Posted: 16.04.20 at 09:30 by Kurt Robson
A Helston-based photographer has started a project which offers families free portrait photographs on their driveway, doorstep or porch.
The 'Front Porch Project' aims to document this unprecedented time in history through the art of photography, while also doing something positive for the community.
Ashley Hampson, who has brought this project to Helston, told Nub News:
“A photographer and friend of mine living in the states, alerted me to a global initiative called the ‘Front Porch Project’.
“The underlying idea is that photographers offer free portraiture whilst undertaking their daily exercise. Local residents are able to arrange a time with a photographer to come to their house and photograph them on their ‘front porch’, driveway or simply from the pavement.
“Safety is everyone's priority. I promise to shoot from a safe distance and it’s important to stress, I am only offering these sessions, once per day to locations that I can walk to locally, so as to minimise my own travel.”
Ashley says that he was inspired by other photographers' work around the globe and wanted to bring it to his community.
“I had a look through a couple of other photographers who had been shooting for this and loved the work I saw. It varied from families dressing up, holding signs, staging scenes from films or just simply being themselves.
“I found the photographs inspiring to look through and felt that the idea of this related well to my current project I am working on.”
“I have been documenting my own experience of this lockdown through a weekly blog. This is something I chose to do so that in the years to come, I could show my children what they went through and how such a massive situation completely changed the world around them.
“Right now, they’re far too young to fully grasp how significant this all is. It’s also given me a way to focus my photography and keep myself developing as a photographer during this event.
“Right now, as a professional wedding photographer, all of my bookings before September have now been postponed.”
Ashley, originally from Middlesbrough, graduated with a degree in photography from Falmouth University in 2006.
He has since moved back to Cornwall and worked as a professional portrait and wedding photographer since 2010.
He is now teaching photography at Cornwall College while gaining his PGCE.
Ashley has been running a blog which documents life in Helston during the pandemic.
“As part of my blog, I have been photographing whilst undertaking trips to the supermarkets, delivering supplies to my parents and the 8pm appreciation claps. I particularly enjoyed photographing people clapping and found the photographs quite powerful to look at.
“It was also very endearing, to see the whole community coming together and showing their support. The only thing I found difficult about this, was that I only had one minute per week to take these photographs.
“The ‘Front Porch Project’ gives me much more flexibility and availability to get out there and create more of these portraits.”
Ashley feels that as a photographer he has a duty to document times in history for future generations.
“As a professional portrait photographer and storyteller for more than 12 years, it has always been my passion to document the world we live in.
“I feel strongly that we have a responsibility to tell our own stories and this is especially true now before this time is abridged to a paragraph or two, in our grandchildren's history books.
“It’s as simple as that really, I just want to document this period and offer people the chance to be part of this.
“A quote that has always driven me to think more about documentary photography is particularly significant to me now: ‘I really believe there are things nobody would see if I didn’t photograph them’ by Diane Arbus.
Ashley has future plans for using his blog as a way to give back to healthcare workers.
“I’d like to turn the final set of photographs from my blog and this project into a book eventually, with the idea of donating any profits back to our NHS.”
You can keep up to date with Ashley's work on his Ashley Hampson Blog.
If people want to book a shoot you can get in touch by using the above website, Facebook page or by texting Ashley on 07834542280.