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Front Step Project: Kelly & Evan

Welcome to another Columbia Heights Front Step Project brought to you by MarKei Photo & Video. I began this initiative to facilitate connecting the humans in my city, to celebrate our diversity, and share our challenges during this pandemic and beyond. If you’re enjoying this series, please share. To support my photography, like & follow MarKei (on FB, IG, Twitter, &/or YouTube). To be notified of new posts, subscribe at markeiphoto.com. We are still offering socially distant photography in MN, so feel free to reach out!


Welcome Kelly and Evan!


Kelly and Evan have owned their home in Columbia Heights for 3 years. Before living in Columbia Heights, they were in St. Paul.


Kelly has been doing photography and videography work for five years full-time, focusing on weddings, portraits, and videos for businesses to use on their social media. She also teaches yoga at Sacred Space in NE Mpls on Johnson. Kelly went through a period in March when all her gigs were canceled except for a few essential companies who needed to communicate with their clients. Concerts were canceled. Weddings were postponed, rescheduled, or canceled. All event photography was canceled. She considers herself lucky that she hadn’t booked a lot of weddings this year, focusing more on corporate work, so she is not as financially devastated as she might have been. She had been already moving in the direction of working with businesses so that not all her videographic eggs were in one industry basket. She was in the midst of that transition even before COVID19 arrived. Plus, now, she’s had the opportunity to book more weddings and events since people are scheduling things week to week or month to month since no one really knows when they’ll have a chance to do the event they were dreaming of.


Her yoga work changed as well. For a while, they switched to virtual classes. But she has not been teaching in-person family yoga at Merzyn in large spaces or outside with limits on attendance and allowing for virtual attendance. She admits that it’s pretty challenging to do her creative work and yoga instruction while wearing a mask. She’s also been able to find other works like building websites and walking dogs. Right now, Kelly and Evan feel pretty stable, but they’re not sure what to expect come the fall and winter.


Evan works as a mechanic at Brookdale Luther Honda. It has been a pretty stable job throughout the pandemic. When the lockdown started in March, the business was very slow and they had to downsize. But Evan is a journeyman so he does the bigger jobs that you need a lot of experience for. Plus, the union guarantees pay even if the work is slow. Once the stimulus happened, the business started picking up because people weren’t as scared and needed work done on their cars. Kelly brags on how Evan is super smart and incredibly good at what he does. She’s not too concerned about his job or potential for a new job. Evan’s employer has been requiring their employees to use plenty of precautions. It’s a hot and humid space, but they keep the doors open and wear masks, which, unfortunately, is pretty uncomfortable.


Evan and Kelly are childfree (a term I prefer over childless) but are proud to share their home with three cats: Willow, Louis, & Gracie.


I asked Kelly about their emotional response to the pandemic. Kelly admitted she was really scared and paranoid at the beginning. She called her mom frantically at the beginning, saying, “I don’t want you to die!” because her mom had gone to the casino. Both Kelly and Evan have appreciated all the friends and family they have who they haven’t been able to see as much. But they’ve also enjoyed being alone more since they’re pretty introverted. For Kelly, it was an easy transition. “Sweet, I don’t have to leave the house for 2 weeks”, she said at the beginning of lockdown. Evan, however, was having more social interactions since he was at work. They’ve enjoyed playing video games together. Plus, they’ve started to cook at home more often as well as get some work done around the house. They note that we’ve all been forced to slow down. It’s helped them realize they don’t actually have to do X and could instead to Y. They're getting in touch with the mindfulness needed to actually choose their behaviors.


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#FRONTSTEPPROJECT: If YOU want to be featured, message me! It is free for Columbia Heights residents. Donations to SACA Food Shelf & Thrift Store are encouraged. Tell your neighbor who may not be on social media.

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