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Families of Donabate pose on the doorstep

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Maria (Rusk) and Darren Regan, with Robyn, Alex and Patrick

Maria (Rusk) and Darren Regan, with Robyn, Alex and Patrick

Lorraine Clifford-Lee and husband John anc children, Kitty and Teddy. (pics by Maria Rusk)

Lorraine Clifford-Lee and husband John anc children, Kitty and Teddy. (pics by Maria Rusk)

Dee Kane, Antonio Prugnoli and Aoife Prugnoli

Dee Kane, Antonio Prugnoli and Aoife Prugnoli

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Maria (Rusk) and Darren Regan, with Robyn, Alex and Patrick

With many shying away from cameras due to the closure of hairdressers and beauty salons, a Donabate photographer has managed to get families of the town to brave the lens during lockdown for a fantastic charitable cause.

Photographer Maria Rusk took her camera around the doorsteps of Donabate for her 'Doorstep Portraits for Pieta' project on Saturday May 9, documenting house-bound families at their homes in aid of suicide and self-harm prevention charity, Pieta House.

The project, held on the traditional date of the 'Darkness Into Light' event, was inspired by the worldwide #thefrontstepsproject, and saw Donabate residents pose for Maria at their front doors, 'Covid hair' and all.

Maria explains: 'First and foremost, the project was to document these extraordinary times, so really to document that and at the same time raising funds for Pieta House.

'It's an idea that I had for quite a while, and it's something that they're doing across the globe.

'I saw it originally somewhere in the States, and I thought it was a good idea.'

She says: 'I just thought with the 'Darkness Into Light' appeal coming up that it was now or never because I wanted to do it, so I decided to do a one day photo marathon, if you want to call it that of taking portraits, and I didn't expect so much interest in it.

'It was really positive experience, it was a great buzz going around and meeting all the neighbours, getting all their back stories and finding out how people were getting on being house-bound during lockdown.

'It was just really interesting, and the feedback from everybody was so positive.

'So it was a great thing to do, to just document the time that we're in.'

Maria is quick to point out that strict social distancing was adhered to at all times, and that she stuck firmly to her 5km limit.

She did, however, manage to capture families all around Donabate, hearing their own stories of life during lockdown.

Maria, who runs Maria Rusk Photography, set up an Idonate page for her project, and has raised over €1300 for Pieta House, which has been forced to cancel its main annual fundraiser 'Darkness Into Light' this year due to the coronavirus.

At the moment, she says, she is busy looking after her own two children while work remains largely on hold, and documenting family life during this unique moment in history. Her project is a visual record of the times.

Fingal Independent