January 13, 2009

Photo of the Week: Jan. 13, 2009

HOW I GOT THE SHOT: Someone once asked me whether I have more success trying to make photographs happen – such as by pre-visualizing a composition or planning to be someplace at a specific time – or by simply being ready to shoot when an image "reveals" itself to me. It's an excellent question, because I've used both methods to produce some fantastic shots. This week's shot falls into the latter of these two approaches as the composition "revealed" itself to me as I stood shoulder-to-shoulder with guests in a packed room at a brit milah or circumcision ceremony last year. The father stood sideways next to me, wearing a long black coat and cradling his newborn son, who was wrapped in a white blanket. Amid the clutter and chaos, I honed in on the tiny pink feet framed in black and white. I wasn't expecting to see this, but grabbed it before the opportunity was lost.

When I'm working in a small room, I use a two-light set up. In this shot, light from my remote flash spills into the frame from the top left corner, sprinkling some gentle highlights onto the baby's toes. Back in my office, I cropped the image to a square, because the spiraling motion of the photo's outer elements – the coat and blanket - are better suited to this shape. Anyone who wants to feel the beauty of Israel should attend a brit milah here in Israel during a war. For better and for worse, opportunities for such an experience are frequent. Witnessing this ancient ritual provides the dual satisfaction of feeling the joy of parents with a new child and knowing that the continuity of our tradition is, quite likely, the ultimate weapon in our ongoing battle for survival.