Why “Golden Door” Photography?

Statue of Liberty holding torch over the harbor in New York City

The short answer

The idea of the “golden door” was taken from the last line of the poem inscribed on the pedestal of Statue of Liberty.

Here’s the poem:

The New Colossus

by Emma Lazarus

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!

Blue and yellow sky over New York and New Jersey harbor

The long answer

There are a million photographers with companies named after themselves. And that’s not a bad thing. But I wanted to be different. I wanted my company to be different.

I love taking pictures, but pictures aren’t why I started this photography company. I started this company to tell stories. And not one kind of story for one kind of person, but varied, honest stories of big and small moments for all kinds of humans. I want the golden door to say, “Whoever you are, you are welcome here. Your story matters.”

Bustling wide view of Grand Central Station in New York

I believe that our stories, our memories, shape who we are and how we exist in the world. I believe we must hold our past and our future simultaneously to move smoothly through this life. I believe there is so much worth celebrating. I want the golden door to say “Whoever you are, your story – your life – has value.”

Emma Lazarus was a descendant of Jewish immigrants and a fierce advocate for refugees. Her poem, and the Statue of Liberty itself, became iconic symbols of welcome, acceptance, and opportunity in the United States. Her words feel like the images that stir my soul. They feel exciting, painful, beautiful. They feel like sitting right at the cusp of something – a birth, a wedding, a death – a time of tumult and hope, a time of change. I want the golden door to say, “You’re moving through something powerful and you are safe.”

Wide view of Manhattan skyline from the water

All I want, more than anything, is to cast a golden light upon your moments. To lift a lamp (or a camera) to your human stories of love:

  • Like walking down that aisle to continue your life as married partners
  • Like the birth of a child into the bright and shining world
  • Like passing out of this world, surrounded by the warmth of family, holding you tight before letting you go

Stepping forward gracefully demands strength. Whatever you do, however you live, whomever you love, your bravery astounds me. I want to capture it vividly. I want the golden door to say, “This is the stuff of life. Let’s celebrate it together.”

Golden Door Photography logo seal

I’m right there with you, cheering you on as you take each step.

With warmth and acceptance.

With solidarity and a camera.

That’s the meaning of the golden door.

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