Photographing people on their porches and front doorsteps has proven a controversial topic, raising money for charity and keeping families entertained while creating questions about whether such practices qualify as “essential.” By contrast, one photographer undertook a different doorstep photoshoot that feels much more viable as a lockdown-inspired project.
Instead of traveling local streets in order to photograph her neighbors on their doorsteps, photographer Becky Morris Knight’s work from 2018 is a similar project, but with a crucial difference: she photographed the couriers and food delivery agents who knocked at her door.
Entitled “Deliverwho: Threshold Anxiety” — a pun on the food delivery firm Deliveroo — the project sought to recognize and give a sense of identity to the often invisible people who bring us our stuff, and who are now working hard to make our lives slightly more bearable during the lockdown. Morris Knight kept her camera by her front door and asked permission of food delivery people and couriers who frequently visited. She offered no direction, and with most couriers earning per delivery, few were keen to spend more than a moment posing for photographs.
Having gained a Master’s degree in Sociology at Goldsmiths, University of London, Morris Knight has an awareness of the power dynamics and inequalities within society that can be observed even more acutely during this period of crisis. For anyone seeking inspiration, choosing a delivery person project instead of porch portraits would be an opportunity to recognize the anonymous delivery people and acknowledge their fleeting, quickly-forgotten visits. It might offer a reminder that while we remain relatively safe in our homes, there are people — often working at a very low rate of pay — who are propping up at least some sections of our economies and also making our lives a little bit easier.
Given the controversy over porch portrait sessions — to the point that the Professional Photographers of Canada asked people to stop — is this something that you would try? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
All images used with the permission of Morris Knight.