NOW SHOWING IN GLORIOUS WIDESCREEN

“While there is perhaps a province in which the photograph can tell us nothing more than what we see with our own eyes, there is another in which it proves to us how little our eyes permit us to see.”  - Dorothea Lange

If I can get a little bit lofty, ponderous, philosophical for a second - which I think artists are totally allowed to do, right? - this quote does an incredible job of leaning towards what I love about photography. It isn't just about the literal scene in front of you. It can go so much further than that. Many of my favorite photos (my own, and from others) are beloved because they delve into the emotions and aesthetics of what's in the frame; letting the viewer's mind wander past the obvious and explore the experience of that image.

That's something I've been trying to create and find in my own work a lot lately. Showing some of my work in this panoramic format has been a super fun way to explore that. I think our eyes get so accustomed to the normal aspect ratios in our phones and "real" cameras, that moving to a panoramic format helps us escape the more literal view of the image. Ideally I think the superwide panoramic formats lend themselves to a more cinematic feel (probably because, you know, they actually are cinematic aspect ratios, ha) which encourages looking at the images as more than just an overt record of an event.

Anyway - I could ramble more, but really I just wanted to share a bit of an experiment in something different. As photographers, seeing things in a constantly different, new, and varied way is critical to keeping our work fresh and our minds free from burnout. Here's to finding inspiration in new places, and making photographs that see more than the immediately visible.

SNOWY MOUNTAIN ENGAGEMENT SESSION IN THE PNW

It's always a funny thing, meeting people for the first time. Like Forrest Gump and his proverbial box of chocolates, you never know what you're going to get. Fortunately for me, I seem to get to work with a lot of relaxed, kind, and generally just awesome people. These two take that to another level, especially with the story of how they met, fell in love long-distance, and decided to spend their lives together. Emily and I had so much fun cruising around the woods and mountains with Chris and Claire, right from the get-go. Turns out it's also hilariously good fun watching Texans play in the snow (even if it's a little colder than expected.)

Super grateful we got to spend some time with these legends!

Photographed on Kodak Portra medium format film, and Leica digital. 

LOOKING BACKWARDS // 2015 IN REVIEW

It's still freaking me out a bit that 2015 is over. Now it's 2016, but last year felt like it went by in about 10 minutes. With the craziness of the holidays over now, we're almost into the time of year when we can catch our breath, sit, reflect and remember. 

Reflecting and remembering everything that took place this year leaves me feeling immensely, whole-heartedly grateful. For the places we saw, the moments we witnessed, and the people who let us into their lives in large and small - but always important - ways. 

With early morning flights and ferry sailings, sleepy trains and sleepless hotels; this year took us from the beaches of Mexico to the incredible landscapes of New Zealand, to the history-filled chateaus of southern France, and all over the coastline, rivers, and mountains of Washington, Oregon, California and Montana. This planet is stunning, and we were overjoyed to see so much of it. 

I'd need about ten pairs of hands to count all the weddings, elopements, engagement sessions and portrait sessions I photographed this year. After all that I'm ready for a breather. But I feel so lucky to have had that many people invest in what I do, and that seriously energizes me. So, maybe I'm ready for a breather, but how about just like a quick 30 minutes in the car while we head to the mountains for another shoot?

For all the years I've been doing this, being a wedding photographer is something I cherish, and I feel honestly blessed to be able to do it. While it's not always as glamorous as it may seem, all the days spent editing and emailing and doing admin work in front of a screen are so worth it when it means I get to photograph and bear witness to these storylines in peoples' lives. To make new friends out of new "clients." Maybe it's me getting older (jk I don't age anymore) but the emotional value and weight of giving someone an heirloom to love and share for decades to come has become even more near and dear to me. Life is amazing and short and long and beautiful and deserves to be remembered and reminisced over, again and again.

To quote the surfer Mickey Smith (watch his short film here, you'll be glad you did), "...this is a present worth remembering. For fires of happiness or waves of gratitude... for everything that brought us to that point in life, to that moment in time; to do something worth remembering with a photograph... I feel genuinely lucky to hand-on-heart say I love what I do."

So, to every couple, family, human, that trusted me and allowed me to do this, or simply (but not merely) encouraged and supported us, thank you. It means more to me than you know - it's not just a transaction to me, it goes far beyond that. I'm happy that I had the chance to meet you and yours. You're the best and I hope we get to hang out again.

Can't wait to dive into this next year.

Here are, in no particular order, some photos I loved from this year. It was painful to narrow down 35,000+ photos into a (not terribly) concise 200-ish. Have a drink and a bite and enjoy. 

A CHATEAU WEDDING IN SOUTHERN FRANCE

This wedding. Where do I even begin? It was truly one of the most memorable and beloved weeks Emily and I have had. I don’t think we’ve ever slept so little, ate so much, wined so much, or felt so instantly at home in France. 

Story time…

I’ve known the bride, Jamie, since we were teenagers, and she and Jordan have become dear friends to Emily and I. It would be a huge understatement to say it was an honor to document their wedding. But to document their wedding in southern France, in a chateau that looks like it just materialized out of a painting? We were a little excited. 

The part that really stands out, though, isn’t that it was a stylish wedding in a beautiful destination - though it was both - it was that from beginning to end, it was all about the people and relationships. Authentic hospitality and amazing food are everyday things for Jamie and Jordan at their restaurant, DERU Market, and it comes from genuinely wanting to give people an experience where they feel served and cared about. This carried over to their wedding in every way. Chefs by nature and profession, they spent the week cooking for and caring for everyone.

For the days leading up to the wedding, these two and a small group of their family and friends explored the French countryside, hunted truffles, wandered medieval towns in the rain, strolled through charming markets and cities, and spent quality time eating and cooking and enjoying everyone's company. The day before the wedding a few of us walked out to the field behind the chateau to find a spot for the wedding ceremony. In the middle of the field stood a massive oak tree, steeped in history - and surrounded by cow patties, of course. With the sun warming us, we decided it was the perfect spot for them to exchange their vows. Later that night, and leading into the morning of the wedding, the sun gave way to dark clouds and pouring rain.

What I loved, though, is that it didn’t faze anyone. People ran out to a nearby market and miraculously found 30-something pairs of grey (in keeping with the color palette of the day) wellies to keep our feet dry. The elegant black-tie dinner was moved into an old stone barn, made to look incredible by their friends Steve and Jamie Moore and many helping hands. Right as the ceremony began, like something out of a movie, the rain stopped and the sun burst out. Later that night, the dinner went from, “Oh, we’ll probably be done by 9 or 10pm” to, “Oh, it’s 3am?! Should we have dessert and open more wine?” Happy speeches, tearful laughter, clinking glasses. So many good things and full hearts. 

Honestly, the whole week and wedding day was a really beautiful lesson to me that despite whatever problems might arise, things often turn out far better than we could have hoped or planned for. Looking back at this wedding, I can’t imagine it being any more perfect if everything, weather and all, had gone according to expectations. A little microcosm of life, perhaps. Keep moving forward, things are going to be amazing.

Also, spot the photos below of Jamie and Jordan making their wedding cake together. One of my favorite moments of the day. Who wakes up at 4am on the morning of their wedding to bake their own cake! (I mean besides Jamie, they literally make the best cakes in the world.)

Bride's dress by: Jin Wang

Florals and wedding design by: Sinclair & Moore Events

Wedding location: Chateau de Redon

Groom's tuxedo by: Burberry