A couple of months after shooting a private performance by Peter Himmelman for a local Rabbi and his community, his wife got in touch to ask if I’d photograph his surprise 30th birthday party at The Westbury Hotel in London. As you may already know I love surprise birthday parties, so I was definitely in.

I’ve said it before, but there’s a special kind of atmosphere at a surprise party before the guest of honour arrives that makes them a lot of fun to shoot. Everyone’s ‘in on it’, including me, and there’s a spark in the atmosphere and lots more mischievous grins to be found in the hour or so before the guest of honour arrives. And of course there’s always at least one false alarm – “HE’S COMING! EVERYBODY READY? SSSSHHHHH!” – aaand it’s just another guest arriving. Fun! :)

I’d got a sense of how much love there was for the Rabbi during the Himmelman performance, but the emotion in the room that evening as he surveyed the vast room packed with people all there for him, and then later during speeches by his family and community, was rather humbling and uplifting. So between all that happiness, and the troupe of bongo players that suddenly arrived to provide the evening’s entertainment, a great night!

Here’s some of my favourite photos from the evening, and you can find out more about my event photography here. Thanks for stopping by!

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