When I first began being recognized as a photographer I was hesitant to ever let on that I had a previous occupation, even a successful one. As time has gone on however I've come to believe that authenticity and professionalism can coexist in the same sentence just fine.
So with that in mind: I used to be an interior designer. It's what my bachelors degree is in and I owned a busy pretty business for 11 years before switching to photography. The people that knew me then often ask, "why did you give up design? Do you just like photography better?" And the answer I've been giving for years now was that design was 20% design and relationships and 80% paperwork, while photography is 80% photography and relationships and 20% paperwork- so since I love art and relationships it was an easy decision. The thing is, that answer is true, it's 100% true in fact – but it's not the whole answer.
I hit upon the rest of the answer at an engagement shoot a few months back when a soon to be groom asked me why I did photography. I started talking about art and beauty and helping people see how beautifully God made them- it was like a light went on. When I was designing spaces I loved it because a person in a beautiful space is so much happier than a person in a disorganized ugly space; how much more that holds true for photography! A person who feels beautiful in their own skin is so much more confident and happy than someone who wears their skin heavily with the burden of insecurities. We all have insecurities, myself as much as the next one, but the longer I do this the more I find that there is beauty in each of us and as a photographer I get to take that cliché and make it a reality that lifts my clients confidence. What else would I possibly want to do with my life? (Other than raise babies to love God and loves others which I get to do at the same time, lucky me).
I recently went to a conference with a small group of women creatives. As the date for the retreat/conference grew closer all of these women kept talking about how excited they were to dive into relationships with each other and as much as I love me a good snuggling sleep over I just kept thinking "well I have my friends, and I have my people, can we just do business please? I don't need any heart wrenching, gut spilling sessions, I just need some networking and some great ideas on how to do business better." Ha! You will be not surprised to know that I didn't get my way.
I went into this retreat with only one or two people that I actually connected with or felt any resemblance to in the group and I am emerged from it with my jaw on the floor over how strong, courageous, broken, and beautiful all eight of those women are. Over three days we learned from each other, got some great ideas on business practices, and found beauty in each other's brokenness. What I would have thought was a group of women who could not be more dissimilar ended up being a gathering of people whose hearts were all so very alike that it was easy to see the grace in each other and to take what had been perceived as annoying habits and suddenly call them adorable quirks.
You see those freckles above? She's a busy, loving, tired mom; and a kind and funny friend; and I bet her husband counts those freckles with love. See that smudge of a tattoo below? It reminds her of the love between her and her mother, and even though it's not quite how she wanted it, it's perfect in who it says she is- a daughter that finds comfort and safely and peace in her family...
Oh what an incredible reminder of the joy I find in my job and in the ability to reveal to people their own loveliness and how they are perceived by the world around them. Hearts and souls are all so very similar; weighed down, dented, and sometimes a bit ripped: but so useful and beautiful and valuable- a five dollar bill found in the gutter will buy you the same amount of tacos as one fresh off the press- in fact it's way less obnoxious because it won't stick to the other bills in your pocket.
How incredibly grateful I am to have the opportunity to make an occupation out of showing people their intrinsic worth. And these photos? Well we did get around to doing some business and these head shots are proof that these lovely ladies are as gorgeous on the outside as they are on the inside.
Thanks to the amazing friends I found in these women creatives: Janae Hoffman (another interior designer and photographer- except she still does ID), Traci Patterson of Traci True Photography, Janelle Baty (MUA), Katherine Beth Evans of Katherine Beth Photography, Tracy Van Dam of Tracy VanDam Fotografie, Wendy of Chris and Wendy Weddings, and Larissa Lillis Annen of Daisy Portraits.
His name is Kurt, he's the one with just a hint of a smile on the left. He is my friend Judy's husband and a member of our church; sadly he passed away last Saturday. I was looking through photos three days ago for anything I could find of him for her and several things struck me.
Quite honestly I didn't know him well, but I remember talking to him several times as I worked the coffee cart at church or stood talking to his wife. He always seemed very quiet, but the good sort of quiet that made you feel like everything he said was important and that if he gave you a complement you might stick it in your back pocket and hold onto it for a week because it wasn't lightly given. The sort of fellow who might be loyal to a fault and quiet in public but who's wit kept those close to him calling him the life of the party. The thing is, I would not have remembered all that except that I was looking through these photos of a wedding I shot over two years ago and suddenly all the little bits I had seen of his character came rushing back to me. The photos are not brilliant, I've grown in my craft since then, but that's the thing about photos – they don't need to be perfect to evoke a memory. I remember standing there and laughing with these boys as one of them tried to make the statue “decent”, and after seeing this photo I remember that Kurt was the first to laugh. Take photos my friends, and even more, as Missy MWAC says, "print what you want to preserve." Get those photos out where you can see them every day, where the memories hold you up in rough times and make you laugh in good times- print what you want to preserve...
Please pray for Judy as she finds her feet in walking this path before her and take a few minutes to look back through your photos and remember why you love the people in them.
These two...these two make my heart happy. From when Liz was barely more than a baby herself and already watching my babies, to her tentative interest in this redhead who was showing up at her door, to him sitting on our couch asking for our blessing as he discussed asking for her hand, to...oh happy heart. I can't tell you how excited I was to photograph two of my favorites in my favorite style and all the lovely places I dragged them around to. Art is always always an expression of one's heart, so it stands to reason that photographing those you love in a style you're passionate about, is going to effortlessly come together just as you wanted it to- it did. All the more so because the love and respect and joy that they feel for each other is all over their sleeves and faces...
Jake and Lizzy's engagement photos:
I truely love you both.
Polite Provisions- Old school twenties style bar with argueably the best drinks in town
The Palomar Hotel- Darling botique hotel in downtown San Diego just a few steps from everything
And that dreamy wedding with the darling flower girl? There were TWO flower girls and they were both precious and did a stellar job lining the way for the gorgeous bride. As promised here is a sneak peek of the little one... and then sweetness herself with her daddy, the handsome best man..... A little bit of her uncle, the groom, with baby brother- and then hand in hand between uncle and daddy just made her day!
Kisses for the bride and brand new Aunty...
more vendor's to come in the final reveal post...
It stands to reason that Cody and Lacie's fairyland wedding would have just about the sweetest flower girls ever. This little darling was one day away from her third birthday when I took this photo but you would never know it by the way she walked- she was all composure and sweetness. Lovely job baby girl! (May I pretty please photograph your wedding in twenty years? I'm already desperate to).
Isn't she just the sweetest? Keep checking back and I'll have the other darling flower girl up early next week!
Vendor Love (clickable links)
(more vendors to come on future posts)
I have had the explicit pleasure of knowing Heather and Chip, (admittedly the former considerably better than the latter), since he was merely a possible hope on the horizon. It has been such a joy to witness their friendship grow into love and what was once just a simple "I can teach you to surf" turn into "I want to stay by your side forever." The glow that comes into Heather's face when she talks about her new husband, even to tease him (let's be honest, this is Heather), is not your everyday happy- it's something truly good. A fact that is not lost on Chip, who for his part is equally smitten with his bride and ready to hand her the world if it were to cross his path. Enjoy this peek into day one of their "to have and to hold for keeps."
Congratulations to the newest Fishers! May you always find joy in serving each other....
John Luzzi of Mr DJ
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