Milford photography group stays connected via Facebook

The Milford Community Lens Facebook group gives photographers, from amateurs to professionals, a daily topic to shoot and post their photos to connect with other photographers. (Courtesy of Milford Community Lens/John Eustis)

MILFORD — The Milford Community Lens project was started two years ago and met once a month as a way for local photographers to connect with one another.

The group has not slowed down during quarantine. In fact, its members are more active than ever.

Milford Community Lens has shifted to a Facebook group while the state is social distancing due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Its two administrators, founder John Mollura and his friend Jenn Rowan, post a daily topic then photographers from amateurs to professionals respond with photos in line with the topic.

“It began with the intent of giving people an assignment and let’s get creative with it,” Mr. Mollura said. “It gives some people some motivation to get outside. It’s been really neat to see how much engagement there has been and people establishing connections.”

The Milford Community Lens Facebook group gives photographers, from amateurs to professionals, a daily topic to shoot and post their photos to connect with other photographers. (Courtesy of Milford Community Lens/Robert Neary)

The group isn’t limited to photographers from Milford.

It has seen posts from not only the rest of Delaware but other states plus some foreign countries. The group has grown to more than 200 members during quarantine and has received close to 10,000 total engagements.

“It’s a way for Milford and the entire state to connect with each other,” Ms. Rowan said. “It gives people a chance to have a cognitive and emotional prompt every day and allows them to be active and engaging with other people.”

“We’ve really built a sense of fellowship in the group,” Mr. Mollura said. “A lot of times when you’re working in the arts, especially photography, you can feel lonely. This helps bring people together with a common interest.”

Topics have ranged from water, things that comfort, to things in the refrigerator.

The group has been going through weekly themes currently. Last week was a different color of the rainbow each day and this current week is a song lyric to correspond to each day of the week.

Ms. Rowan, the co-owner/founder of Lifecycle in Milford, said she’s noticed it is a great daily activity to do with children who are home from school during quarantining.

“There is a life-skill component to it,” Ms. Rowan said. “First you get the reading done. Then you go out and do something artistic. Then you write about it. It ends up being like a nice home-school class.”

“It’s simple enough for a child to do but also challenging for a highly skilled photographer,” she added. “It’s been really neat for everyone, we give and get helpful tips to each other but the most meaningful part is the connection you make with other people.”

Mr. Mollura, who owns his own photography studio in Milford, John Mollura Photography, said anyone is welcome in the Milford Community Lens project no matter their skill level or where they live.

“It doesn’t matter if you’re shooting with a $10,000 Nikon or an iPhone 4S,” Mr. Mollura said. “It’s open to anyone all over the world.”

“It was important to keep the name with Milford in the title,” he added. “Milford is a very inclusive town and we wanted to make sure the name Milford sticks in their mind.”

Mr. Mollura said when he first started the group he had anywhere from eight to 20 people come to the monthly meeting. They would walk around Milford to take photos then head back to the studio to share what they shot.

The Facebook group has helped take the project to another level.

“It’s really cool because people might take pictures of the exact same item but the photos would come out totally different,” Mr. Mollura said. “That was my intention. It shows everyone has a different point of view on something.”

Helpful Coronavirus links

Delaware Division of Health Coronavirus Page
CDC: About the Coronavirus Disease 2019
CDC: What to do if You Are Sick
Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center
AP News Coronavirus Coverage
Reopening Delaware: Resources for Businesses
Delaware Phase 2 guidance

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