In the small commuter town of Maplewood, NJ , where I live with my wife and nine year old daughter the kids and grown ups take Halloween very seriously.
Every year our tightly knit community comes out to show off their creativity, looking forward to the night as if it were a theater opening ..
I decided to start doing free portraits of the children who come to our house for trick or treat as a way to give something back to the neighborhood that I am a part of. I set up a simple backdrop with one light and only spend a few minutes with each child and family so I can get to everyone. This year the crowd was so big I had to make a separate line for photos.
Although I am a professional photographer and have done portrait work and picture stories my whole career I never really considered these images to be a personal project ….. Until this year.
While looking at all the images from the previous six Halloweens I realized that I have seen most of these kids grow up on my porch year after year. Now our house is a destination point and people who have moved out of the neighborhood still come back to have their picture made… When I look at these images together I now realize that what started as a simple gift to my community has turned into something much bigger.
There is such pride and intensity on these children’s faces. They may be wearing face paint and costumes, but their hearts shine through in their eyes.