Monthly Archive for June 2009
Jennifer and Mark are about as easygoing a couple as you could ever hope to know. They were thoughtful enough to pamper their guests with a cocktail hour before the wedding at the House of Sweden on the Georgetown Waterfront. It is a striking building with very clean lines, beautiful light and walls of glass.
The ceremony went the traditional Jewish route with a prayer in Korean mixed in at the end. And after a champagne toast following the ceremony the guests departed for Woo Lae Oak Restaurant in Tysons Corner where they were treated to tasty Korean food, Soju (a liquor made from sweet potatoes) and a Pyebaek ceremony, which is a Korean wedding custom which is traditionally held a few days after the official ceremony with just the groom’s family. However, like many modern Korean weddings in the United States, they held the ceremony at the reception and included the bride’s family.
Today I covered an event for The American Chamber of Commerce in Egypt (AmCham Egypt), the Business Council for International Understanding (BCIU), and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce at the Ritz Carlton which featured Dr. Tarek Kamel, Egyptian Minister of Communications & Information Technology; Aneesh Chopra, U.S. Chief Technology Officer, White House Office of Science and Technology Policy; and a number of other notables. Here are a few of my favorites from the event. The first is of Aneesh Chopra shortly after the end of the event as he is about to be interviewed and the second is of Dr. Kamel who was having a great time talking with a group of people.
Almost ten years ago, Sasha Chanoff traveled into a crowded ICRC refugee center near Kinshasa with a list of 113 names of Tutsi refugees that he was authorized to take from the violence and torture of Congo’s civil war back to the United States. He met Rose Mapendo whose family had been arrested and imprisoned by Congolese soldiers who later killed her husband. She survived for over a year in a prison camp with her seven children giving birth to premature twins on the hard floor where she had to beg for a piece of bamboo to cut their umbilical cords.
Rose and her family were not on Sasha’s list, and his team had to wrestle with the certainty that if left in the camp her twins would die and the potential for jeopardizing the entire mission by adding people to the flight they had arranged. They made their decision and today Rose lives in Arizona with her family and works with Sasha. Together, they and a small team make up Mapendo International working to help those affected by war and conflict that have been missed by humanitarian assistance. They do amazing work and I was touched by this story. It is just one in millions and should make us all stop and consider the luxury of freedom and safety that we enjoy.
When I met Rose in her hotel room in Washington this week she greeted a documentary film crew that has been following her for two years with a huge grin and big hugs. In passing she mentioned that she loves giving hugs and how tall I was. Before I left, I said, “how about that hug now?” She threw her arms around me and I felt myself starting to tear up. She is amazing and has experienced hardships that I will likely never know. It’s hard to describe how it felt but I am a changed person. This is another example of why I feel so lucky to be a photojournalist. Now I feel much more compelled to spend more of my time volunteering and though my work making a difference in someone’s life.
Please read the story in the Boston Globe, visit Mapendo International and consider making a donation.
The French magazine Challenges just published a portrait I took of Shai Agassi who is Founder and CEO of Better Place which is a leading electric vehicle services provider that is focused on sustainable transportation with zero-emission electric vehicles powered by electricity from renewable sources. The article is here and you can read more about Better Place here.
About Jay Premack
Jay is an unobtrusive documentarian, who insists that the best pictures happen when events unfold naturally. As an individual, Jay is pretty laid back, a demeanor that’s ideal for weddings. Amidst orchestrated chaos, he’s a calming presence.
Learn more about Jay