SW Portland has a lovely secret garden in an old, elegant neighborhood. I will not identify it here because it is a somewhat untrammeled space with neighbors who might like to keep it that way. On an early September afternoon, I had the pleasure of working with Sara and Kathleen and their wonderfully attentive crowd of family and friends. Anyone peeking into that garden was seeing a sumptuous feast and a lot of relaxed, friendly conversations… a perfect combination.
As the day moved towards twilight, the toasting glasses waved in the softer light. At any wedding, you can gauge the deep friendships as you listen to the little gasps and laughing during the toasts, especially with an open mic. This couple has earned the love of their people and it was great to witness that.
At the end of the day, #LoveWins is not just a hashtag. It is an abiding truth and no one should have the desire or the power to interfere.
The wind was up on that September day in 2000… normal, I’m sure, since Rowena Crest is high above the mighty Columbia River. We had hiked up to the crest from a sweet little private property. Ever the Oregonian requirement, everyone wore sensible shoes even if they carried a party pair.
There was a slightly sheltered circle on the bluff where the ceremony was set to happen. The barn, out in the open, was being staged as a place for a toast afterward before everyone was to hike back down to the dinner party. I remember the bright and unexpected sound of many glasses breaking as they hit the gravel and we all looked over to see the tablecloth losing the battle with the wind. It didn’t deter anyone from enjoying the festivities except for the delicate clean up… that took some patience.
After the toasts, while the crowd started down to the party, we took some sun drenched minutes and played with the wind in front of the camera… it was a treat to see them relax so thoroughly in each other’s company.
Dawn and Jenna were pioneers ahead of their time in this lovely wedding outing but they were so perfectly paired I can’t imagine anyone saying nay to them. They met as bike messengers… a very Portland sort of beginning. After the wedding, they packed up and moved to sunnier Colorado and they have been missed here, no doubt.
As a side note, I have been pulling some old favorites from my film archives because I finally have some software worthy of making scrumptious scans. It is almost like having an actual darkroom again. ;0)
Anna and her wife, Elizabeth, came to pick up their wedding album today. The cover, a rich teal blue leather, will really fit in with their art filled house. These two worked closely with me to plan their book… the hardest part was the choosing of the images to use. From there, the layouts went through a few revisions before we were all satisfied. As they opened the album, I was very pleased to see the reactions across my table. In a much earlier meeting, I remember them saying that even though the images look nice on a computer screen, it’s not the same as sitting next to your love on a comfortable couch… turning the pages together.
Some photographers do everything for you in the design process. They choose the images and put it all together and serve it up… maybe not super personal but easy and ready to go. I’m sure that can be a good thing in many ways but I prefer to tailor the album to fit my couples. I’m always pleasantly surprised to see that some of my quirkier shots were included… images that really caught something emotionally true in their crowd. If a wedding album can make you laugh and cry and remember wonderful things, then I have done a good job.
This couple was groovin’ from a seated position… the baby, almost due, probably enjoyed the dance! ;0)
There is a Eugene neighborhood near and dear to their hearts so these brides made their wedding fit the places they hang out. Anna and Elizabeth chose their reception space first. Hands down, the Falling Sky Deli and Pourhouse was at the top of their list, the go-to place to enjoy the company of friends and great food. Once that decision was made, they expanded the search to find a ceremony site within walking distance. Ninkasi Brewing Company, a few blocks away, proved to be the perfect match. On that sunny September day, the world revolved around a happy couple cheered by many friends and family… all ready to share that Eugene vibe. ;0)
I’m starting to design their wedding album this week and part of that process is the choosing of the images. I’m always pleased to see what gets chosen. The post production at this point is fun… it’s a chance to make each image sing a little. Judging from their choices, this album is going to make them smile for many years to come.
The Ancient Sumerians worshipped the beer they made and praised the goddess Ninkasi for the miracle of fermentation. They understood the value of beer: it gave quality to life.
The question that gets asked is “When should we do our family and wedding party photos?” The answer that you will hear from me is, do them ahead of the ceremony if you can… with very few exceptions it is the best route for a wedding day full of emotional truths.
Look at it this way, if all of the planned group photos are done beforehand, then you both get to enjoy your crowd fully and immediately… that makes them happy, too. ;0) Imagine the difference between that and having to disconnect for an hour of family shots!
How about the portraits of just the two of you, you ask? Spend some time with your people and, depending on the light, take a little time for some romantic portraits. You will be breathing again by then and relaxed enough to be in the moment for some very special images.
Just about every wedding has a timeline that will allow a couple of short sessions in sweet light… your photographer should line out the times that might work best for your particular day. Trust me… you won’t regret having made the effort. Years from now you will have those lovely pictures of the two of you… forever young and so very much in love.
Cool is an attitude. Cool is a thing you can’t really fake. Mia and Melissa were both concerned about having a camera pointed at them… the nerves were quite visible at the beginning and flared occasionally throughout their wedding day. They got married at the Jupiter Hotel which is rife with interesting spaces… it isn’t your typical wedding venue but it was perfect for them.
As the day goes by, I can tell if I’m getting the good stuff but they have no way of knowing so it’s a matter of trust. The thing that worked in our favor was that these two were inherently cool in their own relationship… I didn’t see much cheesy behavior or out of character posing. Because of that, I was able to get a very real day out of them and that is what I am here to do.
If you are looking for good storytelling photography that is laced with interesting portraits, come see me, ok? ;0)
Marriage Equality has finally made it to the halls of the Supreme Court. It seems like it has taken forever. In recent reality, it has been a decade of two steps forward and three steps back… progress has been slow but surprisingly steady and I am pleased to see it.
Equality is defined as the state of being equal especially in status, rights and opportunities. Seriously, how does any of that get in the way of anyone else’s rights and opportunities? Go SCOTUS! Let’s hope they can reach a fair and gentle decision soon.
With any luck, this week will be the turning point in a long overdue balance. The idea that anyone in our country is considered less than equal should have been corrected a long time ago. Let’s hope that the Supreme Court gets it right… it’s time for marriage equality.
Elizabeth Taylor said it pretty well… “There is no gay agenda – it’s a human agenda. All of us should be treated the same… Long live love.”
President Obama did the right thing last week. We are past due on this question of who gets to love someone. Alexis and Kim got married a few years back even if some people didn’t recognize that as a marriage. Believe me, they were meant for each other.
I am one of many who thinks you should be able to marry the one you love. Period. With any luck, this world will come to see that there are no rules in this except those written by the heart.