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Ever since I was 17 I’ve had a thing for cameras. I’ve got quite a collection; A few 35mm film cameras, two 6x7s, a 6×4.5, Holga, Lomo, a twin lens, and my stable of digital equipment. But there’s one very small camera that I never leave home without, my iPhone. The few times that I’ve misplaced or lost my phone, my biggest fear is that I’ll miss the chance to photograph some interesting person or moment. There’s always some element that draws me in to take a picture. It may take 100 frames until the right elements align or as I put it, the magic happens. I’ve found that strapped with my iPhone, headphones, and maybe even a cup of coffee to sip on, I can really become inconspicuous.
Up until this point my iPhone photos have been like a coveted collection of miniatures in my Instagram gallery. This New Year, as a gift to myself, I worked long and hard to cull my favorites out of the thousands of photos I’ve taken with this camera over the last two years. It’s been a long time coming.
Wishing you all a wonderful 2014!
To watch this slideshow press play and then pause to let it load.
Vanessa met Lempe while studying on a semester abroad in Senegal. After many late nights up drinking tea and Lempe fielding Vanessa’s endless questions, the two started dating. Their road wasn’t easy because she had to go back to the U.S. in a few months. It was 3 years before she made it back to Senegal and then only for 4 months. The next trip though, they married in Senegal! 3 years later they are back living in California together. When I got an email from Vanessa telling me that they were planning a California wedding and that she’d been hoping I’d photograph her wedding ever since I photographed her friend Caitlin’s wedding 2 years prior, I was so excited. Knowing that someone really connects with me and my work makes documenting their special time that much more precious. Plus I adored her when I met her.
The wedding was held at Vanessa’s family’s property in the gorgeous Redwood country of Garberville, California, an area with so much meaning to them. Her father spent the most part of the year lovingly preparing their land and garden for the festivities. They had to wait to lock in a date until her brother knew he would be able to get leave from the army. He also officiated their wedding. A toast given by Vanessa’s mom in the Pig Latin type language that Vanessa used to speak with her friends was a hilarious highlight.
Lempe’s father was the only family member that was able to make the long trip from Senegal. He is a police officer back home and speaks Senegalese and French. In the slideshow below there is a shot of Vanessa translating his speech for him, and Lempe’s reaction to follow. Since he is Muslim, Lempe’s father doesn’t drink alcohol. I love the shot of Scott (Caitlin’s husband) secretly handing Lempe a flask so he could sneak some wedding day booze without his father noticing.
One more great tidbit, their dress requirement was to add an element of flair!
Vanessa was so sweet to send me a great Zouk song to go with the slideshow and the love poem read at their ceremony which follows.
It’s best to let the slideshow load before watching it.
Love by Roy Croft
I love you
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.
I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.
I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can’t help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find
I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple.
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.
I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good.
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.
Justin and Katy live just up the road from me in San Pancho and run an outstanding wedding design and coordination company called Playa Bliss Weddings. When they asked me to photograph their wedding I was truly honored. I love that they adore the area and chose to get married in the town church and have some mariachi dancing and hang out time in the plaza with the locals. I had to do a whole slideshow to tell this story.
Here is the slideshow of their day. It’s best to let it load before pressing play.
Micah and Amanda’s recipe for the wedding of their dreams
1 Texan boy
1 Cajun girl
Family and great friends to taste
1 gorgeous villa overlooking the ocean
1 amazing Mexican beach
1 gigantic, warm sun
Lots of palm trees The Dazzling Details coordinating, designing, and turning said villa into a classy, fantasy world
Cocktails, cervezas, and a little water here and there
His and hers cowboy boots a must
Every kind of cheesecake you can imagine
1 dance floor to get down on
2 fire dancers and 1 drummer
1 pool to cool off in when the festivities wind down
1 best friend to officiate the union
And last but definitely not least, a whole lotta love
We made a slideshow with Amanda and Micah’s faves AND my faves which makes for a whole lot of faves so grab a big glass of something good and enjoy.
Alex and Matt had a gorgeous wedding at the Four Seasons in Punta de Mita, Mexico. The stunning back drop, this lovely couple, and the decorating talents of Alex and her mom made this wedding a dream to photograph. Just when I thought it couldn’t get better, they decided just before I left on their wedding night to do a Trash the Dress session in the awesome bohemian surf town of Sayulita. I’m a junky for local Mexican scenery coupled with a bride and a groom! Congratulations Matt and Alex!
I met these two a few months before their wedding and immediately knew that I was going to love working with them. We realized we had a few mutual friends in the art and music world and a lot in common: Zak’s a DJ and producer and I used to DJ and do music photography. To make things even better, they adored the idea of doing a Day After/Trash the Dress session in the cemetery…I was really looking forward to that! My fabulous second shooter Kiersten Rowland and I had a blast documenting their wedding. Zak and Tricia looked stunning and their day was amazing with a sunset ceremony, mariachis, a cigar roller, fireworks, and breath taking views all coordinated by the lovely Laura Cardenas of I Do Vallarta. And their day-after session…well…you’ll see how awesome it was. There is a full slideshow at the bottom.
A reflection in the pool…
As a nod to Zak’s DJ and producing career I had to start our Day After Session at the Luz y Sonido (Light and Sound) DJ truck. I have a thing for those traveling DJ trucks.
Something about this one reminds me of a film still.
We rolled up to the cemetery just as they were closing and I had to beg the caretaker to let us in for just 5 minutes. We got really caught up in shooting and they locked us in the cemetery!! There we were, Zak with his injured knee and Tricia in her gown, discussing how we could jump over the wall onto my car. Luckily a guy at the corner store saw our little heads peaking over the wall and came over with a key to let us out. Pheeew. They are troopers.