Beautiful Chaos | Bat Mitzvah Documentary

“Great dancers are not great because of their technique, they are great because of their passion. ” 
― Martha Graham

Imagine you’re about five months from a major move with three boys ranging from four to ten and a daughter with a Bat Mitzvah - one who’s danced in the Boston Ballet Nutcracker, has played the harp since she was a tiny girl not to mention her love of gentle bunny.
The meaning of "beatifiul chaos" is an understatement. And while there were more than one concern on documenting at their home let alone on the Friday before the ceremony, it was within those stolen moments at home, and in those at the Synagogue following that tell the story of a calm among the storm. The love that’s expressed in the most everyday of moments to stolen vignettes that felt near epic in their rendering. 

While we began earlier in the week to document a Rehearsal (one in which the girl asked her Mom to wait outside), it was the Friday sessions - first at home, later at the Synagogue - when the true story surfaced: one of love, family, chaos and calm. We opted for portraits on Saturday afternoon at their new home and finished up on Saturday night with photography of an intimate and moving Habdala ceremony through the joyful Hora celebration. This is her story in 140 pictures over one hundred beautiful pages.



the double portrait

while listening to a panel at the flash forward festival a few years ago, i heard a gallery owner and collector talk at length about the "double portrait." while the first image that came to mind was that of Twins by Diane Arbus, when i searched the term, i was surprised to see a famous work by 15th c painter Jan van Eyck -  the Arnolfini Wedding.

i came into art and photography through art history and actually specialized in northern renaissance painting. as such, i'm well familiar with the work of Flemish & Dutch painters from 15th to 17th century.

danny & mike | revere beach, 2013

when i looked through my portfolio, i found more than a few double portraits and over the years, i've kept this in mind.  last year on the train back to salem, i found myself in one of the older cars - the ones where two rows of seats actually face each other - and met Danny, and knew immediately i wanted to photograph him. we talked the way back and i learned about him and his boyfriend mike.

we met a month later and spent a little time on revere beach parkway which is where i took this portrait: positioned on the wall of the causeway with the grasslands and the ocean behind them, and a ledge on the right leading back to their home. the light, the soft smiles, the openness, mike's hands in his pockets while danny's hands are out and loose, the touching knees. this to me is one of the finest examples i have of the double portrait.