Archive for 'Rock the Dress'
I am a big believer in marriage and want to celebrate couples who have stuck together through thick and thin. I think its important in today’s day and age to have people to look up to in this regard. In order to celebrate this, I put out a contest in Facebook for a free Rock the Dress session for the couple who had been married the longest and was open to doing a no-holds barred photography session. Kristi and Joe responded right away and told me they’ve been dying to do this. They have been married since 1995. That’s 17 years! That’s awesome!
When I contacted Kristi about planning the session, Kristi was a little embarrassed that her dress was really old fashioned with big poofy sleeves and almost Disney like (her description not mine). I thought about the challenge of this. Her concern is that the dress is a different fashion from what you would see today. Trends in fashion change just every few years so that what is “in” one year is “out” the next. Well in this case it has been 17 years. A lot of fashion trends have come and gone. Kristi suggested maybe having the dress altered to look more modern.
I thought about this overnight and talked to my wife, Shaleen, about this challenge. Then the most obvious thing hit me. “THAT’S THE POINT”. I’m here to celebrate a long, happy marriage of a couple that has been in love a long time. Of course fashion is going to be different. The look of the dress is a testament to how long they have been married. This dress needs to be celebrated exactly the way it is! The fact that it is from a different era is the BEST part and we shouldn’t hide from it! Lets rock this thing!!!
Here is a behind the scenes look at my wife Shaleen helping cut the sleeves prior to the rip.
Hair and make-up by Alroe Ink.
Kristi and Joe, thank you for being an example to so many of us of what a long, happy marriage looks like. I celebrate your love and can’t wait until Shaleen and I hit that milestone!
This may be a long blog post…Let me start of with one image so you will stick around for the read.
I loooove trash the dress sessions. It’s a passion. I’ve been doing them since about 2007. It allows so much creativity and freedom to explore cool portrait ideas in a way that you could never do on the wedding day. That being said I recently read an article on a blog that has sort of changed my opinion on this movement. The article is from the popular blog, “The Offbeat Bride”. It’s an older article which I found while looking for fun ideas. You can read it here: Article
The writer makes the point that the trash the dress movement celebrates excess, where the bride is almost making a statement of “look at me destroy this $xxxx dress because I can!”, and then explains how these dresses could have been donated to charities or sold instead of being destroyed. Its not often that I am left in deep thought after reading a blog post but this one had me really soul searching.
“My brides aren’t destroying their dresses, we are making art!”, I thought to myself. I am not setting dresses on fire or shooting paint balls at them like other people do, we are just putting them in the ocean or around the streets. Not one of my brides’ dresses has been destroyed, but the writer still has a very valid point. I am calling the session a TRASH the dress session. Regardless of whether we destroy the dresses or not, the wording implies that a $xxxx dress = trash. That is the epitome of excess and I don’t want to be a part of it.
Thank you Offbeat Bride for making me take a look at myself and question why I do what I do. From now on I will call these sessions by the alternate name of Rock the Dress. I think that is more applicable and less wasteful-sounding. I am committed to doing some awesome artwork with these sessions but doing them in a way that is not wasteful or indulgent. Also, for all the brides reading this, I want you to know that there are charities you can donate your dress to after your wedding. There is an organization dedicated to raising money for breast cancer you can give your dress to here: Brides against breast cancer
So onto Kristin and Tommy. As some of you know, I have a BFA degree in motion picture film-making and I get a lot of my photography inspiration from movies. My passion is capturing moments as they happen but we are doing portraits where there is an opportunity for something outside the box, I like to look at movies for inspiration on lighting, mood, scenery and ideas. There is this old church in downtown Miami that has this cross on the steeple and I look at it often and when I see it, I picture Batman with his flowing cape against the night standing near it and watching over Gotham city. Yes, I’m a dork and I used to read comic books but I also love the Batman movies. Anyways, I then thought to myself, what if instead of Batman, we insert a bride with a long flowing white dress? YES! And insert a groom with bride! Awesome. Oh, and instead of Gotham City we’ll just do it in Miami.
I have had that thought swimming in my head for the past couple of years waiting for the right couple. Today was this day…
We then moved inside for some other cool portraits.
Kristin and Tommy, thank you for fulfilling my secret Batman fantasy and I hope you enjoy the images as much as I enjoyed taking them. Lots of love to you both.
Jennifer and James are one of the easiest going couples I’ve met. So fun to be with and down to earth. Jennifer decided to trash her dress well before her wedding and I had been looking forward to this moment! A big thanks to Jennifer’s mom, Dolores, who is one of my biggest fans!
Cameo appearance by Jennifer and James’ dog, Pinch!
I feel hesitant to call this a trash the dress (ttd for short), because technically the dress did not get ruined doing these photos. Maybe a super rocking, urban shoot with a cool couple would be a better name, but s.r.u.s.w.c.c. doesn’t anagram as good. Karen and Rich are fresh from their honeymoon and she was a trooper to get back in her wedding dress to do this session. This shoot was a blast! I honestly think I had more fun than Karen and Rich. So much fun to walk between the cars and on the metro.
Adriana and Nathan love pictures and they wanted to take lots of portraits in San Juan del Sur, Nicaragua for their wedding. I suggested that we limit the portraits on the actual wedding day to a few so that the family would not have to wait for long periods of time for the bride and groom and to instead do the majority of the portraits the following day when we can take our time and be more careless with the dress itself. So on that note, Adriana and Nathan surprise me with the idea of horses on the beach. I was like, “Absolutely!”
So after a night of partying, Adriana still looks gorgeous and Nathan is ready to go with his Guayabera. A horse wrangler and tour guide extraordinaire namded Blue, picks us up at the hotel on a 4×4 Nissan truck. Blue used to be a photographer herself and when she saw all of the Nikon gear plus the trash the dress situation come up, she was ready to help with anything. I big part of the success of the pictures are due to Blue’s help and I want to thank her for her passion and time. The reason for the 4×4 truck is that the beach we were going to shoot at was about 30 minutes through a bumpy, wet, rocky road through the country. This beach was so desolate, that its literally the beach the Survivor TV show just finished shooting in and the crew had left just two months before.
I love how the beaches are surrounded by gorgeous mountains.
After the horses I wanted to do an actual trash the dress portrait of Adriana sporting the boots.
Blue was nice enough to let us take some portraits on her rancho. Check out how beautiful her front doors are.
We went back to San Juan del Sur for more portraits in the town. I wanted the personality of the town to be as much of a subject in the portraits as much as Adriana and Nathan. To me the pictures had to reflect both Adriana and Nathan and the pueblo. Wherever we shot, kids or bystanders would stop and check out what we were doing from a distance. Every building had its own personality and color and I wanted it all. Adriana and Nathan were the most awesome models. I think (hope) they had a blast and me and my assistant sure did as well.
Adriana and Nathan, thank you again. Enjoy the images and I look forward to showing you the album soon.