AUSTIN (KXAN) — It was one of the hardest times in his life. An Austin photographer lost all of his business at the start of the COVID-19 outbreak.
But then something changed. Soon, it became one the busiest — and most rewarding — moments of his life.
“I thought it would just be a great way to get out and still be creative and try to put a positive spin on these strange times,” Jeff Loftin said.
He joined the Front Porch Project movement to give back to the community during COVID-19.
Loftin’s photoshoots are all from a distance — “15 or 20 feet at least,” he said.
In exchange, the families he captures chip in to support a local charity of their choice.
“In lieu of payment, just donate to charity. We’ve raised over $10,000 for over 20 different charities and it’s just been a really positive experience.”
Some of the charities include:
- Austin Animal Center
- Austin Pets Alive!
- Austin Relief Fund
- Breast Cancer Resource Center
- Central Texas Food Bank
- Dell Children’s Hospital
- Drive a Senior NW
- Hope Austin
- Pug Rescue Austin
- Safe Place
- Save an Angel
- Settlement Home for Children
- St. David’s NICU
Loftin started the project seven weeks ago and has since photographed over 100 families. His biggest takeaway is putting smiles on people’s faces, even if those faces are behind masks. Many used the opportunity to document shelter-in-place through fun and creative ways.
“I’m never trying to push anybody, I want to capture them basically,” Loftin said. “I want to leave them with a photo that will encapsulate this time. It’s such a strange time in our history that you know, having a photo to really show what it felt like at that time is something they’ll look back on for probably the rest of their lives and maybe their grand-kids lives.”
The Kling Family met with Loftin Wednesday morning to re-create their photoshoot.
“It was amazing, I couldn’t believe that just in 20 minutes he got so many great shots, and how the smoke bombs [looked] and everything. When we saw the pictures… I was like, we’re going to save these and put them in our time capsule to just document,” mother Joy Kling said.
The family chose Mobile Loaves and Fishes as their charity, through the Bethany United Methodist Church.
“We just have to be creative about how we can help each other and be all in together with this,” Kling said.
Loftin is booked through the end of the month. If you’re interested in setting up a photoshoot, you can reach out to him on his photography webpage. You can also search the hashtag #frontporchproject on all social media platforms.