NEW ALBANY, Ind. (WDRB) -- Local photographers around the country are taking pictures of families from a safe distance outside their homes during the pandemic to capture this moment in time. One southern Indiana student is using the movement that's sweeping the nation as a way of giving back.

Payton Sparks is supposed to be at school in Bloomington, Indiana. He would have been wrapping up his junior year and applying to medical school. 

Instead, he's back home in southern Indiana, using his passion for photography and asking people to pose during a pandemic.

"One of the families I had here recently had their kids take a roll of toilet paper and just string it out and play with it, and I took pictures while they were doing that," Sparks said. "Just as silly as it seems, I think it's a cool idea to take pictures and remember something as silly as a toilet paper roll had such an impact on so many people."

It's part of a nationwide movement called the "Front Porch Project." Photographers are sharing their talents while capturing memories to look back on while practicing social distancing. 

"The last time I checked, I think I've had like 40 families that signed up," Sparks said. "I'm a little over halfway done with all the pictures."

For Sparks, it was a way to stay busy while home from school while also raising money for a cause close to his heart.

"It stands for medicine, education and development for low income families everywhere," Sparks said, "and so our main mission is to help under served areas in South America." 

The IU chapter of Medlife usually survives on fundraisers but can't due to the COVID-19 outbreak. So, Sparks got out his camera and got to work. 

"All the pictures are given for free, and there is no charge, and all donations go to Medlife COVID-19 Relief Fund," he said.

The Reynolds family has been cooped up for weeks, so they stepped out into their backyard for a photo shoot.

"Something to do right now and an easy way to get money out and donate to the cause," Mollie Reynolds said. "It's living history being documented with pictures, and when you've got children this size, you try to get as many as you can because they grow so fast."

It's a chance to help where the family can. "We've been very fortunate," Reynolds said, "and that's another reason we wanted to do this is hopefully to donate to somebody that's not as fortunate." 

Sparks hopes to raise $2,000. He's squeezing in front porch sessions between online classes and studying for MCAT, but he doesn't plan on stopping until he goes back to school. 

"I don't really have a limit," he said. "I just want to be able to reach as many people as possible."

Sparks is still accepting appointments. Apply on his Facebook page

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