Not at all my usual jam – but I was so beyond honored to be commissioned by the BAA this year as a Boston Marathon photographer!
It was the coldest Marathon Monday in three decades, never going over 39 degrees all day. The sideways rain, sleet, and bone-chilling winds didn’t help. Here’s a photo of me freezing my ass off, courtesy of a new friend I met today. He’s actually a super talented runway fashion photographer, but you wouldn’t know from this photo.
I’m smiling, but I can’t feel my hands or feet.
I arrived at my position at the finish line at 7:15 am sharp, still working on my first coffee of the day. I was feeling official as hell with my media security pass, free to roam anywhere I pleased, but, I ended up spending a lot of my free time hiding out in the medic tent (the only heated area on site).
As a finish line-candids photographer, I was smack dab in the middle of the action. I absolutely loved the energy of everyone coming through the finish line, even those who looked on the brink of death.
Like I said, this isn’t my usual type of gig at all. But in some weird way, it felt totally right. Wherever in the world my travels take me, my goal is always to capture the essence of the place – its being, its heartbeat. Since Boston is where I call my home base, I guess I never thought to try and capture it. I didn’t even realize it when I got the job, but the Marathon is the perfect time and place to witness Boston in its truest, most naked form.
As I stood in front of those gates today, I felt a wildly cliche sense of pride for my city. It was such an honor to be a part of a collection of people so defined by their drive, honor, and most of all, resilience. I had a sudden realization that that very moment, this very day, meant more to me than just earning my commission. It was a strange, intense surge of realness that, in all honesty, I’m not too familiar with.
The runners passed through the finish line with expressions of joy, relief, and pain. Their lips were blue from the cold, and half-frozen raindrops were collected in their eyelashes. They rushed to wrap the reflective emergency blankets around their shaking bodies. Some were crying. Some were limping. Some were vomiting. But they all wanted their photo taken. They all wanted to remember this moment for what it was, the good and the bad – all of it.
Unabridged, uncensored, untouched.
It suddenly felt like a privilege to be the one who gets to eternalize this moment. (I know, I know, this is a dramatic post. It was a dramatic day.)
I’m so grateful that I got this opportunity. I walked out with so much more than I could’ve wanted, for reasons still elusive to me. Today was wonderful. It was surprising, and touching, and revealing.
And really, really cold.