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A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to photograph another artist in my Hand-Made series, featuring men and women who make their living with their hands. I visited Judith Schaechter, an incredible stained glass artist at her studio in South Philadelphia. Judith took the time to walk me through her process from the concepting of the design, the additive process of combining different pieces of colored glass to achieve the desired blend, the cutting of the raw materials, and the tedious steps of shaping and creating designs within each piece to create a finished mosaic. Like many artists in my series I was particularly impressed with Judith’s ability to imagine a design and bring that design to fruition over a period of weeks and often times even months of work. That kind of determination seems to be a running theme for the artists in this series. One of the notable differences between Judith and some of the other artists I’ve photographed for this series is that the tools Judith uses in her work are remarkably simple and low-tech. There’s something especially impressive about seeing the intricate final pieces she creates and knowing that, with few exceptions, much of the work was done using tiny unassuming hand-tools. Judith’s work has appeared all over the country and the world, but recently she commissioned a number of pieces for an installation at Philadelphia’s famous Eastern State Penitentiary. Much thanks to Judith for allowing me to photograph her and her work. Enjoy the pictures and when you’re finished shoot on over to my portfolio to view the rest of the artisans in the series.

  • Mark - Wonderful photographs. The directness and detail show the talent and dedication that both of you share. Glad I found your site.May 28, 2013 – 3:45 am

  • KellieAnn Reynolds - Fantastic portraits of Judith Schaechter, her work is mind-blowing. I really love the blue harpy piece, and the following photo of her in the bay window. Thank you for creating this series. Beautiful!October 29, 2013 – 7:32 pm

Aside from my Hand-Made project (which you can see by clicking here), I’ve been working on an ongoing series called “Along The Way” that features various local lifestyle scenes from around the U.S. and the world. A few months ago, I had a job that took me to beautiful Colorado. As my scheduled shoot wrapped in Loveland, CO, I took a side trip to the Larimer County Fair in Loveland Colorado. It was, both photographically and anecdotally an interesting experience. Though county fairs aren’t completely foreign to our neck of the woods in southeastern PA, there was something especially authentic about this county fair in the mid-west. There was an appreciation for animals and a level of seriousness, especially from the kids, that was neat to see. For my part, I couldn’t imagine the ten year-old version of myself having the faintest idea what to do with a sheep or how to tell an award-winning sheep from your regular ol’ run-of-the-mill sheep. Alas, I suppose everyone misses out on some important childhood experiences.

In addition to the county fair, I took a day trip westwards into Rocky Mountain National Park. After having achieved my goal of visiting all 50 states, the next traveling goal I’ve set is to see all 58 U.S. National Parks. I got up at 4am to make sure I could catch the sun as it rose in the valley just east of the Rockies and managed to capture one of my favorite landscapes pictured first below.

This year we have trips planned to the Florida Keys, Jackson Wyoming, and Maine that will, I’m sure, provide inspirational fodder for future “Along the Way” shoots. Enjoy the images!

rocky mountain national park photographer of a midwestern field at sunriserocky mountain national park riverrocky mountain national park photographyLarimer county fair photography near loveland colarimer county fair photoslady in waiting at the larimer county fairlarimer county fair woman on horse in the midwestwoman on a horse in the midwest at the larimer county fairwoman riding horse in the midwest at colorado county fairhorse standing outside of larimer county fairgoat at a county fair in the mid westsheeo at a county fair in the mid westcounty fair rides at larimer county fair in coloradocounty fair food vendorcounty fair vendors and rides in the midwest

There are two common challenges that all photographers face when we work primarily with people as our subjects. The first challenge is making our subject(s) feel comfortable in the inherently uncomfortable position of having a camera trained on them. The second is becoming familiar with what is often a new or unfamiliar space and isolating the best area or background in that space that helps tell the photographic story we are trying to tell.

In corporate photography, we are often presented with a third challenge, especially when dealing with high-level executives, in which our subject has very little time to make a picture. This means that we have to have the location, lighting, and any other elements to the picture completely worked out before he or she even arrives. Having every element squared away allows me to focus 100% of my energies on coaxing the best interaction with the camera out of the subject. Corporate photography demands an ability to work quickly and adapt to last-minute changes all while instilling our subjects with the confidence that we will make them and their company look their best. Executives after all, despite their high-level positions at their company, are just like every other photography subject: They want to look their best and are placing their trust in us to make them look that way. It’s a unique relationship and we were really excited to have the opportunity to work with so many corporate clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, and Delaware this year who continue to present us with new and exciting opportunities to help put their business in the best light.

