I've been holding tightly to these images for almost six months, showing them to everyone and anyone but except on this blog - for reasons why, I'm not exactly sure. Maybe it's the emotions and events that were and are tied to this day, maybe it's the gifts this family has given to me personally and to my business. Maybe it's because the Stillmans have my heart, my whole heart, for my whole life. And this is something so true that when I look at these images, I'm literally moved to tears.
Unbenounced to all of us, we knew of each other for almost a year before even meeting - my best friend Marissa has been the Stillmans' nanny for almost two years and while I've been building my business, she kept asking for my card because she was certain Jacob's Bar Mitzvah was fast approaching. The Stillmans' neighbors are my dear clients, the Siegel family (remember Ana and Michael?!), so Gail was spreading the love to Jacob's mom Amy for a while too... needless to say, worlds collided when Marty called, we scheduled a meeting and about five minutes later, Amy called me because they had finally put two and two together! It was meant to be!
November came and Jacob's Bar Mitzvah was here! Within five minutes of standing on the bima posing for photos together, Ruby and Zachary proclaimed, "Of course these photos are great! We were BORN for paparazzi!" See, you guys? MY WHOLE HEART. Plus, who wouldn't love a five year old in a suit?! I had the most fun with the Stillmans in those two hours than I've ever had on a Friday in November - and to get their entire clan outside for some fun group photos took almost no convincing. Amazing!!
Here's where the emotional part comes in: We had plans to photograph a lifestyle, preparation-before-the-service style session at the Stillmans' home on Saturday morning due to their synagogue's photography policy (no photos from Friday sundown to Saturday sundown) and I would see them again at Jacob's amazing swoosh-styled party that night. I was over the moon to work with my favorite DJ Ross Marcus from A-List, photograph kids playing archery and rock climbing and dancing the Horah.
But, as fate would have it, I came down with the worst case of food poisoning I've ever experienced and couldn't make it to Saturday's events. As I felt like I was knocking on death's door, my friend and fellow photog Ali Rogers stepped in to shoot the party that night in my place. A week later, being the most amazing and understanding clients ever, we took a trip back in time to shoot the lifestyle preparation session and I was once again reminded of the fabulousness that comes when clients open their door - literally - to me and my camera. So beautifully candid and some of my favorite images of all time. Zachary's hair? Ruby's bathroom prep time? Jacob tossing a football? Totally 15983% Stillman!
These photos reflect the love and tight-knittedness of this family and the beauty in their understanding of life's unexpected challenges. I am so grateful to them for continuing to spread the love to more Bar + Bat Mitzvah clients and families and can't wait to show you more of these faces and personalities on the blog soon :)
And Zachary, Ruby and Jacob? You were indeed "born for paparazzi" and I am so deeply honored to be yours.