Martin’s Photo Taught Me to Slow Down


Each May I photograph portraits of about 300 children on their First Communion Day. And each child’s picture is so important and even though I try, I often don’t get a chance to speak more than just a few words with each kid .

This is a photo of one of the 100+ goofy – loud – laughing kids that I photographed at St Ann Parish in Dorchester in May 2012.


Martin Richard – May 2012

This is Martin Richard. Martin died in the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013. And until the day he died, this was probably just a nice photo of him that hung on the wall of the Richard’s home.

A few days after the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing I received a call from a TV station to ask if they could use the slideshow that i created from the 2012 St Ann Parish first communion pictures. I was honored and perplexed … why did they want the video?  And they they told me that I had photographed Martin.

A feeling of sadness … then anger came over me as I realized that in haste to “keep it moving” that day that I didn’t get to know Martin or any of the kids .

That May when I went to St Ann to photograph First Communion pictures, I spoke with Father Sean ( who was with the Richard family during their time of grief) and told him that I wanted to spend a few extra moments speaking with each child as I photographed them. Father Sean smiled, put his hand on my shoulder and said that would be just fine.

We all heal in different ways I guess. I’m not sure that the kids liked the extra conversation, but I did.

The moments of our lives pass so quickly, they soon blur and fade away.

But a photograph waits patiently for us until we need it – to comfort us, make us laugh and to help us remember.

I smile now when I look at this picture of Martin. How lucky I was to have met him.


Dan Busler is a full service Boston-based professional Portrait, Live Performance and Event photographer with studios located in the historic Hogie Bear Building – Walpole MA. By the Artist, for the Artist. 781-352-4863

The Boston Marathon – It’s So Much More than a Race – Video

For the past few years I’ve had the honor to photograph the Boston Marathon for Travis Roy Foundation. Each year dedicated supporters of the foundation run the 26 mile 385 yard course and I am there to get some images of them as they pass the 25 mile point where Travis waits on the sideline to greet them, cheer them on and inspire them.

This year marked the 120th Boston Marathon.  By the time I started photographing the race, the elite runners had already passed and had won the race hours before. As exciting as seeing those first runners pass is, I find the next wave of runners to be more exciting.

Yes, it’s their costumes or banners or the fact that they are not running to be the fastest that makes them most interesting to me. They run up the sidelines and slap hands with the cheering crowds, some cry when they see family and friends because they are of course so happy to see them, but also because they are proud of their achievement. Often they are running in support of a charity or a cause.

And then there are the iconic runners, they are survivors of the marathon bombing or in wheelchairs or now older, they have run the marathon for many years.

26.2 miles is a test of endurance, a show of support for a charity, a chance to experience a legendary event. It is much more than a race.

I shot hundreds of images of the runners, here are just a few.





Dan Busler is a professional portrait, performance and event photographer with studios located south of Boston in Walpole MA. You can see more of his work at

You .. yes You are Living History

One year ago – on “Marathon Monday” 2013 here in Boston – before we knew anything about the bombings other than they had happened, I wrote about how that day; actually each day of our lives or that matter, something “historic” was happening. Something that we will one day look back upon and think how important that event had become to us. 

It might be the first time your child puts on skates and steps on the ice, or auditions for the school play and gets a part, or tells you that they got into medical school or that they want to move to California after they graduate from college. 

I got a bit of a surprise when a short time after last year’s marathon I received a call from a Canadian TV station to ask if they could use a video and some photographs that I had taken of Martin Richards [one of those who lost their life ] at his First Communion … and I had no idea that I had met and photographed Martin. 

So in honor of Martin and as a reminder to me …Here is that post from last year:


I am writing today’s post on Monday April 15, 2013. It’s “Marathon Monday” here in Boston MA and today bombs exploded at the marathon’s finish line and forever changed history. 

I am guessing that this day will be remembered for as long as there is a Boston Marathon – and whenever people talk about the Marathon they will say, “where were you the day the bombs exploded?”

