Seems somebody has a vendor crush on us and we’re super-duper flattered…..awwwww shucks.
Thank you JPC Event Group! We’re lovin’ you right back!!
Seems somebody has a vendor crush on us and we’re super-duper flattered…..awwwww shucks.
Thank you JPC Event Group! We’re lovin’ you right back!!
…I married the love of my life. Twelve years ago almost to the day, I met the love of my life (yes, John…that was you too. ;-))
We talked about what to do for such a big anniversary and toyed with this idea and that. And then what we came up with was just brilliant. Well, brilliant for John and me….you may read this and think we’re nuts. I’m ok with that, simply because we are.
John surprised me with the chance to go to my favorite artist’s home and choose any piece of art I want (Rachael Ryan). So a few things I need to point out: firstly, it was supposed to be a surprise and I ADORE surprises but for some reason I can sniff them out instantly and have, as of yet, to be surprised. Secondly, I have a budget I am not permitted to go over (dammit). Thirdly, it’s not just choosing a painting. John knows me and knows that I’m not really into stuff, but I cherish experiences. Truly, experiences are what form our memories so that’s way more important to me than a gift. That’s what makes this gift so special: it’s a gift AND an experience. We will take a bottle of wine (or 2) and take our time while perusing these paintings. I will ask Rachael all about the pieces that I gravitate towards. What inspired this one? What is the history of that one? What was in your mind while you painted these strokes? We will sip wine, we will laugh, talk and finally we will leave to come home with a painting that we picked out together, for both of us. Then we will open more wine to sip while we hang this painting and then my favorite part will come: we will sit next to each other, feet kicked up, resting heads on one another while we stare at our new painting and talk about the past 12 years of our lives, together.
Today is our actual anniversary but we will do this tomorrow. So for today, we decided a while ago that we should write each other a love letter. And so this morning, after coffee, getting the little one off to school and then scrambling to finish our letters, we sat and read.
And we’ve decided to share them with you. We’re sharing them because when 2 people have this much love for each other, they should share it. It may make your bad day good, it may make you look at your spouse today with a touch more love, it may just make you smile. Hopefully it will warm your heart a bit (and not make you throw up from this much goopiness this early in the morning).
We are wedding photographers. We see couples the very moment their promise to one another begins. And if you play your cards right and if you give of yourself unconditionally, your 10 year anniversary just might look like this:
“I saw the door open and there you were looking as if you walked out of a 1920’s movie. There you were; my future wife, beautiful. That moment I knew I had made the best decision of my life by asking you to marry me.
Siting down to write this is extremely easy and remarkably hard. How does one place lifetime(s) into a page? Thousands of conversations, thousands of walks, countless bottles of wine, countless long dinners shared and one continuous journey.
You are my wounded healer, my soul scrubber, my muse. I see you as a warrior princess, or is it a princess warrior? They both feel right. You are a dreamer, a do’er, my wife, my best friend, you are an elegant lady, a joker, a gypsy, a traveler, a heart stopper, a breath stealer and the only thing I need to stay alive. You are my connection to the divine. I know I have said that many times and it’s always true and I will continue to say it for lifetimes to come.
My love for you can be summed up in one word: grateful. Or better yet: grace. To be fully honest it takes lots of “grit” at times. I am grateful to be in love with you. I enjoy being in love with you every day of this journey and that must be what the meaning of grace is. The grit…(insert your own joke here).
It is that face, that smile, those eyes..it’s the words you speak, it’s the compassion reaching out from behind those eyes, it’s that glorious touch (that I will never stop asking for). Your touch goes deeper than the flesh, your touch goes deeper than my soul, your touch is the connection to us.
The words completion and connection feel right when I think about you. Nothing comes alive for me until I share it with you. The truth about those words become truer every time I look across the room…..your eyes light up, you smile, you point your finger to your eye then towards your heart and then to me…I fall deeper in love every time (to infinity and beyond).
You never stop impressing me. I watch your talent grow, daily. I think you are amazing as a mother; your words to help Ella navigate life are perfect. You are a perfect work in progress… You are a healer through your work and through your heart, guided by your words. You have given me purpose to be, purpose to grow, our love for each other has purpose grander than either one of us can explain, but yet we know it to be true.
10 years, a lifetime to come…thank you for being my wife. You are loved.
P.S. Dropped from eternity, placed in your belly, then into our arms, Ella our tiny pink piece of perfection. Forever she will be the grandest thing that we will ever create together.”
From me to John:
“Sometimes, when I look at you, all things become dismantled….I become dismantled. We shed our skin down to bones that disappear and then it’s just….light. One soul touching another until that light becomes so bright one cannot be distinguished from another. As it should be.
There are times when I am so touched deep in my being that I realize my soul is an extension of this universe…vast….connected….yet so intimate and so personal it’s as if what I am feeling we all feel at the same time. I feel a longing in my belly that reaches to my chest and overflows as tears into my eyes. Every cell in my body on fire and I swear if I were to be touched it would singe my skin. It is in those moments I think of you. I see your eyes looking at mine and I feel warm…like water must feel as it flows into whatever form nature needs in that moment. It flows….
