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'To see the reflection of the outside world': Photographer captures images of social-distancing families through their windows

Photographer Michael Schmitt missed the creative outlet of his job and interacting with clients, so he found a way to connect and create from a distance.

PORTLAND, Ore. — As people observe social-distancing mandates, many look for ways to spend their time, keep their skills sharp and connect with others. Portland photographer Michael Schmitt found a creative way to do all three. It happened when he was doing yard work and noticed his son inside the house through a window.

“I really loved the light that was hitting him, being able to see the reflection of the outside world,” said Schmitt. He also appreciated the symbolism in that moment. 

“Just all the reflections of the outside and people are stuck on the inside.”

Schmitt reached out to his friends and neighbors and asked if he could photograph them through their windows.

“It resonated with them and I realized this is something more than just fun, cool photographs.”

Over the last several weeks, Schmitt has photographed about ten families including kids, adults, pets and a young lady celebrating her 18th birthday.

“It's moments like that that make it seem special,” he said.

Schmitt hoped others would try capturing their own reflective photos. To do it, he suggested looking for spots of sunlight that hit your window and reflect the outside. The darker spots reveal the subject matter inside.

“I think it's great if other people document this time,” he said.

Schmitt posted several reflection photos on his Instagram page and invited others to do the same using the hashtag #InsideOutPDX.

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