Oh Paris. I wanted to love you. I wanted you to be the city I dreamed of, the city that inspired to me travel when I read about you so many years ago. But, you’re not that city. You’re great and you’re quirky and you’re filled with fun things, but we just didn’t jive. My heart wasn’t in it. It’s not you, it’s me has never felt more apropos. And I think that’s why I couldn’t love you. Because I wanted to love the pre-war Paris, the Hemingway Paris. But that Paris doesn’t exist anymore. And it doesn’t help that I can’t speak French, so I felt completely lost. When I took the train to Germany, it was almost like coming home. I knew how things worked and I fit in.
I still love the view from Sacre Coeur. That church will always have a special place in my heart (but I’d forgotten how many steps I had to walk up to get there). But while I think you’re nice, you don’t compare to the laughing, outgoing people of Munich. Or the artsy, hip vibe from Berlin. Or the layers of history and culture of Prague.
What saddened me the most about Paris, was that even though I stayed in an apartment out of the city center, an area that seemed to be mostly students, and not tourists, I still saw tourists everywhere. However, I’m still glad I came. And I’m still glad I gave you a second chance. And I will say, your gardens are top notch. I could spend weeks wandering through your gardens. You’ve given me so many ideas for my own garden. I guess that has to be enough.
All photos taken on my Nikon FG-20 with Portra 400. Most of them are available for purchase as prints here.
Ann and I met almost 9 years to the day before her wedding. Actually, it was just short of 9 years.
And I can tell you that with total confidence because the day Ann and I met was the day I arrived in New York City for our study abroad orientation. Ann and I bonded almost immediately; two small town girls living out our crazy dreams of studying abroad. While we were placed in different cities, we managed to kept in good touch over the year. I visited her in Prague (we got lost), she came to Olomouc (we might have gotten lost?), and we traveled to Budapest and Bratislava together (and got so lost). Do you see a theme here?
Ann and I kept in touch off and on through the years, chatting about boyfriends, travel, adapting to living in the US again, and so much more. But in all our traveling, we never crossed paths in person again. So I was thrilled when she asked me to come to Oregon and shoot their destination wedding!
I didn’t meet Michael until the day before the wedding, but I can tell you that he is one of the sweetest people I’ve met, and I am so happy for Michael and Ann. They’re a wonderful couple, and I am so lucky to have them as clients, as well as having Ann as a friend. I’d throw some exclamation points in there, but I’m trying to tone it down this year. :) They rented out the Big K Ranch in Elkton, which is close to where she grew up, even though Ann & Michael now live in Maryland. They had a fantastic wedding surrounded by friends and family (check out the family photo below!) and so much beautiful scenery. The morning after their wedding, I was up at something like 4am to drive to the airport in Eugune, and I have to say, it was almost worth that crack of dawn flight to see the sunrise as I drove through Oregon.
Ann & Michael, thank you. Thank you for being such amazing hosts and wonderful clients. Thank you for having me along for your wedding day, and welcoming me with open arms. It means the world to me to call you friends. I hope we see each other again soon!
I feel in love with photography when I shot black and white film. Of maybe, that’s not really the truth.
I’d always wanted to be an artist, to create things. Early on, someone told me I didn’t have the skills to be an artist, and I pushed that part of my dreams into a dark, dusty corner of my heart. Too many of us spend years of our lives thinking we’re not “good enough” to do something. To follow our dreams. In middle school, I discovered that I could take better than average photos, and no one told me I couldn’t be an artist.
At Gonzaga, I took a ceramics class. They have a different professor now, but my professor, he was amazing and terrifying at the same time. He was big and loud and honest. I sucked at ceramics. I made these ugly, lopsided pieces not even my mother loved. But I also made some fabulous pieces. Pieces that my professor told me to be proud of. And I was. I ended up taking two ceramics classes from Professor Gieber. I made a lot of ugly pieces. Those recently finally were donated to charity – enjoy those ugly coffee cups, Spokane! But there are a few pieces that are decent, and even fewer pieces that are amazing. Some are boxed up in our spare room. Some are displayed in my home. Some are displayed in my parent’s home.
I enjoyed my ceramics class. And it taught me that you have to do some crappy work before you can make beautiful work.
My senior year at Gonzaga, I took a black and white film class. We shot on film cameras, and developed the film in our darkroom. We picked what to print and learned how to develop them. At the time, I’d been shooting freelance work digitally for the past three years. I had come to the conclusion that, once I graduated, I’d give up art and get an office job.
But watching my prints appear in front of me in the darkroom, that changed things. Watching a concept I created and shot come to life, that changed how I felt about photography.
I fell in love with photography because it gave me a way to be an artist, and to capture the world as I saw it. And then I shot photography. I was taking pictures all the time, those pictures slowly lost their value.
Hundreds of images. Thousands of images.
But then, there was that film class. Reminding me to have patience, to thing things through. To remind me that sometimes, what we think will look great really does look like crap.
Shooting film taught me to be patient again. To set the shot up, to think things through. Like my ceramics professor always reminded me: I needed to have an end goal before I started. I should let the situation speak to me, to form my ideas, but I needed to have a plan too.
Film made me realize that.
Shooting film made me fall back in love with photography.
So, earlier this year, when I was in a funk again, I turned to film.
I turned to film and I shot as much as I could. I traveled all over and I carried that 1980’s film camera in my bag.
I shot in color and I shot in black & white. And I felt that love for photography come back. Last weekend at the wedding show, I remembered why I love weddings so much. And it reminded me of that black & white film class.
Weddings aren’t about the fancy dresses, the beautiful flowers, or the amazing cake. No matter what the magazines and blogs say. Weddings are about the marriage. It’s about the joy and the wonder. It’s the happiness of marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.
And I guess what I’m saying is, don’t let the details of wedding planning detract from that joy. Hold on to the pure wonder and happiness, because the details aren’t important.