Professional Photographer Magazine is the monthly magazine of the Professional Photographer’s Association. It’s a great magazine that promotes good business practices, ethics and the creation of incredible images. Last month I was a featured writer with an article I wrote on Bar Mitzvah photography. It’s the first time I’ve ever been featured in the magazine and I’m pretty proud of it. Most photographers spend quite a bit of time trying to get into bridal magazines and the like but for me this is a bigger deal because this is read by my peers. The Oscars are a very big deal but many actors will tell you that the Screen Actor’s Guild Award means more to them… it’s kind of like that for me I guess.
I travel and teach photography all over the country and I’m always surprised at how many photographers I meet who don’t do Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. Not every town has a thriving Jewish community like Tampa but it’s a rare city that doesn’t have at least one temple. I’ve been photographing Bar Mitzvahs at several temples in the area for years and it’s been a great, rewarding experience for me. I like to joke that I spend more time at Schaarai Zedek than the rabbi. (I’ve also worked at Temple Beth-El, Ahavat Shalom, Kol-Ami, Rodeph Sholom and others.. ) Here’s a blog post from a recent event.
Without fail I have always been treated kindly by the Rabbi and Cantor at every temple. The patience that they have for me and the families is always appreciated and I take care to try and be no burden to them. If you are a photographer who deals with groups of people a lot (and we all do at weddings, etc) then you can learn a lot by watching a Rabbi wrangle a large, extended family through a Bar Mitzvah rehearsal.
When you write an article for the magazine, they request a lot of pictures. Then, they pick the ones they want to feature. In my case, they picked two images from the same Bat Mitzvah.
The magazine calls it a “niche” but for me it’s a regular part of my life as a photographer. I love photographing Bar Mitzvahs, I love the traditions, I love the families. I wouldn’t give it up for the world.