Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Sophie and Ben in Italy: The Reception



Like most of us do, I sometimes find my family weird.. which explains perfectly why I am weird. And if you asked any of the extended family they would all agree without insult that we're... quirky. That's a good word. But for all our quirks... I have to say... I'm pretty sure I belong to one of the coolest families on the planet. I enjoy everyone's company. Genuinely... from my little cousins to my oldest grandparents - I actually can have a thrilling conversation. I can find common ground with all of them. I sat back and and enjoyed a piece of American cake (amazing!) under an Italian sky... and observed 3 generations of Bussells & Taylors join with Chengs. How strange that time has not changed anybody's energy level. There I watched my uncle dance along side Sophie's new father-in-law Terrance and thought "weird... he's so much like my Dad"... which I don't think very often about anyone. I felt exhausted just watching these two families. Is everyone this full of spunk and vitality or was this the pivotal common denominator that Sophie and Ben share? My grandparents in their 80s danced and chatted till 2 am. Well... specifically my Grandfather danced- his counterparts more or less swayed... he got DOWN! And then like some impossible miracle everyone showed up sober and smiling at the next day's brunch. If genetics count for anything... I have no excuse for being jet lagged 2 weeks post Europe return. I am lucky to be tied to such a crazy and incredible bunch. Sophie and Ben - may your lives be as wonderful as your wedding!! It was stupendously beautiful! As much as the venue made it what it was... I think your family and guests were the real stars of the show. I cannot wait to see the chaos that ensues when we all try to do christmas together one day. I digress.... I love you both. Thank you so much again for giving me the opportunity. Photographing such wonderful people in such a stunning location will always be remembered as a highlight of my career. And Chengs... I feel like I've known you forever already. Welcome to the family!

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Sophie and Ben in Italy: The Portraits

Shooting in this location was Downton Abbey meets Under the Tuscan Sun. Seriously. There was virtually no way to not get gorgeous portraits. Castles and vineyards and perfect golden light. It drizzled in the morning and I was pumping everyone up for moody dark skies (I love those too) but I'm grateful that we got that beautiful sun as cream on the top of an already unbelievable location to shoot in. From a photographer's perspective it was every bit as wonderful as I imagined it. Thank you Sophie for lugging that dress down a dirt road to that vineyard to satisfy a wish I'd always had.... you guys are super awesome! :)

Friday, June 27, 2014

Sophie and Ben in Italy: The Ceremony

Sophie called me months back to ask if I would photograph her wedding. As previously mentioned, she is my cousin.  My throat developed an immediate knot in it. Many emotions all at once. It was very flattering to be asked but I stalled with hesitation for some reason... it made me more nervous than usual.  She hung up and called my other cousin Hannah in panic - "everyone has such high expectations of this wedding! Sarah was actually scared to accept the job!". We were all soon to find out that there was no need for concern that anyone's hopes would be dashed. Sophie and Ben kept their venue a secret. It was somewhere near Florence... that's all we knew. Show up for the bus on the right day, and you would be granted passage to some undisclosed location where none of us were quite sure what to expect. The day before the wedding a lucky few were allowed to see "the spot" and the minute the giant front gate swung open, I knew my own ideas would be exceeded. Surreal was a good way to describe it. The wedding turned out to be at Castello di Vincigliata - (see http://castellodivincigliata.it/it/castello.php), a castle atop a Tuscan hillside, surrounded by vineyards with a magnificent view of Florence. The ceremony was in the gardens. I found the sermon to be somber and serious, yet uplifting and heartfelt... the poetry and scriptures read were reflective of the real challenges that a marriage and a life faces and the sometimes hard reality of God's expectations of our relationship... and I felt nearer to the creator when it was finished. That part I wasn't expecting... it was the real surprise of the day for me. And after my initial hesitation it turned out that the wedding was so photogenic that it would have been hard to mess up. God gave us perfect weather and lots of raw emotion. What more could a photographer ask for? I just hope for those that weren't there (my immediate family unfortunately among others missed it) that I was able to capture the essence of what this day was for you to see!