Sun Devil raises awareness, funding for face masks

September 10, 2020

The global pandemic has affected the whole world deeply. While this abundant change and uncertainty has definitely been scary for us all, many people have decided to use their passions and expertise to try to impact people and make a difference during this challenging time. 

One changemaker in particular, Emily Vance, a digital photography major in her second year at ASU, decided to create the Masked Portrait Project. 

The Masked Portrait Project is an initiative born from the need to help spread awareness about how important it is to wear a mask and to also raise money for the Navajo Nation COVID-19 Relief Fund.

Emily Vance in a mask

The Masked Portrait founder Emily Vance

“Wearing a mask is essential in stopping the spread of COVID-19. It is also a sign of respect. It shows that we care enough about complete strangers that we mask up for their health,” she said.

Vance takes professional photographs of people around the Valley wearing their masks and shares them on social media. People can support the project through Patreon. All proceeds from this project go to support COVID relief efforts for one of the most affected areas in Arizona, the Navajo Nation. 

Vance is a major supporter of wearing masks to protect others. The project features multiple photographers in Arizona and one in Seattle, and portrait subjects for the project have included Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Tempe Mayor Corey Woods.

“By creating the Masked Portrait Project, my hope was to show that wearing a mask doesn’t have to be sad or depressing. In fact, it really can be the opposite. Wearing a mask is one of the easiest ways to spread kindness, and that is something that should be highlighted and celebrated.”

If you live in the Valley and are interested in scheduling a masked portrait project session, you can email Vance at

If you aren’t local or want to shoot on your own, you can connect with the community on social media. Be sure to use the hashtag #TheMaskedPortraitProject so Vance can share your work! 

You can find out more on the Masked Portrait Project website, on Facebook or on Instagram

“I hope to highlight and celebrate individuals who mask up, document these uncharted times, as well as raise money for various COVID relief funds.”