And I see his face, as it looks back at me. To see that level of unconditional love…I never know whether to be grateful or scared. I suppose both. The weight of that responsibility, the lightness of that joy…how bittersweet.
I think of you all the time. You would never know that but I do. I’m awful at sharing my head. Even worse at sharing my soul but you know…I was built that way. It is a way that cannot be broken down in one lifetime. It’s a good thing you and I have been together a few times before and have many lifetimes to go.
I ponder your strength, your will. It is something I was not born with…something I have such a hard time understanding. You have a hard time understanding those without it. Somewhere in that middle we understand each other, eh? I thank my lucky stars for your will and strength, for without it our family would have been in shambles years ago.
The truth is we have never lost our newness, have we? So many times I have heard people talk of losing the love, losing the connection, losing the light that brought 2 people together. I have experienced it myself. Yet, I realized a while ago, surprisingly, or not maybe, that you and I have never lost our light. In fact, it burns brighter when we are together. Somehow it is more complete. I watch as so many couples mourn the love that once was. Sadly let go of the past excitement their relationship once held, as if knowing deep down that that is the way of love: deep, yet fleeting. How warm my heart felt to realize that our love has endured. Endured so much, yet has never wavered. It has never softened, never dulled. I believe at this point our love has its own pulse. It’s own heartbeat that beats so raw everyone in a room can hear it. They feel it and even envy it…but it is mine and it is yours. It is ours.
Today you said to me, after having been out for our afternoon drink, “You know what I like about me? When I have just a little too much to drink it makes me sappy for you.” Your glassy eyes stared up at me…all puppy dog. It’s those moments that remind me what a boy you are, in the sweetest and most innocent sense.
Other times your eyes are starry and full of promise. Promise of a future we can’t experience yet but we can both see and even taste. That’s one of my favorite things about you: though you are a realist on the surface, you are a dreamer in your heart. You only let that side out rarely and always briefly, but knowing it’s there makes me smile. It’s a bit of a secret that I know about you that you don’t even know.
And then, your voice is like deep mahogany or dark and rich, like the notes of a cello being played in a vast, cavernous room. Heavy in love, dripping with life…the echoing of far off places in your mind. When you share those moments with me I know to be quiet and listen. I know that those are the moments to savor. It is those moments when I can feel your soul growing into what has been intended for you. I see the universe in you on those days.
And so here it is. Our 10 year anniversary. I knew we’d make it and it doesn’t feel like 12 years that I’ve known you but I’m proud of us. The last 10 years has presented challenges that absolutely would have broken up most marriages. I’m so overwhelmed when I consider that instead of breaking us up, those mountains we climbed together brought us closer. I love you more than I can explain. I am more in love with you today than I was yesterday and I cannot wait to see how fully this love grows and magnifies in the years to come.
I am so proud of you, Love. The struggles, the strife, the joys and the woes. You have come through each shining brightly, ready to take on the next challenge.
What amazes me daily is how effortlessly you put yourself last in this marriage. While photographing a client recently, that was being photographed to present this gift to her soon-to-be husband, she asked what our secret was…what had we done differently that kept us together? And I thought for a moment and this is what I said:
“You have to love the other person more than you love yourself. And that may sound easy or it may sound obvious but it is much harder than you think. If I were married to any other man I would not have been able to do it. John is a living and breathing example everyday of putting yourself last, joyfully, to ensure his loved ones are taken care of. He is my example, daily. It’s because of his actions, daily, that I can attempt to put him before me. And it’s much harder for me, but having him with me everyday reminds me to be a better wife, mother and friend.”
Do you remember how many times I’ve said to you that I had so much energy as a child, just like Ella, but if I had harnessed that power effectively I could have probably conquered the world? Well I may not have had the strength to do that while growing up but I have it now, thanks to you. You gave me the gift of allowing me to live in my passion, to discover it, understand it, appreciate it and to finally control it and use it to bring happiness and joy, rather than fear and pain. You became my guide. You have always been my soft place to fall, graciously allowing me to fail, only to pick me back up, brush off and begin again.
You have allowed me to be me, unconditionally, patiently and lovingly. You have done more for me in the past 12 years to help mold the person I always knew I could be than anyone else in all my 40 years.
God brought you to me and I’d like to say it’s because He loves me so much but really, what have I ever done for Him? For some reason, He gave you to me. He brought you straight to me. You and Ella have been such gifts from the divine and I will cherish you both. I won’t question why, I will just love.
Everyone struggles. If you look at the lives around you, you will see that everyone has a time in their life when they are thrown to the lions, and they either survive or they don’t. But they are always given the chance for redemption. You will see that there is always a half life of each: one half of joy and happiness, one half of struggle and strife. My struggle and strife was on the front end of my life; yours, on the back end. And isn’t it funny that we meet right in the middle? Because of you I am no longer my past, and because of me you will never suffer alone.
Two souls, meeting in the middle, in love, acceptance, respect and most of all in happiness. For this and because of this I celebrate you. I celebrate 12 years of you and 12 years of me, growing together, loving together and reaching toward our future together.
