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Amherst photographer launches ‘Front Steps’ benefit

  • A portrait of the Waite-Tripp family by Isabella Dell’olio. Submitted Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 4/4/2020 3:48:56 PM

AMHERST — An Amherst photographer whose profession is portrait photography and taking pictures of families is finding her livelihood affected by people being confined to their homes and social distancing practices during the COVID-19 pandemic.

To continue her work, and to support those in need, Isabella Dell’olio recently began participating in what is known as the Front Steps Project, in which she is reaching out to local families to photograph them as they stand on the steps of their homes or in front of their residences.

Dell’olio said she was inspired by Cara Soulia of Needham, who in exchange for going to people’s homes to photograph families and individuals is asking them to make a donation to a local charitable organization as part of Front Steps.

For Dell’olio, that local charity is the Amherst Survival Center.

“I’m feeling really good about being able to support the survival center,” Dell’olio said, observing that its mission of feeding the community is important in a time amid the pandemic and with unemployment rising.

She has set up a GoFundMe page with a goal of raising $2,500, which can be found at

By Monday afternoon, Dell’olio said 12 families had been photographed, with 20 more still to be scheduled for their pictures.

Susan Waite, who was photographed with husband, Todd Tripp, daughter Isabel Tripp and the family poodle, Rosie, said she was happy to be able to participate and have a positive impact on the community.

“I was captivated by the concept of the project,” Waite said.

For all photographs, Dell’olio said she follows strict social distancing guidelines and spends only a few minutes taking the pictures.

Families interested in participating can get in touch with her by going to

Scott Merzbach can be reached at

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