Thursday, May 23, 2013

Why I Adore Photographing Bat Mitzvahs and Bar Mitvahs

I get very excited whenever I am hired to shoot another bat mitzvah or bar mitzvah. I absolutely love the energy of this festive Jewish coming-of-age tradition which takes place on the occasion of a child's 13th birthday.

The 13th year is so significant in a child's life. It really is during this year that children start becoming young men and women. And yet, 13-year-olds still dance with abandon, laugh easily, and hug each other without care. Everyone still eats cake and piles toppings onto their ice cream sundaes without worrying about calories or cavities. I love recording those last few moments of childhood for families and friends.

Maybe I'm just too much of a softy, but I admit that I pretty much always tear up at some point during the services. When the parents come to the bema and talk about how proud they are of their child, I have to surreptitiously wipe the corner of my eye. It is such a warm and loving service, especially when the readings are done directly from the Torah, and when the child tells everyone in the synagogue about the mitzvah (or good deed) project. It always inspires me to keep doing more for other people in the world too. 

I could go on and on about what a wonderful tradition this is! Please enjoy some photos from a recent Bat Mitzvah at the Teaneck Marriott at Glenpointe in New Jersey this past March.

I have photographed three out of four of the siblings from this family, so I admit that I shed some tears watching the youngest child enter into adulthood too. Or maybe I'm just a softy. 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Designing Healthy Spaces with Teknion

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
"Is Your Workplace Making You Sick?" 
Two weeks ago, I was hired to photograph a panel discussion for Teknion at the Metropolitan Pavilion. The night's theme was "Is Your Workplace Making You Sick?" and was also sponsored by the IIDA, International Interior Design Association and the super cool magazine Metropolis

At the studio, we are big fans of Scandinavian simplicity in design and ergonomics, and Teknion specializes in similarly sleek office systems and furniture products. So I was really looking forward to hearing the panel discussion and photographing the evening.

The panelists were absolutely fascinating, discussing topics ranging from how sitting and air quality affect our health to the meaning of an "active workplace". The discussion was moderated by the Editor of Metropolis, Susan S. Szenasy. 

The invited panelists were: Joanna Frank, Director of Active Design for the NYC Department of Design and Construction; Joan Blumenfeld, Global Interior Design Director at Perkins & Will; Dr. Karen Lee, Director of Built Environment at the NYC Department of Health; and Sue Schmidt, Senior Principle Well-Being Design at Healthways

In keeping with the theme, Teknion also gave out little pedometers that everyone could take home. We're all taking steps to design healthier workplaces. 

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
Joan Blumenfeld and Susan S. Szenasy from Metropolis

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
L to R: Panelists Sue Schmidt, Dr. Karen Lee, Joanna Frank, and Joan Blumenfeld

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
Kay Sargent from Teknion

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
L to R: Kay Sargent, Sue Schmidt, Dr. Karen Lee, Joanna Frank, and Joan Blumenfeld

Metropolis Magazine and Teknio Is Your Workplace Making You Sick
Cocktails at the Metropolitan Pavilion

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

American Cancer Society's 8th Annual "Taste of Hope" Event, Honoring Chef Marc Murphy

Chef Marc Murphy of
Benchmarc and Landmarc.
2013 marks the 100th anniversary of the American Cancer Society. Like many of you, I have tragically lost too many friends and relatives to cancer. My family and I still sometimes shed tears when they are not at the holiday dinner table with us 10 or even 20 years later.  The hole that cancer leaves in our lives is never really gone.

Needless to say, I was thrilled to donate my photography services for the American Cancer Society's 8th Annual "Taste of Hope" event, honoring chef Marc Murphy.  It was simply amazing to feel the energy in the room where all were united in the fight to end cancer.  The emcee of the evening was Chris Wragge of CBS News.

Although the cause was a serious one , this was one of the most fun events I have attended in years. The food was never ending, and wine and cocktails seemed to flow nonstop in the three beautiful rooms at the 82Mercer. But what else would one expect when the night is honoring the owner and executive chef of Benchmarc Restaurants and a regular judge on the Food Network's Chopped?

It was a great feeling to meet all the chefs and bakers in person — including Todd English — and shake hands (as well as sample liberally, of course). I left with so many new restaurants to visit for the first time (or return to again), and some fun pictures to share with you.

I'll be sure to make reservations at The Red Rooster in Harlem, and I'll definitely put the Parkway Bakery and Tavern on my list when I'm back down in New Orleans. How amazing that they traveled to NYC for this event!

Thank you to Erica Blum from the American Cancer Society for organizing this amazing event, and a special thank you to the UHY Advisors for connecting me to Taste of Hope for the evening.

Marcus Samuelsson (right) and his fantastic team from Red Rooster.

L to R: Erica Blum, Marc Murphy and friend.

L to R: Chris Wragge, Todd English, Marc Murphy.