As a wedding and portrait photographer, I strive to create images that tell the story of your life with beauty and grace, respect and imagination. Foregoing forced smiles and stiff poses, I embrace natural smiles and expressions in order to create images that have a unique freshness and vitality and a heartfelt and emotional authenticity.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I Heart Faces



I don't know when I first fell in love with weddings. I'm not sure if it was when each of my Barbies married Ken (not that I'm into polygamy, and Ken wasn't really the best choice, anyway, but there weren't many fish in the Mattel sea), or if it was when my friends started getting married (first one was at the ripe old age of 19), or if it was when Martha Stewart launched her delicious Weddings magazine, which I started subscribing to before I even had a serious boyfriend. (What is a blog post if it is not to divulge some self-deprecating honesty?) I first experienced the rush of photographing weddings when I was an assistant to one of the finest film photographers I've ever known, Gary Oftedahl, in Rogers, Arkansas, the Norman Rockwell townlet in which I spent my most formative years. Indulge me, patient readers, as I share my photographic roots. When my family moved to Rogers, it boasted a population of 18,000 people and was most known for hosting the first Wal-Mart store and the headquarters of Daisy Rifles. The two seem to go together, don't you think? The town celebrated its heritage with bed races through the historic downtown bricked streets, ice cream socials, catfish frys and jalapeno eating contests. And the weddings - the charming weddings. I assisted Gary with only a few: always at the local Baptist church, at 2 pm sharp, with a minimum of 5 bridesmaids, a reading from 1st Corinthians, and a cake and punch reception to follow in the fellowship hall. Back then, wedding photography was just as formulaic as the wedding: mom adjusting the veil, bride with her bridesmaids, tallest in back!, groom with his groomsmen, everyone point at his watch - it will be funny!, bride with the groomsmen, cheee .. hold it .. flowers a little lower, hon .. cheeeese!, groom with the bridesmaids, check, check, check. All I really remember doing as an assistant was adjusting the bride's train for the formals. That, my friends, was a Very Important Full Time Wedding Job. The bride always changed into a going-away outfit (white, of course), and they were off, under a shower of rice, by 5 pm. These weddings were predictable, but they were absolutely as charming and innocent as this southern town. It was while I was working for Gary that I realized the most special yet simple truth about weddings: Every Bride is Beautiful.

Since then, my love for weddings has only grown. I've been lucky - no, absolutely privileged - to have worked with another of the finest photojournalistic wedding photographers. Under his watch, I've photographed professionally-produced weddings, choreographed to the finest detail. I've photographed intimate vows, emotional grooms, anxious brides, and thousands of orchids under one tented roof. Since my assistant days in Rogers, weddings have certainly evolved (thank you kindly, Miss Martha) but the most amazing part about the modern wedding, I believe, is that couples can finally wear their hearts on their proverbial, lacy sleeves, instead of worrying about posing for the camera. The heavy, medium-format film-munching camera. Today, weddings are deeply personal. And filled with emotion. And why wouldn't they be?

I'm submitting the image above for this week's photo contest at I Heart Faces. Be sure to stop by to check out the fun entries, and send your good wishes to someone in my daily blog list, guest judge Jasmine Star, as she tasks herself with selecting her favorites. (Wait - Jasmine Star - the Jasmine Star - is going to be visiting my blog? I haven't even had time to tidy up!) This photograph, above, was the first one I thought of when I decided to submit. I have seven bridesmaid dresses in my closet, and from that experience, I can hand you a taffeta-wrapped guarantee that this beauty I photographed is positively wearing her heart on her sleeve, too. Doesn't she have a beautiful face? Just perfect for this contest. What a gift photography can be. It is, I believe, the best job on the planet. Cheers to that.

3 comments:

  1. How perfectly lit the young bride's face is and she is the "star" of this photo. I also throughly enjoyed reading the accompanying post! Best of luck! I will follow your blog from now on. I enjoy good writing as much as I enjoy good photography ;>)
    Michelle

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  2. Love the shot, love the story! My DH is from Arkansas and we have actually been through Rogers many times! His family now lives in Waldron, population oh, 350 give or take!

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  3. Nice shot! I like the depth of field and how the focus of the image is in the back. Cool!

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