The Living Room Us

As part of my gender norms in relationships series, I make an effort to take pictures of my relationship from time to time to record its moods and progressions. A previous shot from this series can be found here.

I figure if I’m going to ask different couples to let me into the intimacies of their relationships, I should expose mine as well. My partner projects a gruff, taciturn and fairly stereotypical American masculine persona. The big exception to his serious “I’m a manly man” look is his long, just totally gorgeous, flowing locks. This is the last shot I got of them before they fell pitifully to the barbershop floor. It still brings a tear to my eye (sigh). So this is the last time our hair served as our common, gender-neutralizing bond.  This image is not as fanciful or daring as our last session, but it is, I hope, a more honest slice in time of our relationship.

The second shot might get a little closer to conveying the subtleties of our relationship. He is perched, lovingly staring down at me. From his height he might be in a position of power, but, hey, he also has no pants on. Really how powerful can you be when you’re cold, with your junk out, sitting on the rim of a sofa pantless? It’s its own kind of gender balancing, one I quite like.

A Grand Affair at the Grand Historic

This was an absolutely delightful wedding to be a part of (which as any wedding photographer knows is not always the case).  The groom Brent and his wife Jill were totally composed and set the mood for an actual low-pressure wedding (an oxymoron, I know). They showed up late but not panicked, drank some beers, said a prayer and were on their way down the aisle. They also incorporated lots of little untraditional moments to include the groom’s young daughter in the ceremony, like giving her a necklace and having her light a candle with them. Even for a veteran wedding photographer, it was touching.

The venue was just to die for. It’s a masonic lodge dating back to 1867. The draperies, fixtures, and furniture in all the rooms were so ornate and luxurious. The room in which the reception was held looks straight out of Game of Thrones, with these candle-lit chandeliers, huge arched solid-wood doorways, and a ten-foot tall Jesus on the cross in a dimly lit antechamber. The reception room was fabulously theatrical but also visually overpowering, so thankfully the room where the ceremony took place was a bit more toned down. When it came to the portrait session, we had the option to shoot in any of the facility’s various themed rooms, ranging from elaborate far-east designs to a hunting lodge mock-up and a grand old-fashioned smoking lounge. In the end, we chose this bright, colorful period room that went perfectly with the animated, quirky personality of the couple.

Below are a few of their formals, the bride getting ready with her new daughter-in-law, and a lovely engraved watch Jill gave her husband to mark the day.

Backstage Baltimore

I recently had the opportunity to take over this amazing theatre space for a shoot. I met the creative director of the theatre, which is the Center Stage Theatre in Baltimore at a Creative Morning session. If interested, Creative Mornings are a national breakfast lecture series for the artistic community where diverse artists share their projects once a month. After I shot the lecture the director showed me around the building and agreed to let me do a personal shoot in the space.

Really, the creative director, Gavin Witt, was so generous to hand over the keys to this unbelievable castle for a morning.  The space is like heaven/Disneyland for visual people with all these fantastic weird rooms, unlimited props, and super-old, funky architecture. He gave me and the model Jess free range of the grounds.

If you just came to the theatre to see a show, you would have no concept of the enormous, maze-like, backstage portion of this historic Mount Vernon building. There is a prop room the size of a vintage furniture shop, an extremely high-ceilinged room just for stage painting, and huge rehearsal rooms any dance studio would envy, to name but a few of the crazy rooms in this place. Walking around the halls we passed by a room full of designers working on extravagant period costumes, and at one point while we were shooting people rolling around carts full of tea sets and aquatic gear streamed past us. It really felt like I’d died and gone to a heaven just for wonderfully creative, eccentric people. I loved putting together different ensembles for the atmosphere of each room we shot in. I could shoot in this space a hundred more times and never get bored.