October 28, 2015
Brooklyn Bridge and Tribeca sessions will always hold a special place in my heart since its been my neighborhood for the last 5 years. I’ve got some big changes coming up and am so excited to make Los Angeles my home once again, but I will miss this terribly. Julie and Anthony are very sweet (and very fashionable) French couple who were on their honeymoon in New York after their wedding in France and wanted to do a fun and distinctly “New York” engagement session so we had a wonderful Fall morning running around on the Brooklyn Bridge and the streets of Tribeca. I was absolutely in love with her shoes, which a friend of hers made! I love getting to meet amazing couples from all over the world and photograph their New York City love story. As I transition into my Los Angeles move I know I’ll definitely be back for lots more city sessions next year!
October 26, 2015
This will always be one of my favorite bridal portraits. This bride was so gorgeous and sweet and in every other photo of the day she is smiling or laughing and they are so full of joy- as all weddings should be! However in between all those smiles and laughs are some quiet moments where the bride or groom find a moment alone and I catch a quick glimpse of the emotional magnitude of the day. There’s a famous photograph of Marilyn Monroe taken by Richard Avedon that Avedon called his most authentic portrait of the beautiful icon, revealing the true personality underneath the icon. Avedon said, “For hours she danced and sang and flirted and did this thing that’s—she did Marilyn Monroe. And then there was the inevitable drop. And when the night was over and the white wine was over and the dancing was over, she sat in the corner like a child, with everything gone. I saw her sitting quietly without expression on her face, and I walked towards her but I wouldn’t photograph her without her knowledge of it. And as I came with the camera, I saw that she was not saying no.”1 By keeping his eyes open Avedon was able to capture the beauty and the truth behind the facade of Marilyn Monroe. I’m not trying to say by any means that this super sweet bride- or any of my lovely brides- are putting on the same level of performance as Marilyn Monroe, most brides are genuinely bursting at the seams with excitement and joy on their wedding day, which is one of the things that makes my job so much fun. However smiling for hours for the camera is always going to be somewhat of a performance and sometimes there is this quiet moment of reflection where you can scratch the surface of some of the other emotions that come with the day. This image has always reminded me of the one of Marilyn and reminds me to never put down my down my camera because sometimes the best photo happens as soon as I say “we got it!”
On the technical side there are also a few other reasons I love this photo. It shows off a hint of the bride’s organic bouquet, which fit in perfect with the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens setting. It was during Cherry Blossom season and the pink magnolias behind her immediately give context in a subtle way to the season and location. One of my favorite details of the bride’s dress was the gorgeous long sleeve lace sheer overlay that she wore for the reception and I loved how the raw lace scalloped up towards her neck in the center and I love how the triangle of the lace and the triangle of her chin pointed a little downwards create an opposing symmetry in the center of the frame.
This was shot on my Contax 645 on Kodak Portra 400 at F2.0, metered at 200 and processed by Richard Photo Lab.
October 19, 2015
I love a dramatic photograph. Epic is one of my favorite words and I believe every wedding and engagement session should have one EPIC photograph. Something that transcends the narrative of the day and becomes a work of art unto itself that will stand the test of time. However the intimate small moments are just as important. One of my favorite writers on photography, Roland Barthes, describes how every photograph has a studium and a punctum. The studium is what a photograph connotes. It is objective and anyone viewing the photograph will see it. All photographs have a studium, but not all photographs have a punctum. The punctum is what makes an image truly special and personal because the punctum is the denotation and it can be different for any viewer of the image. The punctum is the piece of the photograph that leaps off the screen and pierces you. It makes the experience with the image completely unique as it resonates with each of us differently. It is the subjective magical element that connects us to a photograph. My goal is for my photographs to always have punctum for my clients. I love getting to know my clients before their wedding day and watching their mannerisms and quirks and incorporating that into their photos when I pose them for their engagement session and wedding portraits. Posing can feel so inauthentic and disingenuous, which is the last think you want when having a portrait taken with the love of your life. However, being in front of the camera can be awkward and uncomfortable so some posing is a necessity. When I have the chance to get to know you and watch you together I may see how you fit naturally together and how you embrace when the camera is not around. Recreating those quirks in front of the camera is when the photograph has a punctum. So many times grooms become props for their ladies as photographers focus more on the bride, but I love getting a photograph from another angle as well, where you see the joy in the grooms face as he looks upon his bride-to-be during their engagement session and can’t help but smiling. With couples I don’t know well I always try to break the ice asking them to whisper something to each other or bring their heads just an inch closer which feels so funny you can’t help but laugh and smile. That little genuine flash of raw emotion creates a photo like this one. As I’m shooting I am always thinking of composition and framing so the photograph is still pleasing to the eye and fills the edges nicely so our eye can enter the frame- in this image most likely at his hands, which is perfectly touching the bottom right corner of the rule of thirds box- and flow upwards through the image comfortably ending at his smile, which will mean something a little different to every person who looks at it. Photographs with both studiums and punctums can be both universal and personal, the clean and satisfying composition and lighting makes it universal, but the smile of the groom and slight cupping of the bride’s hand on the groom’s neck makes the photograph personal. I’m lucky enough to have my main subject in my work be people in love, which is an utter joy to document, and is in and of itself a universal emotion so even when I’m photographing a personal moment or quirk, others may have a glimmer of recognition of the love in their own lives and the personal transcends into the universal.
Shot on my Contax 645 with 80mm Zeiss at 1/125th at F2.0, metered at +2 in the shadow with the light coming over the mountain at a 45 degree angle nearing sunset. Processed by my amazing lab Richard Photo Lab.