Collinwood Photographer Uses Camera To Keep Community Close

Collinwood Photographer Bridget Caswell
Collinwood Photographer Bridget Caswell [Suzanne Price / Suzuran]  

Collinwood is “an old school, working class, mixed-race neighborhood. We have artists, judges, city workers and small business owners who live here and have their businesses here. People who live here really are invested in our community and each other,” said Bridget Caswell, a photographer and 13-year Collinwood resident. 

And she's using her camera and daily walks to maintain and uplift her diverse and close-knit community right now.   

Caswell is documenting her community during the coronavirus pandemic through a social-distancing edition of her existing portrait series, “People in My Neighborhood.” Caswell usually gets close to her subjects as she captures their images, literally and figuratively, so taking her photos from a distance is an adjustment. 

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

People in my neighborhood. Social Distancing Edition. I’ve been taking my camera with me on my daily walk in my neighborhood and photographing my community from a distance. Kids playing in their driveway. Their grandfather is just out of frame, making sure they were safe. • • • • • • • • #portrait #portraitphotography #portraitphotographer #stayhome #neighbors #peopleinmyneighborhood #postthepeople #socialdistancing #childrenatplay #joyful #skateboard #skateboarding #masks #mask #womenphotograph #womenstreetphotography #peopleinmyframe #Photooftheday #collinwood #skateboardingisfun #availablelight #editorialphotography #quarantine #clevelandphotographer #editorialphotographer #stayhealthy #femalephotographer #ohiophotographer #ohio

A post shared by Bridget Caswell (@bridgetrcaswell) on

“[The Collinwood community is] an extended family. People look out for each other,” she said. “Whether they’re supporting you as a person, your business or keeping an eye out for your kids when they’re out playing we value each other.” 

While on a bike ride with her daughter, Caswell heard her neighbor playing an accordion in the distance. She stopped, asked for permission and snapped a picture. In that moment, Caswell knew it was the beginning of a daily routine of taking a walk — and pictures of her neighbors.  

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

People in my neighborhood. Social Distancing Edition. I’ve been taking my camera with me on my daily walk in my neighborhood and photographing my community from a distance. Hearing Nancys accordion through the neighborhood was joyful. • • • • • • • • #portrait #portraitoftheday #music #portraitphotographer #community #peopleinmyneighborhood #postthepeople #socialdistancing #playmusic #womenphotograph #porchportrait #womenstreetphotography #peopleinmyframe #Photooftheday #stayhealthy #accordion #accordionist #accordions #accordionplayer #editorialphotography #studiolight #pursuitofportraits #quarantine #clevelandphotographer #editorialphotographer #stayhome #portraitoftheday #availablelightphotography #femalephotographer #ohiophotographer #ohio

A post shared by Bridget Caswell (@bridgetrcaswell) on   

She posted about possible portraits in the neighborhood’s closed Facebook group and the response was overwhelmingly positive, she said. People began to volunteer online, over text and by shouting her name from their porch as she walked by. She also asks people in person, like her mail carrier and the delivery people who are regularly in the community. 

Caswell shares the digital files with each participant. 

“It is my gift to you, to bring back some normalcy,” she said. Her neighbors are happy to have an excuse to put on nice clothes and one neighbor was especially excited to have a reason to put on a bow tie.   

 
 
 
 

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

People in my neighborhood. Social Distancing Edition. I’ve been taking my camera with me on my daily walk in my neighborhood and photographing my community from a distance. Husbands @jf329 and @atully2 . Happy Birthday John! I hope you have a day as fantastic as you are! (Also my daughters birthday! ) • • • • • • • • #portrait #portraitphotography #husband #portraitphotographer #stayhome #peopleinmyneighborhood #postthepeople #socialdistancing #womenphotograph #porchportrait #womenstreetphotography #peopleinmyframe #Photooftheday #husbandgoals #artists #gay #gaymen #lgbt #lgbtq #availablelight #manandman #editorialphotography #pursuitofportraits #quarantine #clevelandphotographer #editorialphotographer #stayhealthy #femalephotographer #ohiophotographer #ohio

A post shared by Bridget Caswell (@bridgetrcaswell) on

For Caswell, community is about belonging. As a long-time resident, Caswell has seen Collinwood grow and neighbors continually help each other. The photos are a reflection of that. 

“They look forward to seeing the pictures because they feel a sense of community… and the smiles on people’s faces,” she said.  

Early in Caswell’s career, she said she learned the importance of documenting how something impacts her community and that she does not need to go to the epicenter of a crisis to capture its effects. That idea is also keping her close to home now. Although she has received messages from people in other communities and cities, she only takes pictures of neighbors within walking distance of her home.   

Caswell is, however continuing to expand her “People in My Neighborhood” photo series by posting the images on her Instagram feed. 

Collinwood photographer Bridget Caswell's Instragram handle is @bridgetrcaswell [Suzanne Price / Suzuran]  

Do you know people who are innovating, supporting their community and bringing a little more kindness into the world (from at least 6 ft. away) through COVID-19? Tag us and them with #coronakind on social media! 

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