Two Photographers: Creating During a Pandemic (Part 2)

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As the pandemic took hold of the world this spring, we paused many of the ways in which we tell stories this spring at New Hampton School. Among the several photographers on campus, we checked in with both a faculty and a staff member who are passionate artists and storytellers. This second part focuses on Kaleb Hart, our Digital Content Manager.

Kaleb is known for his work in our school’s photography and videography. From the Powder Keg hype videos to artfully rendered day-in-the-life pictures around New Hampton, his creations often speak for themselves. He has been a practicing photographer since 2008 when he joined a black and white film photography course in college. Kaleb’s favorite subjects to photograph are people. He shares, “Every single person has a unique look, personality, idiosyncrasies, goals, and desires. That means each person’s story is unique and I love that I can share who someone is with others.”

In contrast to part 1, where we shared Amy Wilson’s wildscapes, Kaleb’s pandemic photography journey focused mostly on his favorite subject: people. In what is now an iconic and historical movement known as Porchraits, photographers around the world captured images of quarantined families outside of their homes—just steps outside of their front doors and relative safety. These images can be found throughout social media and news sites. Read more about his reflections on the Porchraits movement, life during quarantine, and photography below.

porchraits by kaleb hart
The Schwab Family Porchrait, April 2020. Photo credit: Kaleb Hart

Experiencing history through a lens

In terms of the Porchraits, I think it’s cool to be part of it. We don’t usually think about what we’re experiencing in a historical way, but I do. I think about when I see historical photos of something like The Migrant mother photo in 1936 taken by Dorothea Lange, or the D-Day Omaha beach landings during World War II. If those photos were never taken, it would be hard for us to imagine it. The porchrait movement is like that. Forty or fifty years from now, we’ll have this incredible archive of images that captured what it was like to live in the year 2020 through a pandemic. With the porchraits or photos of campus, I hope that the pictures help strengthen whatever sense of community our students have with their teachers, administrators, and classmates.

Photography is one of these artforms that is limitless. I’ve seen some pretty creative works by photographers online who decided to challenge themselves while in quarantine and it goes to show we’re only as limited in what we can imagine. I know that’s pretty cheesy, but it’s true. One if my favorite quotes is by the Jewish photographer Alfred Eisenstaedt, who is famous for his “eyes of hate” image of Nazi Joseph Goebbels. Eisenstaedt said, “When I have a camera in my hand, I know no fear.”

Outside of work on campus, I haven’t been shooting much personally. However, I’ve been taking a lot of photos of my daughter who was born back in February, mostly with my iPhone. To me, it’s not just cute photos of her, myself and my wife, it’s more of a family chronicle.

Porchrait by Kaleb Hart
The Arsenault Family Porchrait, April 2020. Photo credit: Kaleb Hart

About Kaleb Hart

Kaleb Hart is the Digital Content Manager and member of the Communications Office at New Hampton School. He contributes to our community as a videographer, photographer, and content creator for many of our platforms. Kaleb joined the school community in 2016 after having worked at his alma mater, Plymouth State University, for five years also as a photographer and videographer. Whether he’s capturing stories of students, alumni, faculty, or staff, he’s always striving for authenticity. When he’s not running around campus with a camera, Kaleb also works as a freelance photographer and filmmaker. He currently resides in New Hampton with his wife Jacqueline, their daughter Saoirse, and tortie cat, Bailey.

View more of his Porchrait work on Flickr (album one and album two).

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