THE FIRST TWO YEARS | THE 'M' FAMILY
Last week I reunited with Holly and Andy--the couple who began my business. That's a dramatic title: "The Couple Who Began it All". But it's an apt one.
In early 2013, I was coming off of a truly tough winter, perhaps one of the hardest I've experienced. I had been second shooting though, and felt the need to photograph still when I wasn't with others. (I've come to realize that for me this never goes away, this incessant need to photograph and preserve). I didn't have a clear idea of what I was doing, where I was going, or what I wanted. However, after Holly was engaged on a vacation in Mexico and returned only to ask me if I photographed "event photography", I found myself saying yes, and becoming her official wedding photographer. Of course, I never could have predicted what that YES brought to my life.
Our first session was boudoir, in Charlottesville. Holly's iPhone kept playing Christmas music (in late March) during our session, which had us laughing hysterically, and produced a set of naturally gorgeous images. The next morning, I met Andy, and we had an amazing day wandering through Charlottesville--the downtown mall, Jefferson Vineyards, and Pippin Hill--photographing who they are as a couple, at their favorite haunts. I look back on these images, still, and feel so incredibly proud of them. These two sessions were the first time I felt confident in what I was doing--I was inspired by the naturally unfolding events of the day.
I never told Andy to pick Holly up and kiss her--in fact, they were walking away from me. This was just something Andy did often, as a man who loves to protect his girl, and who cherishes her love. I didn't ask the coffeehouse to make a heart in Holly's latte, either. We were chilly, popped into Mudhouse for something warm before heading to our next locale, and, it just so happened that she was given a coffee with a heart in it.
Again on their wedding day, events unfolded without my prompting, my expectations. I didn't ask Holly to show me her earrings; this was an excited reaction that another check had been marked off on her "Wedding Day Prep" list. As us girls walked to a barn on the property of Early Mountain, Holly's younger sister Carly ran ahead of us. Once there, she wrapped herself around a beam in the barn, and I asked if I could photograph her. Even that ring shot wasn't "mine"--Carly set that up too.
The bridesmaids, in all of their beauty (and filthy mouths ;), laughing, enjoying the relaxed timeline of the day; Holly's sister Alana shaking her hand, congratulating her on "Leveling Up"; Holly's reaction to herself as a bride... I fell in love with Andy and Holly, their families. Their stories. These photos are why I decided to pursue photography in a different way, and why they are the couple who began my business.
Since their wedding in September 2013, I have had the honor of photographing these two and their growing family a few times. When I met up with them again last week, it hit me how special it is to be given permission to photograph a life. I love how Annie Leibovitz describes how she doesn't believe that she captures someone's essence, or character; she catches a moment, and who her subject was in that moment only. This is why I believe photography is so powerful; with it's ability to stop time, we are given a key to who we are, and what establishes us, fraction by fraction. Moment by moment.
Andy and Holly now have the most gorgeous baby girl, Mila. She's a force to be reckoned with, and these two are completely enamored by her. It's been fascinating to see how far we've all come, and I can only hope that I am given more opportunities to establish these types of relationships, and create these types of images.
Thank you, Andy & Holly, for sharing your lives with me, and for allowing me to share my heart with yours.