From executive portraits of major corporations to staged interactions at tech start-ups whose images were featured in corporate reports, magazines, and marketing campaigns, we shot just about every type of corporate and business photography you can imagine this year and then some. Here is a small sample of a few of our favorite corporate photography images from 2012.

executive photography of Chris Young of Async against the Philadelphia skyline

corporate photography of employees interacting at jp morgan in New York CityEnvironmental Portrait of Dr. Christopher Haines outside Philadelphiacorporate photography of employees at a pharmaceutical company in New JerseyExecutive photography of Avery Amaya of WebLinc at the WebLinc office in PhiladelphiaExecutive portrait of Reed Cordish, owner of Xfinity Live in Philadelphiastaged Interaction between a patient and employee at SanofiExecutive portrait of Dean George Tsetsekos at Drexel UniversityCorporate photography ofCorporate Photography of Bennett Lebow at Drexel UniversityEnvironmental Portrait of Jenness Parker for New York law firm Skaddencorporate image from a town hall at New Jersey Pharmaceutical company Sanofi

corporate photography of employees at jp morgan in New York City

  • Chris Renton - Very nice images Ben. Love the bar and theatre portraits in particular – great lighting and composition!March 25, 2013 – 4:03 am

So we had a baby. It wasn’t a surprise. In fact, there were many signs indicating that a baby was imminent, Rose’s growing belly, the piles of baby related items that were steadily encroaching on our living space, and the increasing tension as we got closer and closer to our due date. Rose and I are both overplanners and really by the end couldn’t think of what else we could do to prepare ourselves for his arrival. But regardless of how much you have or how much you think you know: all the diapers, and strollers, and nursery arranging and re-arranging, and books, and websites, and advice from other parents, etc. there really is nothing that can truly make your ready you for the moment when you see your baby for the first time.

Our delivery story might not be too remarkable as far as delivery stories go but it’s one of those days that I can add to an ever-growing list of days I will remember for the rest of my life. So, in that sense, it was remarkable to me and worth sharing in both words and pictures. At 3am on Tuesday September 25th, Rose’s water broke. We had had a few bouts with false labor before but this was different. Her contractions were longer and they more intense than anything she’d experienced in the previous two weeks of “is this it?” moments we’d had. We spent the first few hours in the dark of the early morning, clumsily throwing things into bags and busying ourselves around the house until there was nothing left to do but wait. By 7 am, Rose’s contractions were coming every few minutes, and lasting a minute each so we knew it was time to head to the hospital. When we left the house, it occurred to us that the next time we came home would be the first time we would be walking in as parents. And we’d be introducing a baby to a home he’d later call “the place he grew up.”  We drove to the hospital in rush hour as the sun was coming up, checked in and settled into a long day of waiting, and worrying, and waiting. Throughout the day Rose was hooked up to several machines, the most important of which was the baby’s heart rate monitor. The beating of his tiny heart was translated to us digitally through a rhythm of staccato signals that were ever present throughout the day. That beeping was our open line of communication with the baby. It was constant, sometimes subtely blending into the background noise of the hospital and at others it seemed like it was the only thing we could hear.

After the first hour at the hospital, time started to blend for me. I know that around 11am the contractions became so intense that the doctors administered an epidural. Around 12pm they introduced pitocin to help speed the labor along. At 2pm, our nurse Amy was checking on Rose when that constant beeping we had been hearing all morning suddenly slowed. Within seconds, four different hospital staff were in the room, all clad in blue scrubs, plugging and unplugging wires, checking machines, and urgently announcing medical acronyms and stats that I couldn’t decipher. The baby’s heart rate had slowed to a dangerous pace. They quickly put an oxygen mask on Rose as she was hyperventilating. All I could do was watch from a few steps away and try for Rose’s sake to keep the mounting concern I was feeling from revealing itself in my face. The rhythmic beeping finally came back after a few minutes and one by one, the medical staff, satisfied that Rose and the baby had stabilized, returned to their responsibilities around the hospital. This brief drama was enough to dilute our excitement and add even more pressure to the day.  As a result of this incident, we decided to stop the pitocin and for hours we nervously waited and tried not to concentrate on the pace of the beeping of the baby’s heart rate monitor. Our mid-wife Caitlyn stayed with us for over an hour and managed eventually to distract us from our focus on the beeping with idle conversation. It was exactly what we needed and a reminder of how valuable the human element can be when you are surrounded by tubes, and monitors, and machines.

