COLUMBUS (WCMH) – Picture this: your job is to capture people’s most personal moments, and then you’re told you can’t be around people.
In March 2020, Megan Leigh Bernard thought she wouldn’t be able to survive without other people’s best moments.
Bernard held a recent family portrait shoot in Schiller Park with the Ahern family.
“It was hard to stay grounded in the moment when the moment felt so scary,” she said.
Her portrait business had to go dark, but maybe there was a different view Bernard could take.
“Some people just had a window,” she said. “Some people had a backyard. Some people just had a doorway.”
She found that new view from a distance, and found not only financial survival, but mental survival as well.
One shoot involved a family with their special pet.
“This sweet pup is blind,” Bernard said, showing off one of her favorite pandemic portraits. “And so happy! Just, there is just so much joy inside this home.”
Another involved some of those on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“This moment, ahhh,” Bernard sighed, looking at a portrait of a husband kissing his wife on the shoulder as they sat on their front porch. “So special! Two frontline workers going through an extremely hard week.”
Back at Schiller Park, Bernard urged the Ahern baby Edward, not yet one year old, to look at her camera.
Sarah Ahern remembered getting the pandemic photographs from Bernard just before Edward was born.
“I’m not a big crier, but I was, you know, I was, to a certain extent, overcome,” Sarah Ahern said.
And the shoot at Schiller Park comes one day to the year that the Aherns met Bernard.
“I feel more resilant,” Bernard said. “I feel stronger. I feel more capable.”
Today, she is more certain than ever about what she was meant to do.
“Laughter, smiles, love, happiness, and realizing I could find all of that, even in a pandemic, was bout the most beautiful human thing I could find,” Bernard said.
Examples of Bernard’s work can be found on her Instagram account.