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.