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Pleasanton couple captures photos of what life is like for families during pandemic

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PLEASANTON, Calif. (KRON) – “It’s been more than just a portrait on the front porch for us. It’s been sort of a documentation of people at their homes when they can’t do anything or go anywhere,” Ann and Bill Stekelberg said. 

Looking for a way to make an impact, a Pleasanton couple is photographing families in the Tri-Valley area who are sheltering in place, getting a glimpse of what life is like for parents and children during the coronavirus pandemic.

The pictures may be free, but they’re powerful.

“I think they’ll remember the good as much as they’ll remember the bad, this goes on the top of our list as fun things we’ve done together,” Ann and Bill said. 

Eight weeks ago, Ann and Bill Stekelberg, a Pleasanton couple in their seventies decided to start photographing families in the Tri-Valley area, as a way to give back, make an impact, and help their community at a time when they were told to stay inside.

From a far distance, using a Zoom lense, Bill is documenting life at home for families during the coronavirus pandemic — the stress, the school work, the hand sanitizer, toilet paper, the heroes on the front lines and their messages to their neighbors.

“I hope people years from now look at these pictures and remember there were some good times as well as the difficult times, challenging,” they said. 

So far, the Stekelberg’s have photographed more than 160 families, some celebrating birthdays, graduations, Mother’s Day, newborn babies and new four-legged family members.

They do this for free and are most interested in photos of health care workers and first responders.

“We’ve seen them with their families, they’ll get home and they’ll have their scrubs on its really heartwarming very emotional,” the Stekelberg’s said. 

People like Christina Valle-Smith who is a nurse and her husband who is in law enforcement.

“When she asked us what my husband and i do she goes that’s exactly what we want it’s your families we want to cater to and they were just the sweetest couple,” Valle-Smith said. 

“We’ve gotten a lot from this that we had no idea was going to happen I mean here we were isolated this is the time when we need to be near family and our family is all over the country so we had a void that really got filled from this project it’s been incredible,” Ann and Bill said.

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