Rituals During a Pandemic

As the unprecedented year of 2020 draws to a close (and we are all looking forward to seeing it in hindsight), I think we can all agree that it was a time like no other.

Quarantining, zoom parties, and social distancing became the norm. While weddings and bar/bat mitzvahs were cancelled or postponed, photographers became just another casualty of the job market.

So it was with excitement, that I accepted one last assignment at the end of this year.

I must add, that when I accepted this job, I truly thought that the deadly virus would be under control. Needless to say, that was not the case.

These photos represent the unique and bizarre, uncommon and unrivaled year of 2020.

Photography while social Distancing

After months of sheltering in place and staying safely at home, I was happy to have the opportunity to photograph one of my favorite families on the beach in Southampton.

With my longest lens in tow (“That camera is bigger than you are” is the common refrain when I use this lens), I set out to capture Ethan’s one year milestone at his “happy place.”

Luckily, the sky was overcast, the beach not too crowded, and we were able to capture the happy family.

Grandparents helped elicit these smiles, though Ethan was very happy to explore the sand beneath his toes, oblivious to our task at hand.

During this terrifying period of pandemic, it felt so good to capture some real emotion and true meaning of family.

Sasha’s Bat Mitzvah

    Amidst a week of political primaries and corona crises, it was a pleasant diversion to photograph Sasha’s coming of age.

Though I was not permitted to photograph at the synagogue on Shabbat, I was able to document the rehearsal, as Sasha practiced reading from the Torah, relatives were called up for blessings, and her  parents beamed with pride.

After months of planning, and a few hiccups (some dresses had not arrived since they were coming from China due to Corona), the celebration went of without a hitch.

As an unbiased observer, I can tell you that it was a lovely party, filled with close family and friends and a feeling of warmth among all.

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No Hate. No Fear

This Sunday, over 20 thousand people, many holding signs or covered in flags joined in a march for solidarity for New York’s Jewish community in response to many recent anti-Semitic attacks.

Groups from Cleveland and Toronto, as well as Philadelphia and DC made the trip to New York to participate. Jews and non-Jews alike marched across the Brooklyn Bridge to a rally in Cadman Plaza.

Sponsored by the United Jewish Federation of New York, the ADL, the AJC and thousands of other groups, young and old participated in this amazing show of solidarity. I was proud to participate in this momentous march, and hope we can make a difference!

Narrative Photography

Last week, I decided to push the boundaries of my photography and I enrolled in a wonderful master workshop with the amazing Ed Kashi and Ashley Gilbertson, two photographers associated with Vii agency, and involved in advocacy projects and concerned photography.

The workshop taught us how to think outside the box, how to capture emotion in a narrative, how to photograph how a place feels and how to get an emotional response.

I chose as my project Washington Square Park, and after 5 days, I only skimmed the surface. I loved the energy and vitality of the park from early morning to late evening. I met some very interesting characters along the way, and came away with some images I really love.

Hoping my audience does too!

New Parenthood

The next best thing to seeing your own children become parents, is watching their old schoolmates do so.  

Moving from little league to the big leagues, changing diapers like a pro, Generation X is making their parents proud.

These millennials are a joy to watch, and I love being able to capture the amazement,  wonder, and love they experience in the early stages of procreation.

 

 

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Anatomy of a Photo Shoot

Since Spring has finally come (along with April showers), I had the pleasure of photographing a pair of adorable 3 year old twins.

These two beautiful girls came equipped with dolls (we convinced them to watch from afar for the photo shoot), and a change of clothes to portray their favorite princesses.

Wampus Brook Park provided a great backdrop for the session, as the did the ducks who even photobombed a shot or two.Susanwoogwagner001Susanwoogwagner002Susanwoogwagner003Susanwoogwagner004Susanwoogwagner005Susanwoogwagner006Susanwoogwagner007Susanwoogwagner008Susanwoogwagner009Susanwoogwagner010Susanwoogwagner011Susanwoogwagner012

Up2Us2Act

This Saturday there were a number of Women’s Marches across the country, but due to some controversy regarding anti-semitism between the leaders, I chose instead to attend a local rally in White Plains, sponsored by Up2Us.

Speaking in the bitter cold, and inspiring us with their words, were Nita Lowey, Andrea Stewart Cousins and White Plains Mayor Tom Roach, among others.

Also attending were two women from Peeksill  and their children, whose husbands and fathers were deported by ICE in October 2018.

Though the crowd was small, their voices were mighty.  Justice and Dignity for All.untitled-1untitled-2untitled-3untitled-4untitled-5untitled-6untitled-7untitled-8untitled-9untitled-10untitled-11untitled-12untitled-13untitled-14untitled-15untitled-16untitled-17untitled-18untitled-19untitled-20untitled-21untitled-22untitled-23

 

 

Before and After

I love following my families around and watching them grow.  It is lovely seeing the transformations and watching a human develop from birth!!

For this reason, I love being a photographer and the joy it brings to families.

Though we are over saturated with selfies and Instagram posts, we can never have enough  documentation of life as we experience it.untitled-1untitled-2