It is truly a privilege when someone in the wedding industry asks you to be a part of their day, it is an even greater honour when you are asked by a friend. Chelsea and I met two years ago now, she is a wedding film maker, and her and Bryan may be the first friends I made when I moved to the west coast.
I’ve had a very hard time writing this post, I had too much inside information, and I couldn’t exactly put into words a single anecdote to sum up the whole day like I normally do. I had a big list which included: When Chelsea saw her dad for the first time and laughed and cried at the same time, when Bryan’s Mom gave his Grandma the thumbs up as she watched Bryan stand in front of everyone, and when after the ceremony Chelsea and Bryan stood at the end of the aisle beside each other listening to their friend’s and fellow bandmates finish the song they had rehearsed for them. I also loved when Bryan read the original facebook messages from Chelsea when they first started dating back in high school but you know I couldn’t make a blog post on that.
None of the individual moments did the full day justice, and as I wrote this I kept returning to a passage from a book Chelsea and I read together in book club this past summer.
I underlined it then and it rings so true now; It described a wedding as a day where everyone could “Bask in the light of their [the couple’s] shared happiness.”
Chelsea and Bryan’s parents beamed in the morning through to the speeches, their friend’s played music throughout the ceremony and into the night, everyone who helped out with the day felt the love these two have for each other and for everyone around them.
I couldn’t write it better myself.
The biggest thank you to Noah Edwards for the music here, and the music at the wedding. And another thank you for everyone who worked to make September 6th unforgettable. (Scroll down to the bottom for full credits)
It was a privilege to be there, to photograph alongside my friend Zaac Pick, and to squeeze Chelsea’s hand during the reception as she smiled into the faces of her friends.
Venue – Glen Rosa Farms
Planning – French Kiss Events
Florals – Clare Day Flowers
Video – Paper Heart Films – Cassie O’Neil
MakeUp – Melanie Baird
Hair – Conscious Hair
Photo Booth – Four Frames Photobooth
I’m going to go a little Amanda Palmer style here because this post calls for nothing less; confessional, wildly enthusiastic, and completely badass.
This past Wednesday I shot my first concert.
It was a big one. A Ninja Ted to be specific.
The annual Ted conference which has been held in Vancouver for the past couple years invites the world’s best and brightest to showcase what they have been up to. Everyone has seen a Ted Talk on the internet, but seeing one live at TED, in Amanda Palmer’s words “kinda happens behind this wall.”
So to fix that she created NinjaTED. A spontaneous show which brings an array of performers and speakers from TED together, during the conference for anyone to attend. This year the lineup was stellar, and not just because everyone’s favourite Canadian Chris Hadfield was there. Amanda Palmer who hosted the show convinced my favourite curator Maria Popova to speak, Usman Riaz to stun everyone on with his percussive guitar, and Adam Savage from Myth Busters to make everyone laugh.
Damian Kulash of Okay Go, Legendary Bill T Jones, New York’s Best Poet Sarah Kay, Jherek Bischoff, Rhiannon Giddens and Orkestar Slivovica were there. Harrison and Tristen the Canadian National YoYo and Kite Flying Champions blew everyone’s mind, and I know I am missing more.
The whole thing was webcasted and documented as the crowd saw it, and I was asked to take both stage and behind the scenes shots.
I wanted the photos to be like the rest of my work. Good obviously, but also intimate. A celebration of the small joys in life, and a documentation of an incredible collaboration.
As the night closed and the crowd, lit up by the house lights spun around their index fingers, and belted lyrics from the bottom of their lungs. Every single person on stage was smiling larger than I thought humanly possible. I got every photo I could have wanted.
Amanda is infectious, her energy, The audience, all the performers, everyone working behind the scenes.
NinjaTED was incredible to be a part of.
Photography as much as the performances we witnessed is a collaboration, and everyone was so welcoming and open. The photos of my first show are better than I could have ever hoped.
Thank You Sarah for bringing me along.
The rain was starting to get to me, and though I’d been I’d been thinking about it on and off for a while, I made a spur of the moment decision on a lazy Sunday in December and booked a flight to Santiago Chile. The surreal feeling of that still hasn’t worn off, and I am now about a week from take off. Slowly but surely getting things together for the two month jaunt south.
I’ve been sharing a little bit of trip prep over on Instagram, and I thought I’d put together a longer blog post of the camera gear I am bringing down for this little photography adventure to Chilean Patagonia.
Like with every trip I’ve ever done the total weight of my pack is a huge concern. In Chile I have plans to hike in Torres Del Paine as well as possibly Dientes de Navarino. These are both are multi-day hikes where I’ll be carrying all the camera gear listed below, a tent/sleeping bag, clothing, and days worth of food. I’ll be experimenting with video so I am bringing my audio recorder which is bulky, and a polaroid camera which is truly huge, but I’ve tried to make scarifies where I can leaving behind lenses and bodies to cut the weight.
Nine weeks is a long haul, and for this trip I specifically invested in a used Macbook Air (thanks craiglist, you never fail). I’ve tried to convince myself for a long time I could do this without a laptop, but I know I will need to be able to run my business remotely, do a little light editing, and make backups as I go along. If I could do this whole thing without a computer I would, but unfortunately an iPhone just can’t do it all.
So for Patagonia this is the final revised camera travel kit;
Canon 5D3 – My go to.
Canon 24mm f1.4 – My favourite lens
Sigma 50mm f1.2 – A beast of a lens that is pretty much good for everything.
Canon 135 f2.0 – For all the Guancos I plan to see in the distance.
3 Canon 5D3 Batteries – I thought about bringing only two but video eats batteries for lunch.
Fuji Instax Wide 300 – I was fully inspired by The Starks.
