I had my camera on my hip when the DJ called the last song from the corner of the Pink Plantation House. No one wanted the day to end. The dance floor was wildly full and Kait’s two Grandmas, who were resting, were pulled up to join the forming circle. “We are family” played loud from the speakers and with arms around each other everyone sang into the night.
It was a surreal moment.
We were on a small mountain above the city lights of Castries in St Lucia and had spent the afternoon watching Kait and Chris say their vows on the shores of Pigeon Island National Park. I felt lucky to be a part of it.
Kait and Chris, and the Noon and Lay family thank you for having me, and for the week of memories. I truthfully can’t look at these photos and not smile. I can’t hit play on the song below and not want to dance just a little bit.
Half a century ago my Baba and Didi (My grandparents) bought this little bungalow in Toronto where they added a pool and three kids, but not quite in that order. It’s where my Dad and his brothers grew up, and hockey equipment stunk up the basement. It’s where my Mom entered into the picture at a house party, and where the wallpaper in the kitchen has acted to the backdrop to many more family additions since. Eight grandkids, Thanksgiving dinners, family golf tournaments, christmas craft sleepovers with all the cousins, and a fridge of photos to prove it.
This past August marked a move for them out of that house where my whole family grew up and and into a smaller apartment with a view.
I was home visiting Ontario in June when the move became official, and it became the deadline I needed to ask to photograph them and their house before all the memories saved in each room, in every trinket, were packed away into boxes or sold at an inevitable garage sale. I’ve wanted to take pictures of my grandparents for a long time, but sometimes personal projects only happen when there is a push, and the move was it.
In June we had lunch and ice tea, looked through albums of photos, and my Uncle Trevor stopped in to pick up a ladder. I learned my Baba had sewed the pillows in her bedroom, and she remembers which Christmas our family pooled our money to buy her the painting that hung above the kitchen table. That afternoon I tried to photograph the little things that made up my childhood – the pool, the snowman chef christmas ornament, and the tiny paper cups that were always stocked in the bathroom. I took photos of the post-it notes my cousin Shannon would leave as little presents, and of the book I’d crafted when I was eight full of trivia questions about each grandkid.
I spent hours after that searching through their archive of film shots that tied every era of my family’s living history to that house. It was the cookbooks, and powdered ice tea on the counter, that inspired the double exposures you’ll see below. Some things don’t change and I wanted to somehow combine the past and present. Every combined photo (because they aren’t true double exposures, they were done in photoshop) are from the same space – years apart, and I hope they tie all the photos together.
I wasn’t able to help on their actual moving day in August, I was on the other side of the country, so these photos are for my family, my little contribution. Zach, Bray and Mitch – thanks for picking up the slack and the boxes
It is the largest festival in the world – 6.2 million people traveled to Munich in 2007, and with Oktoberfest making all the Lonely Planet lists of things to do before you die, I figured should I happen to be in Europe, in October, it would be something to see.
Originally organized in 1810 to celebrate the marriage of Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese of Saxe-Hildburghausen Oktoberfest must have been one incredible party. The newlyweds after having so much fun deemed it an annual event, and every year since there has been a growing tuba playing, gingerbread heart cookie necklace wearing, and beer drinking festival celebration.
With Lederhosen on blending into the masses of people I brought my camera to the beer tents and fairgrounds. I’m glad I saw it, I was a part of it, I drank the “kool-aid” …ahem… beer, and it truly was a once in a lifetime, once is enough kind of weekend.
Almira and Curtis’s Guide to an Incredible Do-It-Yourself North Vancouver Backyard Wedding Bash.
Step One: Start early overlooking the harbour, possibly at the Pinnacle Hotel, the view is insane.
Step Two: Add a few best friends, an upbeat playlist that will require dancing and a bit of nostalgia, dont forget a bit of coffee to get the buzz going – and the perfect combination of excited chaos will ensue.
Step Three: It’s time to get married! Make sure all your family arrives on time to your backyard. If you have a sewing studio turn it into a killer bar, bring a few flowers in, and set up a dance floor just big enough to fit everyone you love.
Step Four: Champange and snacks.
Step Five: Sneak away for a few photos just down the road. After all you are in North Vancouver where the mountains are epic, and rocks are photogenic without really having to try.
Step Six: Return to a first dance as the sun peaks into the tent at the perfect angle, then it is time to party!!
Almira and Curtis thank you a million times over for having me.