As the coronavirus crisis continues to force more nonessential workers into their homes under shelter-in-place orders, many have had to temporarily stop operating their businesses. This has led to a lot of boredom and frustration among small businesses owners, but one photographer has found a clever and delicious way to pass the time while staying safe at home.
Ute-Christin Cowan, a photographer based in Milford, Connecticut, normally stages sweet photo shoots of expectant mothers, newborns, kids and their families.
Since she can no longer interact with those outside of her home, Cowan is now taking adorable photos of food bundled up in blankets.
“We always love to eat out, but these days it is hard for us because my newborn-family business has to be closed due to the executive order, so no money is coming in,” Cowan told TODAY Food. “I wanted to still support our local food businesses because I want them to still be there when this is all over."
So, Cowan decided that she'd support them by doing what she does best: taking pictures.
Cowan started ordering different food items from her favorite local places and decided to dress them up in some of the blankets and decor typically reserved for her intimate newborn shoots.
“I called 13 local places and ordered one of their signature items on the menu,” said Cowan. “Some delivered and some had curbside pickup, so we (Cowan's friend Kylie) split the orders into two and grabbed the items that weren't delivered."
Cowan added that her friend dropped off the food outside of her home.
Cowan then took all of items into her home studio, unwrapped them and lined them up.
“I tried to get fun ideas for each of the items. I knew I wanted the hotdog swaddled up to give 'pigs in a blanket' a new meaning!" she said.
“The chips had to go in a bowl because that is how you typically eat them. The grilled cheese gave me the hardest time, but then I was like the grilled cheese is already awesome on its own, so why mess with that. So I just added a crown."
The other scenes came together as she played around with the various props in her studio.
Cowan said she hopes the images not only make people laugh, but will also get potential customers excited about continuing to support local food businesses in Milford and its surrounding towns.
“It's been such a fun project and, of course, the best part was eating all those things after I took their picture,” said Cowan.
Before the pandemic hit, Cowan said her weekly bookings varied. However, during the week she was forced to close, she had 12 newborn shoots scheduled and an additional 14 "milestone sessions" (maternity shoots, cake smashes, etc.) on the books.
“Right now, we are supposed to be closed through April 22, so I haven't canceled anything after that, but I am sure it is coming," Cowan said. "I am sad to miss out on capturing those special moments for my clients, but hopefully, once this is all over, we can capture new memories, even if the kids are a bit older by then."
Right now, the photographer is not making any money.
“Along with many of my photographer friends, we are hoping to be able to qualify for unemployment money and maybe some grant money provided by the SBA (Small Business Association)," she added. "I am not willing to take out a loan during this time, so for right now I am living off our savings."