Winter Bar Mitzvah | Newton, MA

I'm not a boy now. I'm a man, I hope. I hope I've had my artistic bar mitzvah somewhere.
Jeremy Piven

When asked by this Mom if I’d document her son’s Bar Mitzvah, I was speechless - I’m not Jewish and hadn’t ever photographed a Bar Mitzvah before, and I hold her work and our past collaborations together in high regard. But after thinking about it a little more, the story I envisioned was rather beautiful - one that wove the threads of what life is right now stitched together with the formal and celebratory aspects; pictures that expressed a story of the transition. I was fortunate to be met with an open enthusiastic ear and together we collaborated on a plan.

This story began late afternoon on a beautiful winter light day to document life at home weaving activities, hobbies, interests and day-to-day interactions. Given the centrality of hockey in their lives, we began with street hockey, took a break with smoothies and then documented a long awaited family tradition - creating the ice rink in the back yard. We followed with casual portraits of everyone together and then of the boy in his own world and ended the day with the more formal elements or rehearsing and a Bar Mitzvah portrait.

I returned a week or so later to photograph the practice rehearsal and while I'd planned to document the party, mother nature decided to drop a nor'easter which impeded my ability to actually get to the location (and yes, I was horrified). While I was able to use guest photos of the Hora in the book, I photographed the gathering the following morning at the Brunch in a relaxed gathering of warmth and love - and the first time of hockey in their cousins back yard.

Since this initial Bar Mitzvah, I've been thankful to receive a steady stream of commissions. In each I feel a deeper connection to the grace of spiritual values, the magic of this special rite of passage, and the importance in documenting the story.