Portraits of Elizabeth Kolbert for the Guardian

I spent a lovely late winter afternoon with Pulitzer Prize-winning author and New Yorker staff writer Elizabeth Kolbert near her home in far northwestern Massachusetts to accompany an interview in the Guardian, my first assignment for the publication. Her recent books focus on climate change, so outdoors and surrounded by trees seemed perfect for the pictures.

We stomped around in the snow for a bit…I’m sure if someone was watching it would’ve been pretty funny to see me moving sandbags and lightstands around while trying not to make too many footprints near where I wanted her to stand for each picture.

Boston-area restaurants closed due to the pandemic

So many restaurants in the Boston area closed temporarily over the winter due to the pandemic. Some called it "hibernation" while others bristle at that term. Mostly for the historical record, I set out over the course of a few days to photograph many of the shuttered storefronts and the sometimes handwritten letters posted on their doors thanking costumers and neighbors for the support and hoping for better days. The restaurants here are in Boston, Cambridge, and Somerville.

New London’s restaurants during the pandemic for NBC News

I spent an afternoon in New London, Connecticut, for a story for NBC News about how restaurants in the coastal town are dealing with the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. From restrictions on indoor dining to decreased foot traffic in the downtown business district to people's fear of contracting the virus in public settings, it hasn't been easy for the businesses this year. I profiled a handful of businesses and the mayor, who remains cautiously optimistic about the future. But walking downtown and seeing empty sidewalks and closed storefronts on a weekday afternoon with nice weather, it seems like the difficulties will be felt for quite a while longer.

Thanks to Matt for the call, my first assignment with NBC News. You can read the piece here: 'I'm going to church more': Restaurant owners wonder whether they'll survive winter

Legal cannabis home-grow for Northeast Leaf

I spent an afternoon in western Massachusetts photographing a legal outdoor cannabis home grow operation in a residential backyard for Northeast Leaf, a new magazine covering the marijuana industry in New England and part of the Leaf Nation family of publications around the US. I don't know too much about cannabis culture, so it took extra effort keeping track of the names of all the strains being grown and parts of the plants being harvested.

Biobot Analytics for Bloomberg Businessweek

In early April, during the first few weeks of the coronavirus pandemic, I heard about a lab in the Boston area that was testing municipal waste water and sewage as a way of discovering COVID-19 infection rates in a community. After a little research, I pitched the story of Biobot Analytics to Bloomberg Businessweek, and happily, editors there were interested. A few weeks later, I was in the lab on a late Friday afternoon, photographing the lab in operation as they organized hundreds of samples, prepped water for analysis, and collated data. I also had a short portrait session with one of Biobot's founders and CEO,

As it turns out, the lab was an offshoot of the Eric Alm's lab at MIT, which also started the OpenBiome project, photographed in 2014 for the Chronicle of Higher Education.

A big thanks to editors Jane and Ryan for helping make this story end up in print!

Provincetown during the Pandemic for the New York Times

For the New York Times, I spent an evening in Provincetown photographing the city's response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including their Town Ambassador program and an outdoor performance of the The Judy & Varla Show at the Crown & Anchor. The entire downtown area of Provincetown has been made a mandatory mask zone 24 hours a day and nightclubs, a mainstay of the city in summers, have not been allowed to open.

It was quite the sight seeing the normally-bustling streets almost empty at 11pm--the owner of a pedicab company in Provincetown told me that's right when things would really be getting going in previous summers.

Thanks to Jessie for the call!

error: All images and text © M. Scott Brauer 2005-present