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Bentley & Friends: Portsmouth shelter on mission to represent their community one photo at a time

Portsmouth Humane Society partnered up with a couple of photographers to celebrate diversity within the community and animal adoption.

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Portsmouth Humane Society partnered up with a couple of photographers to celebrate diversity within the community and animal adoption. 

The goal? Take pictures of diverse groups of people with shelter pets to create a portfolio of shelter stock photos representing as many groups as possible.

"One of the things that's really beautiful about animals is that they don't see the things that society tells us give value to a person. They don't see your job, the neighborhood you live in, the color of your skin or the people that you love,” Alison Fechino, Executive Director of Portsmouth Humane Society, said.

These photos eventually will become available to other shelters to use all across Hamptons Roads. 

Photographer Gina Montanarelli says that she understands the need for more diversity within adoption photos and that people are more inclined to relate if they see someone that looks like them being represented.

"It never really occurred to me to look for photos of people at animal shelters, but once I started looking, I noticed it was almost exclusively it was young, slender Caucasian women with no visible disabilities,” Montanarelli said.

No matter what you look like, who you love, what your socioeconomic status is or what your abilities are, the Portsmouth Humane Society wants you to know that you belong and should be represented.