Quarantined inside her home with her four children, local photographer Amanda Muse was reading through her posts on her Facebook photography group when she came across an interesting idea.
The idea was "The Front Porch Project", where photographers would walk around the neighborhood taking pictures of families on their front steps while keeping a safe distance. Over the past week, photographers around the country have piggy-backing onto the trend during the Cornavirus pandemic.
The premise of "The Front Porch Project" is for photographers to share their portraiture work for free in hopes that their subjects pass something good along for the community, whether it be helping a neighbor with groceries or donating to needy charities in this time of national crisis.
"When I saw what other photographers were doing, I thought 'wow' what a great idea," Muse said. "For me it was a way to get out of the house and take pictures of other families. I wanted to show everyone that other families are still smiling, playing in their yards and still having fun."
Muse, who has been working out of her home as a professional photographer, posted on her Facebook page that she would be in the Eagle's Nest neighborhood taking outdoor 'Front Porch' family portraits free of charge for anyone that wanted some. Within minutes of her social media posting, several of her neighbors had replied they would be interested in having their portraits made on their front porch.
"Honestly, I was glad to get out of the house," Amanda laughed. "In the past two weeks, I have only been out of my house one time. And it was nice to see other people in my neighborhood, albeit from a far distance."
As Amanda Muse, equipped with her camera, made her way through the neighborhood, she noticed several families sitting on their front porches, as their kids were playing in the front yard. Quickly, word got around in the neighborhood about Amanda's Front Porch Project, and others contacted her with messages as she roamed the neighborhood, equipped with her camera.
"This wasn't about publicity or selling pictures, because everything I took was free of charge," Amanda stated. "For me, it was more about seeing other people smiling, playing, and happy while at home."
Amanda took many pictures from the road of families sitting on their front porches. She also took pictures of kids playing in the yard and families playing tennis. Some pictures were taken through windows, as the families remained in their homes.
"I was great talking to other people, but I was standing on the road and they were on their porches," Amanda smiled. "So, it was more like shouting at each other with the long distances between us."
The sunny spring weekend day turned out to be a huge success and an uplifting experience for Amanda Muse, and many of her neighbors.
Cassie Akin, along with her husband Adam and her two daughters Georgia and Charlotte, were on of Amanda's subjects during her weekend 'Front Porch Project'.
"When Amanda reached out about this project, we were so excited to be a part of it," Cassie Akin stated. "This is such a strange and difficult time, but one I know is history in the making. Having pictures of my family to document our time at home, and the way our community is coming together, is something I know they will cherish when they are older. We are proud of all that our community is doing right for each other."
For Amanda Muse, being outdoors and encountering the many smiling faces that day was great therapy for her.
"It was great to see kids still smiling and playing, and it was nice seeing families enjoying their time together at home," Amanda Muse stated.
"Sometimes, it is the small things in life to be thankful for," Muse said. "I hope we can spread love, happiness and kindness to everyone."
Amanda Muse, whose business is called Soulful Studios, gained her passion for photography after taking pictures of her first child, who was born almost 18 years ago. Despite being a busy mother of four children - Allie (17), Cody (15), Jaxon (6) and little miss Harper Lee (7 months); and a golden-doodle Zed (6) - Amanda has photographed all types of subjects in all types of natural settings. Muse, who is married to Jonathan Muse, admitted her favorite photography subjects were newborn babies and smaller children.
STEVE CORNELIUS is the CJ Sports Editor and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter at @CJSportseditor.