Stuff We Love: Mark Seliger & The Coolest Gift Ever!!
When people ask us who we look to for inspiration, one of THE top names that always comes up first would have to be Mark Seliger.
We absolutely adore what he does with portrait lighting and his black & whites are incredible. He has an ability to capture people in the in between with an honesty that tells you more about them in a single frame than an entire interview could. And of all his work, one of the first pieces that Justin ever showed me back when I was first falling in love with photography was his "In My Stairwell" series: an entire series of portraits of people, some famous-some not, taken in the exposed brick stairwell at Seliger's studio.
While we were out at WPPI last month, Justin got to go attend an evening with Mark Seliger put on by Profoto while I was out at another dinner. He came back raving about it & we put it on the blog here as one of our highlights of the trip. And that would have been that. Would have been, except for one incredible person who was reading it....someone we were about to meet in Denver.
We had plans to meet up with Miss Rachel Gomez (who you met yesterday) for a mentoring session in Denver. And when we got there and met up with her in the lobby of our hotel, boy did she have one HECK of a surprise for us!!! You see, Rachel went to Brooks Institute for photography and one her good friends had gone on to be the first assistant for Mark. So she called in a couple of favors, and not only did she have the book "In My Stairwell" for us when we got there.....She had gotten Mark to SIGN it!!!!! Ahhhhhh!!!! Our names, written out by Mark Seliger, right there in black & white!!! Seriously, what a DREAM come true!!
It just blows my mind how this little business & this little blog have brought SO many incredible, amazing, above & beyond people into our lives. People we do not deserve. But we are all the better for knowing. People we would have never gotten to meet if we hadn't started typing a few words in a free Blogger blog seven years ago. Don't be afraid to put yourselves out there, friends. Don't be afraid to put words up for the world to see. Don't be afraid to let people in. Because those people could change everything for you. Rachel, we are so so SO thankful for you!! There are no words. You're amazing my friend!
Justin & I saw The Secret Life of Walter Mitty a few weeks back, and we absolutely fell in LOVE with it. At the end, we just sat in our seats for the longest time watching the credits roll...and the tears roll down our cheeks. I can't explain it. It just hit a nerve. It made me feel something I haven't felt in a while. A renewed vision. A new pride in this thing that we do. And I think as photographers, it hit us even harder than the normal viewer.
There was this part in particular where Sean Penn's character talks about how during the best moments he likes to put his camera down. So that he's not so busy trying to capture the moment that he misses it. Gah! How many of us photographers are SO busy trying to capture the moment in our own lives for Instagram or the blog or Facebook....that we miss actually living in it? And then of course, my FAVORITE part of the whole movie that came from that same scene when Sean Penn says...
The most beautiful things don't ask for attention.
Ahhh SO good. I think EVERY photographer out there should go see this movie. And non-photographers too! Everybody, basically! :) We were talking about this with the crew for our Profoto shoot the first night they got here & it just reminded me of it all over again. So I thought I would write about it here. So you guys can have that fire lit in you too.
Seriously, this weekend. Just do it. Go see it!! :)
So how about any of you guys?? Did you see it? Did you LOVE it??? :)
This past weekend we had an engagement shoot up in Boston, so we made our way up early so that we could take in some of the "Head of the Charles" while we were there! The HOCR is a crew boat race in the Charles River where high schools, colleges, and teams from all over the world come to compete. We got there just as one of my alma maters, the Yale women's team, went by. And later we saw that the Yale men's team was set up right next to the RIT team (which is Justin's alma mater)....so it was pretty awesome all around!!
Justin got to go to the HOCR once when he was little & we've been talking about going together for the longest time. So this year we made it happen! And we already have plans to go back next year with a blanket & a picnic to take in the whole day there on the banks of the Charles. But if I'm being 100% honest, while watching the races is definitely super cool, I had my own ulterior motives for going in the form of the KJP booth at the main Brooks Brothers tent!
I've been following Kiel James Patrick (KJP) & Sarah Vickers (SarahKJP) since earlier this year on Instagram (after my good friend Tiffany told me about them) and I LOVE following along & seeing everything they're up to! If you are a fan of all things preppy, New Englandy goodness, trust me you should definitely follow along as well! Together they have the fashion brand "Kiel James Patrick" that is basically all the things that I love. In fact, when I just spoke at Pursuit 31, all the speakers got one of their polka dot cross-over bags and an anchor bracelet. And then. I. died. (Loooooove you Karen Stott for being the best gift giver EVER!!)
So long story short, I knew they were going to be at the HOCR too & I was determined to meet them! Two cab rides, one shuttle ride, one wrong Brooks Brothers tent (the one that was two miles from the main one), and an hour walking in boots that were most definitely not made for....well....walking. We finally made it to the tent! And there they were!
So I of course immediatelyt urned into some super shy stalkery version of myself that I didn't even know existed & I just bought my pink & blue bow bracelet and started to walk away. But then I was like, you know what, what did I spend ALL of January telling people at The What's Next Tour?? Wasn't it....forget FEAR! You never know, unless you ASK! If you want something, DO something. And I darn well needed to take my own advice.