Manfrotto Lightweight Tripod – For night photography, time-lapses, and video. I’ve been using this as a makeshift monopod as well.
H4N Audio Recorder – I will loving call this piece of equipment “The Brick.”
11″ MacBook Air
Lens Pen // Lens Cloth // Various CF and SD Cards // Card Reader // Two 2TB Hard drives // iPhone 6 // Journal // Chargers
My travel this year is off to an early start, and as is becoming customary I wanted to share with the internet where I will be when. If you are interested in working together, or just generally getting together we can make it happen.
Just writing this little list out and seeing it in full form makes me excited. 2016 is going to be incredible, so incredible that I have that butterfly feeling you sometimes get on Christmas Eve when you are eight years old.
See you soon.
Feb 21st – Feb 29th – LA and Santa Barbara California
March 1st – April 29th – Chile and Argentina
May – Thetis Island – West Coast Trail
June 1st – June 13th – Galiano Island
June 13th – June 29th – Toronto Ontario
July 30th – Montreal / Toronto
December 20th-28th – Toronto Ontario
“I only bring my favourite people here.” Deb said. We looked at each other and smiled.
It was three days after her and Anthony’s wedding and the coveted English sun was ceremoniously blazing over the hills of the Lake District. Deb, while planning a wedding, renovating a house from the foundations up, and starting a business also decided to hike the 214 wainwright peaks in the area in a single year. Completely crazy if you knew how much time that entailed in total, but Deb, tenacious and determined, made it happen.
We were there that day on her favourite of the 214 peaks, a place where ten years before her Dad’s ashes were scattered. On the top of that hill, hidden and invisible to plain sight Deb leaves a painted stone, and a message of love for him every year to mark the anniversary.
It was about year before that day this September Anthony proposed painting a stone himself for Deb and hiding it amongst the others before they walked the hill together. It was a way to include her Dad in the wedding, and there with Emily another close friend of Deb’s we listened to Deb recall the whole day, and where life had taken her and Anthony between then and now.
I met Deb about four years before that while she lived in Toronto. She is a wedding blogger and as a wedding photographer we had crossed paths. Our mutual love for the outdoors, and graphic design started what I think will be a life long friendship, and we’ve stayed in touch supporting each other from across an ocean via Skype since she moved home in 2013.
When Deb was engaged and the wedding date was set at the beautiful Llyn Gwynant Campground in Wales, I booked a flight to the UK.
A few days before the wedding I arrived to my favourite British girls at the train station, and though I hadn’t slept on my flight from Vancouver to Manchester, I was happy to be traveling and it felt like no time had passed since I was in the passenger seat on the wrong side of the road driving the streets of England two years before.
We packed the car and an entire trailer with enough DIY wedding supplies to survive an apocalypse if crafts could double as survival provisions, and headed south into the Welsh countryside.
There were tears before her makeup went on as Shannon practiced her speech. In the room next door Ben was bent over his laptop, the same sentiment clear in his expression as he made a few last minute revisions.
Don’t leave out anything important, leave nothing unsaid.
It is a sentiment that echoed throughout their day, as Shannon and Ben’s parents and best friends spoke of the love and admiration they have for the two of them. It was the reason I followed up with the videographer at their wedding and got a hold of a few of the audio files from the night and mixed in the best bits with the music below. Between Shannon and Ben, and their practiced speeches they said everything that matters.
Before I get into the photos I wanted to share a piece of an email Shannon sent me a year or so ago, as it gives a little context to their story. She put into words what I hope my work says silently, and I’ll feel forever grateful as it is truly one of the greatest compliments as an artist when your work is not only seen, but in a sense understood.
In terms of your style, it [your photography] is exactly what Ben and I are looking for. We had spoken to one other photographer and we were telling him that what we want is for it to feel very editorial, very photo-journalistic and nothing that one would traditionally think of when it comes to wedding photos. We came away from that conversation feeling really nervous that we might not be able to find the type of person we wanted to shoot our wedding, then I found you!
I love that you have a low key set-up and blending in is exactly what we are looking for. I am so grateful that you are interested in telling the whole story of our day, because obviously it is about more than the day and I really think (after seeing your work) that you have the ability to say so much more about the couple and actually just the small joys of life in general. I have to tell you I was glued to your website yesterday and I felt so overwhelmed looking at some of your images, you really have a gift for capturing the truth of moments and are not so concerned with things that appear to be superficially romantic. You are clearly very good at what you do.
In terms of my story with Ben…it actually started in Uganda if you can believe it! Ben and I are both from Toronto, he is a journalist and I do community development work (both in Toronto and overseas). Five years ago one of my best friends decided to go to Uganda between her two years of a masters program in journalism. She ended up renting a room off Ben and to make a long story short she introduced me to him. After twelve days of knowing him I had decided to pack my apartment up and fly to Kampala. A few months later there I was in the Entebbe airport with a backpack, no job and a feeling that I had met the guy.
It wasn’t a straight line from there, Ben and I are both travelers and have been so lucky to see so much of the world both together and apart. After Uganda I went off for the better part of a year on my own, and met up with Ben where I could. When I got back to Toronto after a year of no work, it was time to buckle down. By that time Ben was en route to start a new job in Paris and the next few years were hard for us. In 2012 we started to find our way back to each other and by this point Ben was living in Nigeria. I finished a contract in Toronto and once again packed up my apartment and flew here. So now we call Lagos home, and likely that will change again in the next 6 – 8 months.
I guess there is so much more to this story, but those are the bones of it.
Below are the bones of their wedding day, and all the emotion and love in-between. It was my true pleasure to be there to witness it.
Venue: The George on Queen
« Older posts