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I'm Jessica McDaniel, and May 2021 will mark my 18th anniversary photographing babies and their families all around Boston.

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As you might know from hearing me mention it before, Boston Baby Photos has now been in existence for ten, count em, 10 years. As this anniversary has been coming up, I wondered what I could do to celebrate, and how I could give back in some way, to somehow thank the community of Boston families who’ve allowed me to do this all these years. I settled on the Jimmy Fund as my charity of choice, and began (back in March) planning the 10 Year Celebration.

Over time, it has become a celebration in three phases, and this past Sunday, at the gorgeous Steel & Rye restaurant in Milton, my husband Evan and I hosted the first phase. Before I get into describing it in detail, I’ll outline the three phases for you.

Phase 1: A Cocktail Party Benefit for The Jimmy Fund/Steel & Rye Gallery Show, Celebrating 10 Years of Boston Baby Photos. We hung 100 photos from the past decade in Steel & Rye’s private back room. We had fabulous hors d’oeuvres, wonderfully generous guests, and we raised $3,435 for the Jimmy Fund that night. Here’s the pretty invitation that helped raise all that moolah:

And after that comes…

Phase 2: The Facebook Contests: 10 Summer Contests to Celebrate 10 Years of Boston Baby Photos. The contests are launching this weekend – you’ll hear lots more from me about them on Facebook. Like the Boston Baby Photos Facebook page to keep in the loop on these — someone’s going to win a gift certificate for an in-home photoshoot plus the digital JPG files.

And then, last but not least, we have…

Phase 3: The Gallery Show, Celebrating 10 Years of Boston Baby Photos. I’ll explain this part in detail now because I realize it might be nice for this show to live on in other locations this year. It has one home – it will live in the Milton Public Library for August 6th – 29th. Here’s the poster about the Library Opening on August 6th – I hope you’ll join me:


Now if anyone knows of another library or other space that’d be interested in hosting this show later this fall or sometime in 2014, please let me know.  The show features one hundred black and white photos of children and families, divided into ten thematic categories.  These are the same 100 8″x8″ mounted photos we hung at Steel & Rye for the Cocktail Party Jimmy Fund Benefit (see photos below). The show is designed to be hung without being adhered to the wall at all – it hangs from 8 foot tall thin white boards, which are wired to S hooks at the top of the board which keep the boards secured to a picture rail or something similar, and the boards just lean against the walls.

OK, enough of that. Let’s get to the fun part — the pictures from Steel & Rye last weekend. So this blog post will just be to show pictures of Phase 1, the Steel & Rye Gallery Show, and this is just the first half of the photos – I’m only showing photos here from setup, so you can see what the show looked like as we hung it. I have some pictures of the event itself coming, but those will be posted another day.

So here’s the outside of Steel & Rye, our wonderful hosts for the evening. They opened in November 2012, and they’ve been buzzing ever since.  Fantastic food, wonderful open space – you must try it if you haven’t already.


As our guests entered the gorgeous restaurant, they saw a bit of the show – we hung three of our ten groups of photos in the main bar area. The entrance to the private room where we were is on the left side of this photo:


Here’s a closer view of those first three categories that were out in the main bar area, as my assistant Meghan straightened them before the party. Each mounted 8″x8″ photo hangs with a piece of black ribbon over a nail on the white 8′ board. Yes, that’s my 4 year old Sadie in the corner – she stopped by to see the show before the grownups arrived for the party.



Here’s a closeup of the door the guests entered to get into the private room in the back:



Then in the private room as guests looked left, there were three categories of photos hanging – thanks to Evan, Meghan, John Charles and my dad, we got them all hung in less than 2 hours. It was epic, and I was nervous – I will admit. Go team 🙂


This one gives you a more straight-on version of that wall to the left as guests walked into the private room:


You can see in this next picture how the photos are hung – they’re mounted on Masonite with a white matte and a black border, and they’re relatively thin and light.  They’re strong, though — Masonite is a wood-based product.


Then as guests looked right (towards the long gorgeous bar along the right wall), they saw three more categories of photos (and here’s my dad straightening a bit):


And just one category hung on the back wall:


And last but not least, I hung these two photos separately because I wanted to highlight them. The top one says “Let me introduce my muse, the now nearly teenage Emma. She is the adorable daughter of our friends Ken & Teresa, and I took this picture of her in the summer of 2001. She was the first baby I ever photographed, and even then it was still years before I decided to make this hobby a real job. Thanks, guys, for letting me point a camera at your munchkin. I’ll say again what I’ve said before: her chubby arms made me want to do this forever.”

And then the bottom one says “And here’s my first real client, the now 10 year old Nate. My friend and co-worker Alanna welcomed me into her home on May 25, 2003, for my first professional photoshoot of her little five week old Nate. This photo of Nate was featured in Plum Magazine’s photo essay The Birth of a Mother the following year. To all my friends who’ve become clients and clients who’ve become friends over the last decade, I really, truly thank you.”
 


So there’s the first installment of what I’m sure will be many posts this summer about the 10 Year Celebration. Thanks for reading, and thanks for a wonderful decade.

Comments

  • Bob Hartle
    Bob Hartle
    reply
    Jun 13 2013
    Fabulous! Wish we had been there, but this has been a great experience. Too bad we have no babes for you to shoot -- our youngest was 31 yesterday.Congratulations on your tenth! Ann joins in sending you fond regards, Bob.
  • Joanne Martin
    Joanne Martin
    reply
    Jun 16 2013
    What a fun loving, spontaneous, gentle collection of portraits--full of life ad love! And the same spirit seems clear in the charity-centered way you structured your anniversary celebration. Congratulations all the way from Hawaii. We just wish we could have been there. Joanne

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