanted to make a difference and bring some smiles to the neighborhood - and get out and take some photos of families in front of their homes. I figured I could bring the same to my neighborhood in northeast Tacoma and Brown's Point.

When you decided to do this project, you posted it on Facebook - what was the response?
Response was really overwhelmingly positive. People were enjoying it, and sharing it. I’m going for about 200 households.

Can you describe the photographs?
People are looking for ways to try and stay positive through all this, and everybody’s been so super nice. They’re smiling, they’re ready to go. Some are dressed up, some are casual, some are wearing a funny costume, some are wearing their masks.

How are you following the safety guidelines right now?
I have my handy-dandy 200 millimeter lens, so I stay back from the end of their driveway. I make sure they set up, get my click, zoom and click - and we make sure we are all staying away at least 10-15 feet.

Why this is so meaningful to you?
I was originally born in the former Yugoslavia, little country in Bosnia, Sarajevo Bosnia. We kind of went through our civil war in the 90s and it was an awful experience. I remember, even though the war lasted four years. One thing that stood out with a lot of terrible things happening, people still had to keep their minds positive, still trying to keep the smiles, trying to entertain, trying to do funny sketches even with all the horrible things. So I remember that positive thoughts are always important at that time of struggle.

This is kind of a positive way to remember the good things that came out of this during this time.
People have been commenting - 'Oh this is such a wonderful idea and we can’t wait to look back on this and even though it was a lot of - there was a lot of bad things happening around us, but this is gonna remind us that we’re still united as a family, as a neighborhood'.

What do you love about taking these photos?
I love taking pictures, and also love to see smiling faces love to bring positivity and at the same time, making a difference. This is a ‘no charge’ project and each family they can, they’re making a donation to either United Way of Pierce County or their favorite charity.

I’m gonna put you on the spot, do you have a few favorites? I know you’ve taken around 200 so far, but are there a few that really stick out for you?
Being that I’m silly and goofy myself I always love the ones where people are being funny, being silly - costumes - just trying to be out there, be themselves. The casual ones where people are just barefoot or people are dressed up cause its making a difference in their day, those are also awesome. It’s tough to choose a favorite one.

How about your own family?
We had to bribe our kids cause they are tired of daddy taking photos all the time!

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