Sometimes when I look back through these photos, it feels like my mind is playing tricks on me. I was here… this actually happened… what the heck…
Still to this day, I cannot believe Betsy and Willem invited me across the country to experience such a wildly cool two days of excitement and revelry. Getting to also shoot most of the day on film just added to the level of wow pumping in my brain.
They set the stage for a weekend experience set to the mood of an almost Wes Anderson campy playfulness… not too serious and yet still refined where needed. It didn’t hurt that the beach scene alcove from Anderson’s “Moonrise Kingdom” was a few hundred feet away from the Dragonline Studio location where the festivities were taking place.
And yeah, you bet your butt we hiked over there for photos.
The two days we all experienced together is one for the books… a day I recap when my kids are grown and I need to prove I was once a legit guy.
I still think it’s pretty nuts that Carley, a documentary movie producer, and her now-husband Nicholas, all around sweetest dude I’ve ever met, invited me out to the ‘burbs of Chicago earlier this summer to photograph their entire wedding day using only… you read it right… a bag full of Kodak Funsaver single-use (disposable) cameras.
Why? you ask.
A while back, they both serendipitously stumbled upon a blog post I made showcasing a few shots posted from my younger brothers wedding. The groomsmen were each given one Ilford 400 B&W single-use camera to use throughout the day… I thought some of the shots were neat and put them up HERE. When they Googled “disposable camera wedding photography” I happened to pop up in the search… not something ever really meant to happen. But damn, I’m happy it did.
Once a dialog began between the three of us, I couldn’t but wonder why using these cameras was so paramount in their wedding day. Carley explained that the overall FEEL of the photos… the quick moments, the eye glances, the “you were there” feeling was honestly more important than the technical and polished look found in a lot of wedding photography. Nicholas also agreed that when you only have a tiny, almost toy camera, pointed at someone… the people being photographed don’t react in the same manner as they would with a big professional DSLR looking their way. As soon as I mentioned that my overall goal in all of my wedding coverage, is to always try and blend in as a guest, let’s just say that we all clicked and vibed pretty hard.
Let me tell you, two people have never been more right. Probably 75% of the group didn’t realize I was a hired professional until a few minutes before my departure.
The saying goes ‘the camera doesn’t make the photographer, one should be able to create with any medium available’. I genuinely believe that the feeling we got in some of these photos… the super fast snaps… people letting their guard down… could not have been produced with my larger, more foreboding camera system. One that more-or-less clearly labels me as “professional hired photographer guy”.
So take a look and let me know if this is something you’d be keen on doing. Thinking of offering it as a permanent option to my photography packages.
Carley, Nicholas. The trust you both had in me was extremely humbling.
I’ve never been more excited and equally nervous to photograph someone’s wedding day. Thank you both so much for sparking a new path of creativity in my work.
Had the opportunity to meet two of the kindest souls from across the Pacific during this shoot. It was Nozomi and Yuto’s first trip to the States and my first outing to the mysterious Salvation Mountain.
I’ve heard tales and seen photos from this place… about the art produced… the colors… the other-worldly feel you get from placing yourself so far from “normal” society while still feeling so welcomed.
Art is meant to be shared and Salvation Mountain is one massive shared experience. Go there. See it. Feel it. Enjoy it.
Super pumped on these photos and immediate bonding I felt with these two. Art transpires culture… it moves past language barriers… it connects us all.
A single lock of hair- from either one of these two would have more class, more… how do you say… je ne sais quoi… contained inside, than three of me combined.
Champagne waterfalls and stuffed polar bears.
You read that right, bears.
This hilltop hidden hideaway, otherwise known to a select few as The Paramour Mansion, might be the only spot in Los Angeles I could ever imagine Sara and Michael ever getting married now. The way thier tastes lined up with this location was really something to witness in person.
Refined with hidden bits of wild.
Check it out.
All of this could not have been possbile without the expert design and guidance from Art & Soul Events’ own, Jessica Carrillo.
Culinary // Chef April Bloomfield
Beauty // Sarah Sullivan
Sara’s dress // Love and Lace
Epic location // The Paramour Mansion
Music and mood provided by // Wes with Good Mood Events
Floral design // Lily Lodge. Los Angeles
Gypsy jazz ensemble // Vignes Rooftop Revival
I’ll keep this brief.
When two amazing humans like Dara and Garrett text me to ask if meeting up in Venice Beach, CA before sunrise for their engagement session was an option… I, without hesitation, responded a resounding
HECK YEAH IT IS!!
So happy these two found me. Because it’s seriously great when you instantly connect with two likeminded people not only on life in general, but also on how the aesthetics of the photos should go.
We explored around Venice Beach, ran into the middle of the street, found the skate park rarely empty and tried some “risky” compositions that have been floating around my brain for some time now.
It was a real treat to have freedom to experiment photographically and the outcome of this series could very well shape many future shoots. So I hope those of you taking a peek dig it.
“You should come up to this hidden mountain lake where my family has a cabin for photos… well, thinking about it now, yeah… you’re definitely coming up here for photos!”
I mean, dang… am I happy about this final plan. Because wow, this was some sort of magic that we all made around this sleepy mountain town.
Dan’s a pilot… Anamarie his copilot.
So I met them up at the town’s local airstrip after they made the quick trip up from Sacramento (how freakin cool?!), we took snapped some shots to commemorate the Cessna and the role flying plays in their lives. And then we moved on to the cabin… oh the cabin, how I love thee.
Such a cool spot! We moved around a bit from the house… to the local lake bar… to a field bathed in light… to the pontoon boat… to a hidden beach… back to the boat… then in the water (hell yeah)… and finally ending in towels back at the cabin.
Whooo, lot’s going on. Maybe just check out the photos and these two impossibly amazing humans, having simply… a great time if I do say so myself.
*Kodak Portra 400 used for 90% of the shots here… it just looks so good!
We begin this wedding story set deep in the wilds of Western Costa Rica…
At a sleepy little beach resort called Punta Islita.
*nerd alert – Portra 400 film used extensively throughout the weekend
With the beach party kicking the weekend off and subsequently coming to an end, we’ll pick up the journey late the following afternoon…
Enduring through one power outage and wet weather event… the sun gods finally came out to bless the day for JoJo and Garrett.
Rain, rain, go away. Come again, ugghhhh never.
New Orleans is a place, that for some reason I never really had visited. And where every single person I met was just plain down to party. With half of Marybeth and Nathan’s wedding attendees coming from the area, you better believe that I was surrounded by the kindest, rowdiest, funniest group of individual personalities ever to congregate in one location.
Also, this location… damn. If you’re ever able to book this property, do it now. Race and Religious as a wedding venue is mind blowing, I hope these photos do it an ounce of justice.
I may or may not have posted WAY too many photos here, but to view this day in it’s entirety is just too fun to pass up. Marybeth, Nathan, from the bottom-top-sides of my heart, thank you so much for giving me an inside glimpse to your lives.