On November 9, 2014, I photographed Central Synagogue’s 17th Annual Mitzvah Day. The day started with breakfast followed by an opening ceremony in the sanctuary. Afterwards, some participants remained at the synagogue for projects including making lunch for homeless people and crafts for holiday gifts. Others fanned out across the city to volunteer for other nonprofit organizations.
After photographing the opening ceremony and some of the activities at the synagogue, I traveled with Senior Rabbi Angela Buchdhal and Assistant Rabbi Ari Lorge to The Doe Fund’s facility in Harlem.
Throughout the day the lighting was a particular challenge. In every situation I had to deal with multiple light sources of different colors. At the synagogue, the projects happened in a social hall lit with tungsten lights in deep yellow fixtures in the middle of the room and cool halogen lights around the perimeter. At The Doe Fund, we moved from a room lit with fluorescent ceiling lights and window light to a gym lit with sodium vapor lamps and daylight to corridors lit with tungsten lights and daylight. This meant that nearly every photo had gradient color casts running through them. The simplest way to deal with this was to convert the photos to black-and-white.