Local photographer encourages military families through ‘Front Porch Project’


HAMPTON, Va. (WAVY) — A local photographer is using her gift behind the lens to help fellow military families during the coronavirus outbreak.

Ashley Salas is a professional photographer and military spouse who lives at off-base military housing in Hampton. Salas has been a photographer for five years and her husband, a U.S. Air Force veteran, has been enlisted for 12 years.

She says a friend showed her a project online called the “Front Porch Project,” where photographers take pictures of families in front of their homes while practicing social distancing.

“I was like ‘Oh my gosh! Absolutely!’ I love to do things like that. I didn’t even hesitate,” Salas said.

So, she hopped onto the off-base military housing Facebook group to ask if families wanted to participate and received dozens of responses.

Salas says she took the photos last Tuesday and was helped by her friends who drove the car and navigated the maps to find all of the families’ addresses.

“Two times I shot from my car. Otherwise, I stood in the middle of the street. I [photographed] 76 families. It was so much fun,” she said.

Salas’ photos including families rocking out as a band and baby announcements.

Her favorite photo included a child who would not smile.

“I did not want to miss any family that signed up. I knew people would make the effort to make signs and dress up. I would get to the houses and they would be ready,” she said.

Salas says she shot all of the photos under two hours but took about 10 hours to edit to make sure they were perfect for families.

“Anything to boost morale here. I just wanted to be part of it and make people happy. People dressed up and did funny stuff. Some were a little sad with their daddy dolls,” she said about those whose loved ones’ deployments were extended due to coronavirus.

Since posting the photos on her Facebook page, other photographers have reached out to Salas about doing something similar in their own communities.

She hopes it inspires others to do good things for their community as well.

“I just want to keep spreading the love,” she said.

To see more of Salas photos, which have been shared thousands of times on Facebook, click here.

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