The Front Steps Project has come to the Northland.

The movement was started in Needham, Massachusetts in March as a way to raise money for a local organization during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to its website. Professional photographers volunteered their time to conduct five-minute portrait sessions with people in front of their homes. In exchange for the photo shoot, residents donated to the local organization.

Mark Cline, a photographer based in Cloquet, said he decided to jump on board to support United Way organizations throughout the region.

“I wondered what I could do to help people out,” Cline said.

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Carlton County Commissioner Tom Proulx poses outside of his Cloquet home for The Front Steps Project. Photographer Mark Cline volunteers to take portraits of people in front of their homes to raise money for United Way chapters in Carlton County, Duluth and Superior. (Photo courtesy of Mark Cline)
Carlton County Commissioner Tom Proulx poses outside of his Cloquet home for The Front Steps Project. Photographer Mark Cline volunteers to take portraits of people in front of their homes to raise money for United Way chapters in Carlton County, Duluth and Superior. (Photo courtesy of Mark Cline)

The photos are also a good way to document how people are sheltering at home during the pandemic, he said.

After an interested person contacts him, Cline sets up a time to take their photographs. He uses a zoom lens so he can stay at least 10 feet away from the family as he shoots the photos.

Then he emails a few high resolution images to the person. Once they receive the images, people donate $20 or what they can to their local United Way, either directly through the United Way or through Cline's Facebook page, facebook.com/ClinePhoto.

Cline said he will travel anywhere in Carlton County, Duluth or Superior, Wisconsin to shoot portraits for the project.

Anyone interested in being photographed as part of Cline's effort should email him at mark@clinephoto.com.