It’s that moment when we saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964, the news flash that Princess Diana or President Kennedy had been killed or the World Trade Center disaster 

Or maybe it’s the birth of your child, your Son or Daughter hitting a home run or scoring a goal or leaving for college.

During those moments did we sit back and think … “I have just witnessed history” ? 

No, of course not, it didn’t feel like history, it felt like “now”. Well maybe you did, but then you had to deal with the next historical moment in your life. 

Today, as sad as the events (which are still unfolding as I write) are – they will be history. They will change everything – nothing will ever be the same.

I can speak from experience that we need to acknowledge every small miracle in our lives. So jump out of your chair and applaud for every song at your kid’s concert, hug your best friend when you see them, kiss your Son and Daughter good-bye every time they leave the house … even in front of their friends. 

Because one day you will look back … and realize that you are living history and “You” yourself are “living history” as well.  

Dan Busler Phoptography is located just south of Boston in Walpole MA and specializes in portraits, headshot and events    781-352-4863

Boston Marathon Bombings – A Letter from Anita that was never sent – Until Today

You will most likely remember where you were and who you were with and what you did when you first heard ” Did you hear ? – there was just an explosion at the finish line at the marathon”

And other than calling everyone you knew who may have been at the marathon – that is probably the last thing you remember about that day. 

There were over 300 people injured by the blast.  Four people died. 

One was a little boy named Martin Richard. 

I had the honor to meet Martin, when I photographed the First Communion at St Ann Parish in Dorchester MA –  May 2012. This type of day is a bit “rapid fire photography” so I never knew that I had taken Martin’s picture until I was contacted by a TV show producer who called to ask if they could use a video that I had created from pictures and video of the day.

Today (September 18, 2013) I received an Email message from Anita that included a note that she had written to me a few days after the bombing, but had never sent. I don’t know Anita, so all I could do today was to respond to her with a thank you note. 

From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Date: Wed, 18 Sep 2013 17:56:14 -0400

Dear Dan,

I was reminded of the little boy Martin Richard because of a recent article about his sister.   I never sent you this memo (see below) dated April 16th because I thought it was not the right time to do so (right after the event).   But, I sent it to myself, so I would remember the work you did.  At the time, I was hoping to find a video of Martin and that video was yours, from the May 2012 Holy Communion at the St. Ann’s Parish.  I know you surely know this, but wanted to say it anyway – what you do REALLY matters.  Your photography is beautiful.   Thanks for giving us a glimpse of who little Martin was.   I wish you, his family and all those affected by the bombings a future of peace, good health and happiness.


—–Original Message—–
From: xxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Sent: Tue, Apr 16, 2013 6:12 pm
Subject: Martin – NOT SENT TO DAN BUSLER

Dear Dan,

I only came to know your work because of little Martin.  I didn’t know him (nor his family), except for the sweet photo of him dressed up in his formal white suit, one of the few photos posted on various sites.    Then, I read that he was a member (with his family) of St. Ann’s Parish.  When I did a search on youtube, your video of the May 2012 Holy Communion popped up, and there was Martin in various spots, including at the end, when the children were singing.  

I just wanted to acknowledge your beautiful work, and let you know that what you do really matters.   

We are all standing with Martin’s family and with all of Boston.




I love to take pictures – and I take tens of thousands of pictures every year . They are all important, even when at first they just seem to be a First Communion Day. One day, they will be precious.

So please take photographs everyday – take them as you child leaves for school, as they sleep in the chair in front of the TV, as your husband cooks burgers on the grill in his favorite, but completely destroyed T-shirt from the Kiss concert he went to in 1987. Take them of Grandma at a holiday gathering.

Because every picture is important – so cherish those shoe boxes full of “bad pictures”. Those grainy, grey, orange, under/over exposed, torn, wrinkled, “honey – you have to throw these out” candids from your Sister’s wedding pictures are important.

I’m so happy about the day that I photographed a little boy at his First Communion … and even though I didn’t say hello to him … (at least I don’t remember if I did), I hope that I at least smiled. 

Thanks Anita for your note – you made my day.