So I went back in the booth, introduced myself & asked if I could have a picture with them. And you know what, they said yes. AND even better, they were super amazing about it & so, so nice in person that it made me forget all about the blisters I got in getting there.
So there you go. I think sometimes it's just when we've come the farthest, when we've taken the most scrapes, and we're almost there, that's when FEAR gets the loudest.
It's in those moments, we have to pull ourselves up by the bootstraps & just be brave enough to Ask.
And since I'm still on Cloud 9 from meeting these guys and the whole crazy adventure working out, we thought we'd spread the preppy love your way too! Just leave us a comment in the box below saying hi & we're going to pick ONE lucky winner to get your choice of either one of their bow bracelets or anchor bracelets. And....GO!!
**ETA: We would love to give a HUGE congrats to the winner of our KJP giveaway, Miss Kathleen Berger!!! Shoot us an email Kathleen so we can get your mailing addy!!
It's the Life Magazine gallery of their favorite images from Jackie & JFK's wedding, many of which had never been published before. And knowing me well and that I am a big fan of all things nostalgic, black & white and Jackie Kennedy in general...she knew that I would want to see it. And she was so right!
What she didn't necessarily know though (or maybe she did...my friends are pretty amazing like that!) is exactly how much looking at these pictures would set my heart on fire. For they stand for so much of what I believe wedding photography should be, and more and more of what we strive to have in our own work every day.
They are...honest. Intimate, Iconic. Raw. Unforced. Unposed. Documentary, while at the same time telling a deeper story. They exist, uninterrupted, as if a photographer wasn't even there.
They are...authentic. Organic. Both in that they unfold naturally, and that they themselves seem to actually be breathing with life. Each and every one was taken with a refusal to say "pretend." And when I look at them, it makes me feel like I was there.
They are graceful. Understated, not needing anything more to make them beautiful. Elegant. Emotional. Enduring. Unbounded by the pressures to give in to the trends of the day. And therefore, as relevant today as the day that they were taken.
These pictures set my heart on fire. And they remind me of why we do what we do.
For this & for friends who know me so well...I am grateful.
**All photos credited to: Lisa Larsen, Time & Life Pictures, Getty Images
So tell me....what gets you fired up? What images remind you of what you want your own work to be? Where do you turn for inspiration? Leave us a note & we'll pick one winner to win a $25 Starbucks card. Because coffee is also very inspiring. Obviously!
Recently someone asked me if I ever watch the tv show "New Girl."
When I answered that I hadn't started watching it yet & did they think I would like it, they told me that they thought I would. Mostly because the main character Jess reminded them of me. They said, "Oh yea, she sings to herself and does little dances and is super quirky too." Uhhhhh thanks, I guess! :) I mean I always knew that my dance moves & stellar singing voice were legendary....but I never knew anyone else was taking notice! Jazz hands....It's Mary!
So speaking of all those random little quirky things that I'm (apparently) known for, here are a few more!
1. I would have entire conversations in movie quote & other random (often obscure) pop culture references....if only other people could actually figure out what I was talking about! One of my personal bests happened yesterday, where in the space of about two sentences, I was able to reference Jay-Z, Final Destination, Helen Hunt riding a cow, Bridesmaids and Don Draper all in one breath. It was a very good day.
2. I love my dog more than the normal appropriate amount, I'm pretty sure. I like hanging out with him so much that recently he's actually taken to spending time in other rooms of the house. It's basically like he's saying "It's not you, it's me. I just need some space. I'll call you."
3. On a recent flight we discovered that a P.F. Changs had just opened in the Atlanta airport. And now every flight I ever take EVER must have a layover in Atlanta. Nothing cures a draining day of travel like some vegetarian lettuce wraps. Word!
4. We recently crossed the first item off our Fall Bucket List by decorating our front porch with mums & pumpkins. While we were shopping, I discovered these small bags full of little gourds & such that also contained these amazing small striped pumpkins. So I bought four bags of them just so I could get the pumpkins. Now I have a lot of gourds.
5. I know that it's supposed to be golden light & sunshine that we're all in love with, but I gotta say it....I love me some gray skies! Don't get me wrong, I love that golden sunshiney light too, but there is just something so cozy about waking up and seeing one of those gray, cement mixer New England skies outside. It makes me want to eat clam chowder. Plus it makes for the softest, prettiest, silver light for pictures!
6. Anchors. Kind of obsessed with them! I have them on my door, I have them on my shelves. And now, thanks to the amazing Eryn Kesler....I'll have them in my ears & on my thank you notes too! Love you Eryn!
7. Hold up. They make pumpkin spice m&m's now?!?! I haven't even had them yet & I already know I LOVE them!
8. I wear polka dots. A LOT. Recently I realized I had paired a polka dot top WITH a polka dot skirt. And that's when I knew I needed a polka dot intervention. Not to be confused with a polka intervention. That would be very different indeed.
9. I'm pretty certain this was written just for me. Because it was exactly what I needed to hear. And, I'm really grateful that God didn't tie my heart to a dream of professional singing. As is the rest of America. :)