documentary

celebrating documentary photography

I’ve worked with Glenn Ruga of SocialDocumentary.net for years and in a number of capacities: editing email newletters, hanging art exhibitions, photographing events and lectures. This time, in celebration of their 10th anniversary, I was honored to be included in their exhibition at the Bronx Documentary Center in NYC. In addition, Glenn asked me to photograph the opening festivities.

I met some wonderful photographers and supporters of photography. Glenn and his team have built an extraordinary international community around documentary photography. I’m grateful to be counted among them.

Kate and Orla: a photo essay about pet therapy

This post is a long overdue: I recently realized that, despite being created and published in 2016, I had never posted the work here. My words here will be minimal, mostly limited to background and logistics, since my brief essay and captions are better read with the photos, as published (link below).

I received this assignment from Parable Magazine to create a photo essay about Kate and her dog, Orla, both of who had been working in pet therapy (via the national organization Pet Partners) for some time. Kate, a practicing Catholic, recognizes this ministry as a way to serve and comfort the sick.

One of the challenges for creating the work was that their schedule only saw them serving once per month: to observe and understand them sufficiently—and to create a body of work broad enough to fill the pages—required planning and working together over four months. Each visit, though, was entirely unique: a private home, a nursing home (in fact, two, but one was visiting individual patients while the other was a group therapy session), and visiting Kate and Orla at home (which is where the final photographs and the cover were made).

These two make an incredibly kind and caring team. I can say easily that I've never met a more gentle and trusting dog than Orla, who knew me and was comfortable with me from our first meeting. That speaks volumes about Kate.

My photographs and words were the cover story for that issue of Parable and can be seen in the magazine's online version. In 2017, the Catholic Press Association gave the work five awards (ranging from the cover and individual photos to the entire published set)—truly a wonderful honor.

I am tremendously grateful to Kate, Orla, and the families and individuals who allowed me to create during these very special moments.

Ashley & Mark, married

Ashley and Mark began and ended their wedding day at the Bedford Village Inn; in between, they were married at Saint Anselm College's Abbey Church. I know the latter especially well,  being an alumnus (like the bride and groom) of the college, having photographed there many times, and having been married there.

The fall weather was perfect for these two lovely people and their family and friends to celebrate—which they did well into the night, indoors and out. The day couldn't have been better.

behind the stage for Ballet Misha's "Nutcracker"

I've been photographing the stage production of Ballet Misha's Nutcracker for a few years. Last year, in addition to the performance, I wanted something different, so I asked their artistic director, Amy Fortier,  whether I could photograph what happens beyond the stage. She agreed and gave me full license to explore and visually document.

Given my other photographic duties (i.e., the performances), this work only shows the moments of backstage life before and in between shows. It ignores the hundreds of hours of planning, preparations, rehearsals, costume fittings, moving and setting props, et al.; as well as the general chaos that occurs everywhere outside those few hundred square feet of stage floor during the performances.

As in any performing art, however, the vast majority of work happens off the stage, and here is a tiny glimpse of that life.

PS: Their 2017 production is December 16 & 17.

Hannah & Jim, married

These two enjoyed a rather perfect summer wedding day. After a traditional Catholic marriage ceremony and Mass at Saint Patrick Church, we returned to Dexter's Inn for the reception and frivolity. The entire grounds were available to guests, so I could wander around freely to create photographic moments in a variety of settings and activities. 

Usually, once the formal reception begins, I remain focused on speeches, reactions, faces, dancing, et al. Imagine my surprise when, after I finished my time for the day, I found a group of guests who couldn't be confined by a tent and decided to enjoy the pool. Brilliant! A visual feast at the end of an already wonderful day.

March for Life: Mass II

Washington, DC, 2013.
Washington, DC, 2013.

As mentioned in yesterday's post, a Mass is said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception the night before the March for Life. The Mass is televised throughout the side and lower chapels, where many have camped for hours just to claim a space.

My photo essay about the March is published on SocialDocumentary.net.

March for Life: Mass I

Washington, DC, 2013
Washington, DC, 2013.

The night before the March for Life, a Mass is said at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. Despite the basilica's tremendous size, it fills beyond capacity hours prior to the Mass, as the faithful hope to secure a place in a pew. But many must stay in the aisles and side chapels.

My photo essay about the March is published on SocialDocumentary.net.

photo essay: The March for Life

I'm pleased that my most recent documentary work about the 2013 March for Life has been published on SocialDocumentary.net, a site devoted to documentary photography from around the world.

Despite reaching over 500,000 attendees last year, the March continues to be willfully ignored by national media outlets. I hope my work there shows both the immensity and the intimacy of an event that will celebrate its 40th anniversary this month.

In light of that, I'll be posting additional photographs--not found in the main essay--in the coming weeks as the March approaches.