The Jacksonville Area Convention and Visitors Bureau and ElCrow Photography are working together to spotlight the city’s local businesses with a special photo project. JACVB President Brittany Henry and Photographer Cory Garner began the idea of capturing local businesses and their workers after hearing about Karen Anderson Design’s Front Porch Photo Project. Henry says the JACVB wants to use the project to highlight local businesses during National Tourism Week May 3rd – May 9th. “We want to showcase some of our industry partners and businesses. It really just kind of tied in well together when Cory and I were having the conversation about this idea. Cory told me about his schedule and how he would like to do this and it really works out well.”
Garner will be taking appointments by text message at 217-370-7351 or via his Facebook page at ElCrow Photography and Design on a first-come-first serve basis. The photos will be taken outside of the business. Employees and owners are encouraged to dress up and make signs. The photo shoots are scheduled for approximately 15-30 minutes. Garner says he will be practicing all safe physical distancing guidelines.
Henry says the photos also have another significance to the Jacksonville area. “We are really missing our industry partners and friends at local business right now. They are all industry partners. Tourism touches every piece of Jacksonville and our area, from the bottom all the way up to the top when those visitors first step foot into town. This project really speaks true to our organization and it touches Jacksonville Main Street, the Chamber of Commerce businesses. Our community members that aren’t seeing those faces right now, and again, I know if we are missing them, everyone else is missing out on seeing everyone, too. That’s how this whole idea came about.”
Henry says the photos may also act as a historical document. Henry says that Garner was very passionate about getting the photographs of local businesses during this historic time of the COVID-19 pandemic. Henry says that Garner intends to donate prints or make some available to the Jacksonville Heritage and Culture Museum opening up within the year for a possible exhibit. “I believe they will make a wonderful document for the museum to display for people to see for years to come.”
Henry says that its been difficult for the tourism business because it relies so much on social gatherings and places where people can gather to recreate and enjoy travels away from their home. She said the photo opportunity creates a safe way for the local tourism industry and local businesses to highlight what they have to offer in an innovative way.