The markets may have looked a little different this year, but you can still see the smiles!

When the pandemic walloped New Jersey, all of my scheduled spring and summer weddings were either canceled or postponed. With my weekends now free and after the eventual loosening of outdoor gatherings, although with certain precautions still necessary, I decided to visit some local towns' farmers markets. I imagined the beautiful colors of all the different kinds of fruits and vegetables would be a great subject for film photography.

What I found myself drawn to, however, was the people. While spending time at vendors' tables, I started to hear the other stories of how COVID had disrupted or changed lives. I met the farmer who typically sold to local restaurants, which were now closed. I met the young woman who had just landed her dream job at a NY hotel when the pandemic shut its doors. I met florists with no events to make bouquets for. I bought from food trucks with no township or county fairs to travel to. I met local bakers and artists who decided to use their quarantine time to try and make a 'go' of their business ideas. So many people who had to abruptly adjust to the drastic changes this year had dropped on us. But, so many spirits undiminished! These are not only local businesses, these are your local neighbors. We can all support each other.

I wanted to capture my photos on Kodak Portra 160 film. Kodak Portra captures colors in such a brilliant and natural way, especailly on bright summer days. I started my 25+ year career shooting film, and it feels so comfortable to now be switching back. My first few summer markets were macros and setups at vendors' tables with 35mm. These were my "getting to know you" sessions. By the end of summer, I was able to get so much more intimate and personal with my new friends as I switched to Portra 120 film and my Hasselblad for this portrait series.

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