A LOOK BACK AT 2016 - PART ONE

Twenty sixteen. What a year. Depending who you talk to, you'd probably get a wide spectrum of views on exactly what kind of year it was. I think that's one of the things I love both about what I do, and about doing these year-end retrospective posts. What better way to find and focus on the positive, than looking through a year's worth of weddings, elopements, engagements, families ... all the things that end up really defining what our lives are about. 

I delivered in the neighborhood of 50,000 finished photos this year (which kind of explains why I'm doing two parts to this post... how can I narrow all that down to one short post? Not happening) and if there's one thing that really stood out to me, it's the importance of community and connection. Those two things have this amazing ability to transcend, heal, and grow our families, lives, and relationships. I got to see huge tight-knit families, families who'd experienced loss, families that had been divided, rejoined, healed, people whose families were woven by choice and not birth, people who became family solely for each other... and of course family of the four-legged canine variety (prob the cutest kind of family, if you ask me.)

It's been amazing to continuely witness the way our love and connections defy labels and boxes, and matters all the more because of that.

I'm heading into my 10th year in this crazy photography career/life, and each year that ticks by feels like a blessing to be surrounded by love and commitment and amazing humans doing a thousand small/ huge / subtle / loud / monumental / heartfelt things for each other.

Can't thank each of you enough for allowing me into your lives to tell a sliver of your story, it's an honor I don't take for granted. You're the best, I appreciate you.

A COLORFUL SUMMER RAINFOREST ELOPEMENT IN TOFINO, BC

If you haven't been to Vancouver Island, you should really change that. There are only a few temperate rainforests on the planet, and some of the most spectacular are on this evergreen island off the western coast of British Columbia. The two main towns, Ucluelet and Tofino, are filled with craft beer, seaplanes, good food, surfers, black bears, and a ridiculously good taco truck (looking at you, Tacofino.) Emily and I went there for the first time a handful of years back for our first anniversary, and it was pretty much love at first visit. So any chance to go back is always welcomed as it holds a special meaning to us.

All in all, a perfect place for Beth and Sam to spend time with their family at the Wickaninnish Inn, before eloping beneath towering trees, and dancing together on a sunny beach as the sun sank. A perfectly intimate wedding. I think the last few minutes of light, when they ditched their shoes and waded into the glassy ocean sunset together, was one of my favorite wedding memories of the year. 

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.