For those of you that follow me on twitter or facebook you know that my wife and I were in New York a couple weekends ago. The trip was a blast to say the least. We got to catch a Broadway show, saw an acoustic show, visited with friends and family and ate way too much… if that is possible. We were there 4 nights and stayed in 4 different parts of the city.
The main purpose of the trip was to help out with a special project that my friend Jennifer was putting together. Jennifer works at The Elizabeth Seton Pediatric Center, which is a hospital that focuses on medically fragile children. The project Jennifer was working on was a family portrait day. Most of the kids here cannot easily just leave the hospital to go to a photographer’s studio to have a family portrait done, so Jennifer’s idea was to bring the photographers to the children and families. When Jennifer told me about the project I was jazzed and eager to be a part of it. I had no idea how much work she put in to it until we got to NYC. The logistics of a project like this were mind-blowing. She had to find 8 photographers that would give up a Sunday to help out, had to schedule numerous staff members from the hospital to assist, and deal with a million other details just to make the event happen.
The weekend started with a trip to Adorama to pick up rented gear. We ended up having to push a cart the size of a smart car to the hospital which was luckily only a few blocks away. Then we set up 8 separate studios in the classrooms of the hospital.
In total we had 64 families in attendance, five children that got portraits although their families were unable to make it at the last minute, a total of over 330 family members visited with their child that day, and over 50 staff and volunteers ran the show!
It was much more of an experience than I had imagined. Truth be told there were several times throughout the day that it took all of my power to hold back tears. Not so much tears of sadness but just out of the amazement for the staff and families. It was amazing and inspiring to watch how much the staff cared for the kids and how much strength and hope I could see in the family members eyes. It was a blast getting to chat with the kids and their family members.
Although I did not get to work with all of the staff, I did get to work with Alvin and George who were very inspiring. Watching these guys work with the kids, you can see that for them it was much more than just a job, I could see how much they care for each and every one of the kids.
Knowing that these photos of the families will be cherished for years to come brings tears to my eyes. This day will stay with me forever and remind me of why I became a photographer… to help people preserve memories.
For security reasons we can’t post pics of the kids but here is a group shot of the photographers that helped out that day.