Dear fellow photographers and friends. Kevin Lorenzi and I are working on organizing this year`s Help-Portrait event in Pittsburgh. We`re partnering with Community Human Services at 374 Lawn Street in Oakland for this year`s event. We`ll have a good space to work in, two rooms and a spacious hallway. We need photographers, make up artists, hairdressers, photo editors and really anyone who is willing to help. If you are interested in volunteering on Saturday, December 10, 2011, please let us know by completing this online form. Also, make sure to join Help-Portrait`s Pittsburgh group in order to receive updates and participate in discussions/planning.
A few years ago I decided that I will absolutely, positively, hell-or-high-water follow through on my New Year’s resolutions. So far, I’ve been pretty successful. Following my New Year’s resolutions I quit smoking, started exercising or regular bases, learned computer animation with Adobe Flash, and learned how to play banjo. Last year, as I was going through the body of my photography work I realized that I had not worked on a personal project since 2007 – that’s four years of not stepping back from weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and commercial shoots. As much as I love event photography I realized that if I don’t start working on something personal, I would just burn out and stop caring about my work. I’ve always been fascinated with Marilyn Monroe and one of my favorite photographs is the one of Marilyn smoking a cigarette on a Manhattan rooftop (I believe it was taken in March of 1955 by NYC based photographer Ed Feingersh). From a photographic standpoint there is nothing particularly special about this photo, but something about it appeals to me. So, as one of this year’s personal projects, I decided to do a rooftop photoshoot. My friend Julia graciously agreed to model for me and an amazing hairdresser/makeup artist Igor Vavilov volunteered his time to do Julia’s hair and makeup. The “getting ready” part took well over two hours, but I guess beauty requires sacrifice:)
Yesterday I met with a client whose last name is Jablowski. For some reason, on the drive home after the meeting, I could not get that name out of my head; something about seemed important, but I could not quite grasp what it was. As I was pulling into my driveway I finally got it. It was a Polish last name and letter “J” reads as “Ye” or “Ya”. During all the years of searching for information about my grandfather I always searched archives and databases for “Payes”, “Paes”, or it`s Russian spelling “Паес”. It has never even occurred to me that since he was born in Grodno and since before the World War II Grodno belonged to Poland, my grandfather`s last name might be spelled differently. To test my theory I pulled up the Ellis Island database and searched for Pajes. I have records of my grandfather`s family that were kindly send to me two years ago by Rabbi Yitzchak Kofman from Grodno, Belarus, but they were in Russian. Now I actually know for a fact that part of my grandfather`s family came to the United States on October 12, 1923 and even have ship`s manifests from Berengaria that document their passage from Cherbourg, France and arrival to Ellis Island.