Happy Ten Year Anniversary My Love.
From the very start J was absolutely convinced she would not be able to deliver whatever it was I needed from her during her session to get good photographs. Absolutely convinced. She kept giving me these little warnings here and there, with eyes wide open, that I may find it particularly difficult to work with her. But I have my ways…..muahahahahahahaha…(she says in a devilish voice with one eyebrow raised and a slick smile on her face).
I’ve said this before and I’ll say it again: it’s not up to my clients to know how behave in front of a camera. It’s up to moi. Phew! Makes you relax just a little, right? Here’s another whopper for you to digest: I don’t photograph models; I photograph everyday, beautiful, lovely women that have either never been in front of a professional photographer or it was so long ago they don’t even remember the experience. Therefore, I am your guide through this experience. I have been doing this for quite a while so I know how to get what I want from you. It’s true that some women take a little longer to relax than others but let me tell you: almost every time I show them the first few photos of themselves I get the *GASP!!* THAT’S ME?!? Yes. That’s you.
And it was no different with J. She had no idea that she actually snapped right into what I needed almost as soon as I picked up my camera. Wanna know why? Because I’ve done this before, I am a woman and I have enough experience to know how to get what I want. When I showed J a few photos she just couldn’t believe it was her. She did an incredible job and we had so much fun all afternoon.
Way to go J.
Gorgeous hair & makeup styling by Justine over yonder at Beauty Justified.
Sneak peek! Sneak peek! Rebecca and Joe were nice enough to invite us over to the lovely Columbus, OH to photograph their wedding at the Worthington Inn and what a wonderful weekend it was!
Now, don’t let these quietly romantic photos fool you…the dance floor was PACKED all night long and just wait till you see the photos we have of Joe rockin’ it out with his brother.
Here is the email I received from S when she inquired about reserving a session with me:
“I want the boudoir experience. I want to get made up, dress frilly, be surrounded by flowers, and be sexy. I’ve been digesting your site for the past few weeks. And wondering if I can do it. The photos and videos are amazing!!! These women have true beauty. I feel like I haven’t seen my true beauty in a while. I know it’s there. What a wonderful way to capture it back and have that proof of the photo to look back to.”
Ai yai yai….my ultimate, super-duper most-est ever-est favorite client ever. You tell me you want to the transformation, I tell you let’s jump in with both feet and never look back.
S and I pinned, talked, dreamed and on game day we were fully loaded with all kinds of wardrobe ideas and set and ready to go. S told me it was important to her to be able to capture part of the transformation so I got to work. What I didn’t know about S was that she has been on an inside transformative process for the past year. She spent this past year really digging deep, going deep into her innards to really find out who she truly is. And don’t just sneeze that off…if you’ve ever done that it’s a very exciting yet incredibly scary thing, all the while crossing your fingers that you come out on the other side better off. S regaled her experiences and her struggles but also the beauty and magic of it all. It was a fascinating conversation. And then she said “So you are part of this transformative process for me.” Slam. Dunk. Just when I thought the day couldn’t get any better and we hadn’t even started shooting yet!
We had a blast and watching S open up and really enjoy herself was a true gift. She was a bit nervous, yet confident and powerful all at once. I could see that she made the decision to enjoy herself, through and through. It was awesome to witness. And she brought it home for me. She listened, worked with me and nailed it.
And special thanks to my constant partner-in-crime Ms. Justine Kolano of Beauty Justified.
So, I send out a questionnaire to all of my clients once they reserve a session to get to know them a little better. It’s brief but the last question I ask is “How do you dream of being photographed?” Every woman gives a pretty detailed answer, including remarks such as: “I want to feel sexy”, or “I really like dark black and whites that use a lot of shadows, or “I want to feel beautiful, wear a big gown…I really like ethereal, dreamy photos”….etc. Here was J’s response: “I don’t like to get my photograph taken. I’m not sure how to answer this question. This question makes me uncomfortable.” My response: Challenge. Accepted.
And ya know what? The moment I lifted the camera to my eye, J snapped right in. She connected with the lens easily and all the way thru the session, when I showed her a few photos here and there, she would say “I can’t believe that’s me!” Yeppers! That’s you J! And as the session went on, the more confident J got. When we finished up I asked her how the experience was. She thought for a brief moment and responded “I’m proud of myself.” Challenge. Achieved.
Hair, makeup & wardrobe assistance: Justine Kolano of Beauty Justified.
Well, if you have to be in Pittsburgh during winter (no sun, cooooold temperatures….begging for Spring) then let it snow! Little did we know the day we met up that we would get one of the most beautiful snow days we’ve had in a long time! Made for some lovely photos.
Meet Nicolet & Greg. We had such an awesome time walking around and getting to know them. We’ll be photographing Nicolet & Greg’s wedding this November and even better: we just did an itsy bitsy e-session on this day just to get some quickie Save the Dates for N & G. We’ll be doing their full-on e-session coming up this May. So we get another fun day in the sun with these 2 and you get more of their loveliness on the blog this summer. Win/win!!