An ever-changing world

Just in case my blog didn’t have enough typos already, I’ve discovered the WordPress application for iPhone, which I used to give appropriate credit to David Williams in my previous post. I may use this space for fleeting photography-related thoughts that are not quite fleeting enough for Twitter.

I’m on my way to two client meetings now. I have a nice little space in my office to greet clients properly, but a lot of the couples I work with are nose-to-the-grindstone New Yorkers, so I come to them when I can. While packing, my old RAZR phone fell out of a drawer,and I realized something: the ever-changing tech world drops values more than we may realize. While it’s shocking that a phone that, just a few years ago, was a super-expensive luxury item is now too cheap to bother selling, it gets worse. How much would someone have to pay *me* to go back to just a normal cell phone, even a sleek one? North of $1,000, for sure, given how useful smartphones are for small businesses. How much would someone have to pay me to shoot weddings with my old “Frankencamera,” the Fuji S2? I shudder to think.

How quick people are to adapt to their environments. I did fine with that old camera, which churned out great files for its time. Before long we’ll all wonder how we could have shot anything without ISO 5 billion, as we watch the burgeoning field of “inside a closed refrigerator” photography.

What piece of tech would you never, ever part with, even though you were decently happy before it existed?

Alexandra and David: 12.6.08

View the slideshow of this wedding!

This wedding couldn’t have come at a better time. I recently got back from a seminar where I heard the great Australian portrait photographer David Williams talk about the importance of families, and of photos in our own personal histories. At the end of the day, what we wedding and portrait photographers do isn’t about equipment or Photoshop actions or textures … it’s about documenting the stories of friends and families, and shaping memories. And I felt that so keenly at the wedding of Alexandra and David.

You see, once upon a time, there was a bride named Marisa. New Yorker through-and-through, as you can see below:

Giving the (ring) finger

I shot her wedding in May 2007, and had an absolute blast. Marisa had a sister, Natalia, who was getting married in November. “I LOVED your photographer,” Natalia said, “but I want to get married in Miami. Where can I find someone like him down there?”

Marisa said, “you know … I don’t think Ryan would mind leaving New York for Miami in November.” And so I shot Natalia’s wedding:

Kiss by Dusk

It was an especially great compliment to be flown down because, as of the last census, South Florida has 156 wedding photographers per square foot. It felt like a personal reunion as much as a wedding, and I left with a glow, loving life and my job.

You can probably see where this is going. There was a third sister, and her name was Alexandra. With the help in particular of her amazing mother, she was able to plan her wedding all the way from Singapore, where she and David live. It helped, of course, that she saw what had worked and what didn’t for her other sisters … and hiring me was a foregone conclusion. Our first client meeting basically boiled down to … “So, do you book the flight or do we?”

It has been such an honor to shape so much of a family’s history, to walk into a home during bridal preparations and see prints of my work hanging on a wall. It’s times like these that even a 14-hour day doesn’t feel anything like work. (Of course, it didn’t hurt that the wedding was at the fantastic Red Fish Grill in Miami, not a bad place to be in December).

I’m only sad that I’ve run out of sisters.

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Greetings from Miami

Lifeguard Off Duty

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Sharon and David: 11.29.08

View this wedding’s slideshow!

You want to talk intimidation? How about shooting for a family of surgeons where they joke that the Harvard-attending world-class fencer is the underachiever? How about a groom who’s a top-notch, award-winning cinematographer? How about trying to do justice to a gorgeous ceremony at New York’s prestigious Yale Club?

In fact, though, every moment of shooting David and Sharon’s wedding was a joy. They are warm, fantastic people, and there’s nothing quite like shooting for a room full of cinematographers. Every five minutes or so someone would come up to me and say, “Hey, that shot you just took? That was a great frame!” Above all, the emotions were heart-felt and vibrant. Eventually people stopped even trying to wipe away tears, it was just no use. And guest after guest lavished praise on the couple. As the best man said when it was his turn to speak, “I know there have been a lot of long speeches already about how great Sharon and David are … and this one isn’t going to break that mold.”

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