BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. — "I posted a picture and it jumped from zero shares to, you know, almost 1,700 shares, like almost overnight," said Shante Ogletree. "And then I started seeing more of all of Kern County, you know, needing this moment."
Ogletree is the photographer and owner of Wild Rose Photography. When the coronavirus pandemic put an end to the school year, and graduation ceremonies across the state, she decided she could do something to help seniors make the most of the situation.
That's why she's taking drive-by senior portraits for the class of 2020 for free.
"I've had no intention of charging or anything. So it's basically like me blessing others during this time and I'm blessed that I can be able to do that. And actually the free time to do it too, because unfortunately a lot of my weddings were canceled. But, it's definitely, God has his timing and this was part of it," Ogletree said.
From that moment on, Ogletree has captured memories through these drive-by portraits. She said she isn't worried about loss of income because her husband is an essential worker, but she is accepting donations for gas to travel from shoot to shoot.
For one senior, Frankie Walker of Bakersfield High School, these drive-by photo shoots offer a bright memory in a difficult time.
"All the things that you plan on doing as soon as your freshman year, eighth grade year, you know, come to graduation and you find out the end of the semester, you know, that you came and do all the fun things," Walker said.
However, Walker said this evolving pandemic has taught him a valuable lesson about life.
"Don't be afraid of change, if anything be prepared. A lot of things can happen, life can throw you curve balls, but don't back down. Just be positive," Walker said.
Ogletree said by doing this, she is hoping to inspire other photographers to join.