Around 10:45pm, Caitlyn decided it was time to check on Rose again. This was a stressful endeavor as it was the last check that had caused the baby’s heart rate to slow. So, when she did the check   and the baby’s heart rate began to drop again we quickly made the decision that it was time to have an emergency c-section. The next fifteen minutes were the longest of my life. Again, five or six doctors and nurses instantly appeared in our room and began unplugging Rose’s monitors and prepping her for the operation. One of the nurses tossed me a set of scrubs and the next thing I knew, I was standing in a sterile hallway, dressed in blue scrubs, watching them roll Rose’s bed into the operating room. In a matter of a few seconds, I had gone from calmly chatting to this moment of unbearable isolation and uncertainty. This was a procedure not without risk and I knew that whatever happened in the next few minutes would change our lives forever. As I paced that hallway by myself, it was all I could do to try to focus on the positive outcomes and ignore all the thoughts of worst case scenarios that were trying to creep in. And then, after what was only a few minutes according to the display on the digital clock in the hallway but hours in my mind, a nurse appeared to let me know it was ok to come in. In the operating room, there was a blue cloth hung from the ceiling and draped across Rose’s shoulders that separated her head from the rest of her body, where five attendants were hunched over her. I could get into the details of how the operation looked as I recall everything vividly, but it seems like a bit too much. They had given Rose something to put her into a state of semi-consciousness. Her eyes were open but she was clearly not “awake”. I was seated by her head on the other side of the blue cloth so I could only see lights above the cloth and  the doctors’ scrub-covered shoes below. Even though I knew she couldn’t hear me, the only thing I could do was talk to Rose and assure her everything was going ok. I had no idea of what I was saying was true. My only updates on how the surgery was going came from the matter-of-fact pronouncements the doctors were making: “There’s the head”, “I need another cut” “Hand me the towel” etc.. After about a minute of listening to these men and women have this maddeningly calm conversation, I heard the cry of a baby. I was so tired, beaten down by worry, and generally disoriented that I actually thought to myself, “why would they bring a baby in the operating room?” It only took me a few seconds to realize my mistake, but it was an indication of the mental state I was in. I was torn between seeing my new son who was being attended to across the room and being with my wife, who was still in the midst of the final stages of her surgery. Over the next ten minutes, I was able to hold my son for the first time and bring him over next to his mom as she slowly regained consciousness. He was born at 11pm exactly and by 11:10 Rose was able to hold him in the post-op room and feed him for the first time. The next few days were spent at the hospital, sleeping and feeding and holding our new guy and on Thursday we brought him back home as a family to the see the house he will someday call “the place he grew up in” for the first time.

I’m writing this account a week and one day after Grey Anthem Weldon was born. Even though it’s only been eight days, it seems like so long ago that he was born just simply because of all the new experiences and adjustments we’ve had to make. As adults we have a way of being prepared for most things in our lives. If we’re being truly honest with ourselves, there are few moments that can be described as life-changing. This was one of those moments for me. Grey is 100% healthy and Rose is still recovering from the surgery. There have been a few sleeplessness nights and even more to come I’m sure, but the waiting is over and every day we get to enjoy some new discovery or moment as we all get to know each other.

Photo Disclaimer: Given my profession, I naturally had an urge to capture certain moments of the labor and delivery. Rose had her bags packed with clothes, toiletries, etc. Mine was packed with my 5d III and a pair of lenses (a 35 1.4 and my 100 2.8 macro). My iphone camera played an important role in catching the moments in the operating wing, before the delivery, during, and immediately afterwards. The story above is born out in the photos below. It took a lot of consideration to determine how much of this, if any, we wanted to share but in the end we think we found a nice balance. Rose was the arbiter on which images would make the final edit and which images were simply too personal to share, but the pictures below show the lenses’ perspective of one of the most important days in our lives.

  • The Birth of Grey Anthem Weldon » Weldon Weddings - […] wife Rose just gave birth to our baby boy Grey. Hop on over to my commercial photography blog if you’d like to read the story and see the pictures. Here is the link: […]October 4, 2012 – 8:04 am

  • Helen - Awesome!! Congratulations to Grey Anthem Weldon for choosing such cool parents!October 6, 2012 – 3:42 pm

  • raymond - Rose and Ben Congratulations!

    The photo of Rose with Grey at her breast and a tear on her chest told the story
    It brought me to tears knowing your joyOctober 7, 2012 – 4:45 am

  • Ephriam - Congrats Rose and Ben on a beautiful baby boy!!! You guys are going to be great parents!!! Congratulations once again!!October 14, 2012 – 11:15 am

  • karen transue - Wow that was the most amazing thing I have ever read, the pictures are amazing just Wow, Congratulations, I know that little boy is so lucky to have such amazing parents, Congratulations!!!!!!!!!October 29, 2012 – 5:54 am

Over the past year, I’ve been working on a personal project that features artists and craftsmen who work with their hands for a living. This project, called Hand-Made, recently took me westwards to San Diego where I had the opportunity to add two amazing shoots to the project. Images from one of the shoots, was featured in a recent issue of the Los Angeles-based Show Pony Magazine, a magazine created by a super-talented photographer, Becky Hill. I met Becky a few years ago when she lived in Chicago and have always loved her photography so when she told me she was putting together a magazine and explained her vision, I was more than happy to have my work included. Show Pony describes themselves as “an online community that features extraordinary individuals, artisans and independent business owners. We encourage the creative community, provide education, support small business and aspire to connect with like-minded individuals.” Be sure to check out the awesome work they are doing at Show Pony Magazine, read the article on Koehler Kraft, and take a look at the tear sheets of the feature below. Also in case you haven’t seen it, shoot on over to my portfolio site to take a look at my Hand-Made project and the images I’ve added so far.

Show Pony Magazine feature on Koehler Kraft by Philadelphia Portrait Photographer Ben Weldonboat and boat maker photographer Ben Weldonhand tool and wood work photographer ben weldonartistic boat imagery by ben weldon