Tag Archives: New York
I got to photograph the Staten Island Half Marathon for the New York Road Runners on Sunday. The race was a fundraiser for the residents and businesses of the borough who are still working to come back from damage they sustained during Superstorm Sandy. After the race, runners and Staten Islanders climbed rock walls, played games, listened to bands and checked out the Superbowl trophy. It was a good day, and I can’t wait to shoot the ING New York City Marathon next month!
I’ve been an arts educator for ten years. But back in 2008, I wanted to give up.
I was teaching arts integration in a first-year teacher’s sixth grade English Language Arts Class. I’d work with her to figure out how photography could give students multiple ways to access academic material, and together we’d help students develop visual literacy and artistic thinking.
But we’d also lose it, in ways that I thought I never would. Once I had to step out of the classroom because I’d yelled in a way that made me immediately sorry and embarrassed. The combination of a challenging age group, an intense mix of personalities, and a struggling school led to endless frustration, even though the kids were great on their own. It seemed like the group came together like Voltron and transformed thoughtful, kind individuals into a furious, resistant mass.
I wanted to make more time to photograph, but after each day of teaching my mind would be buzzing and almost erased. So I took my camera to school, and used it to look at the frustration and intensity I saw.
We made it through the year, and I photograph much more now. The teacher is going strong: her combination of talent, dedication, and commitment to practicing the mechanics of good teaching have made her one of the best educators I’ve worked with.
Last month The Daily Beast asked me to photograph remembrances of the September 11th attacks for their Instagram feed. I walked and walked, shooting with my phone. I photographed a Green-Wood Cemetery grove that holds the graves of 9/11 first responders, a tower that looked disconcertingly like the World Trade Center, a memorial at the New York Fire Museum (where a fragment of one of the planes is displayed), One World Trade Center, St. Paul’s Chapel (the church became a place of refuge for Ground Zero workers – scuff marks from their equipment still mark the pews), the FDNY Memorial Wall, and the Tribute in Light (close up and then from Sunset Park). The memorial traces were moving and sad, and I was able to work discreetly throughout with my tiny camera.
I photographed Talia Braude, a 39-year-old self-employed architect and single mom by choice, for The Daily Beast. Paula Szuchman wrote about women who aren’t waiting for a partner to come along before starting a family.
Talia’s matter of fact competence and sweetness with her baby Rian are impressive, and I loved photographing this little family.
I photographed anthropology professor Carla Bellamy and her daughters Dessa and Margo for the New York Times Sunday Review recently. Alissa Quart wrote about the high cost of child care and the middle class moms who are struggling to afford it. Says Bellamy:
“It’s not a tragic story, but is tiring and tiresome. I have a career, I work really hard, and yet I get no break.”
And what does my baby do while I photograph working moms? Hangs out and eats at daycare with Alexxis, Iris, Elia and his friends (or, when he’s home sick, naps while I rush to get computer work done before he wakes up). Center-based daycares like William’s are the second-most common childcare arrangement for young children of working moms in the U.S.
Tomara works in administration at a university and takes classes so she can become an academic advisor. Her work is slow while classes aren’t in session during the summer, and sometimes the afternoons drag as she waits to go pick up her son Spencer at a home daycare in her neighborhood.
In 2011, 13% of young children with working mothers in the U.S. attended home daycares like Spencer’s.
(More photos of Tomara and her wife Kamdyn here.)
Tomara used all of her sick days to supplement her short maternity leave, so she doesn’t get paid when she has to take a day off. This situation isn’t uncommon in the U.S., where 40% of workers don’t qualify for the Family Medical Leave Act’s protections.
I photographed Tomara and her wife Kamdyn as they got baby Spencer ready for the day. I’ll be photographing them as they work and live during their son’s first year.
Jen and her husband work in communications for non-profit organizations, and they are both dedicated to social justice, work and family. I recently got to photograph Jen at work and, later, giving birth at home. Her husband, friend, midwife and three-year-old daughter Olive watched as baby Wiley joined the family.
Working mothers have been in the news lately – have you noticed? We’re trying to Lean In and Have it All all over the internet and the airwaves. But working women critique these conversations, saying that Marissa Mayer’s office nursery and Sheryl Sandberg’s financial resources make their experiences out of touch with most women’s lives.
When I was pregnant, I was terrified about the ways my baby would change my work. Photography is one of the most important parts of my identity, and I didn’t know how I would integrate it into my new life. Would my finances work out? How would I schedule my unpredictable freelance needs around a child’s need for stability? Would people in my field think of me as “just a mom”?
So I started this photo project following three women who, like myself, love (and need) to work as they navigate the shifting demands of work and parenting.
I’ll be posting work from the project as I make it. This first batch follows Petrushka, the Program Manager of an arts education non-profit and mother of an eight month old girl.
(And yes, my work has changed – but I like it. More on that in another post.)