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Photographer offers front porch photoshoots at a safe social distance

Even though there is some extra space between Ashley Manley and the people she photographs, she hopes these pictures connect us through this pandemic.

BELMONT, N.C. — Photographers across the country and in the Charlotte area are finding new ways to capture memories in this crisis by offering photoshoots outside your front door at a safe social distance.

Ashley Manley, a mom and former photographer in Belmont, saw a screenshot of an article about photographers in Massachusetts taking pictures of people outside their homes while keeping plenty of space between the photographer and subject.

The concept originates from The Front Steps Project. According to the project’s website, it “aims to bring communities together (virtually and absolutely with strict social distancing!) in a time when we are isolated.”

In exchange for the photoshoots, people are asked to make a donation to a non-profit, local business, or organization that has been designated.

Manley decided this could be one way she could help out in this time of need.

"I said to my husband, you know, I think I might have to do this thing, and he thought I was crazy,” Manley said. “And then I was worried no one would want to do it in my neighborhood, and I've had over 40 people, and so it's been amazing."

She’s set out on photoshoots around her neighborhood. All her neighbors have to do is step outside wearing whatever they’re comfortable in and flash a quick smile.
 
"I think it's a fun thing that people are looking forward to just for lots of different reasons,” Manley said, “Just something different, a reason to get dressed, a reason to laugh, a reason to be silly."

Manley isn’t making any money from these photoshoots. She is only asking for donations to the United Way of Gaston County in return.

Even though there is some extra space between Manley and the people she photographs, she hopes these pictures connect us through this pandemic.

"There can still be some light in this, you know,” she said, “even being six feet apart.”

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