The Front Steps Project has inspired photographers across the country to get creative with family portraits during the coronavirus outbreak. Now, a neighbor is bringing it to East Dallas. Julia Newman moved from New York with her husband and two young children in early March. When the coronavirus hit, she was inspired by a photographer in Massachusetts who took pictures of families on their front porches in exchange for a donation to charity. “As soon as I heard about it, I knew I wanted to bring it to Dallas,” Newman said. The Hollywood/Santa Monica neighbor launched her campaign with a message on Nextdoor and Facebook. In just a few days, nearly 100 people signed up to participate. Her project became so popular that she expanded her reach to Lake Highlands, Oak Lawn and Uptown. “It’s really awesome how well it’s being received,” she said. “It’s been a lot of fun.”
Why this project: I thought it was a great idea to meet local families. Everybody wins. I get out of the house, the families get to have a nice memory of this very strange time and it benefits a great cause. It’s a great chance to have a positive memory of whatever this ends up being.
On moving from New York: We were living in Brooklyn in a one-bedroom. With kids, it’s difficult. What brought us to Dallas was parking lots, washing machines and extra bedrooms. We left New York in the knick of time.
What she loves about East Dallas: We moved into my grandfather’s old house. It’s a fixer upper. I’ve been familiar with Lakewood my whole life. It’s gorgeous. We take family drives around the neighborhood, and we love White Rock Lake. The support has been really incredible.
On giving back: I did research about which foundation I wanted to support, and the North Texas Food Bank has a great reputation. They’re very prolific. Their reach is very wide. I’ve raised up to $1,500. I’m expecting more to roll in. Some people donate as soon as they sign up or when they get the photos. I maybe have an over-ambitious plan, but the goal is $10,000. It would be cool to raise that much money.
Her routine: I’m doing everything from each neighborhood in a day. I’ll schedule something every 10 minutes so I can drive to the next house. Everything is within a couple miles. It’s really quick and casual. I spend about five minutes with each family. They get two images. We keep a safe distance.
Who participates: It’s a lot of families, but I’m also getting older couples and young couples. There’s been a lot of dogs and everything in between that too. They’re coming out just as they are. They’re barefoot. Dad’s got a beer, mom’s got a glass of wine and the kids are eating popsicles. If there’s a mom reading this outside Lakewood, just let me know. It’s great to hear from some of the other neighborhoods.
To book a session, visit julianewman.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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