Tomorrow is Travis and Kristen's BIG DAY so here at the studio we're gearing up to hit the road for beautiful St Mary's, Ontario, where we'll be capturing their "I Do's" and a bash that will surely go down in family history! Excited, I pulled their country engagement shoot from the archive and loved it again. So, here it is for you - a very cool laid-back couple in a place they love to be, probably in anticipation at this very moment - the day before their Wedding Day.
Keeping it real and having a good time were key when Matt and Melissa planned their wedding weekend at Camp New Moon. The drive up to Baysville was all Canadian shield and pine trees and it didn't take long to see that Matt and Melissa were going to do this Canadian style - laid back, fun and surrounded by nature! Family and friends arrived to the smiling faces of wedding party camp counsellors who, in addition to being the engine of the party, took care of everyone around them like family. It was warm, funny and never EVER dull!
Since we like our images to tell the story I'll leave you hear to indulge in the gorgeously heartfelt wedding of Matt and Melissa... and one particularly hairy guest!
I love asking couples about their history. It always brings out inspiring stories about how and where they met and a it's a reminder of the serendipity of it all. How on earth we end up where we end up could be so wildly different if we had only made one choice per day differently. For Renata and Cameron, a series of choices and challenges define the 25 year road they've travelled together. They began as two young babes, on September 15th, 1990.
When I asked Renata her story, she began like this:
"I was 16 years old living in São Paulo. One night I went to a party with school friends which was to be a blind date with my friend's brother-in-law. I remember thinking, "He better be nice, because I'm going to marry him." He was 20 and was in university. He thought I was 18. When he realized how young I was, I guess it was too late.
We dated for four years before moving in together and lived together for four more years before deciding, on a whim, to get married. We began thinking about moving to Canada, and thought it would be easier to stay together if we were legally married, so four months after his proposal, we eloped. We had decided to sell our car to buy our tickets to Canada, but our car got stolen, so the Canada dream had to wait another two years. One day we decided it was time to move, so we quit our jobs, packed two suitcases each, closed the apartment and moved to Toronto, Canada."
"Oh, those first years! You know those wedding vows... for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and health, until death do us part? We started off with with the bad... the 'worse', 'poorer', 'sickness' part. The first 19 years were a rollercoaster. Everything that could go wrong did go wrong. At the time it seemend like a never endingbad luck streak, but it's so nice to look back after all these years and see how far we have come... Yes, we made it! We also probably hold the world record of longest time together before having a child. Our son celebrated his first birthday just after our twenty year anniversary of being together!
Because of that "poorer" part, we never got to have decent pictures of our elopment. A cousin was nice enough to take pictures for us, but then I destroyed the kiss photo by opening the camera thinking the film had been unwinded, when it hadn't. So, when we celebrated 25 years together, all I wanted was some great pictures. We are a bit heavier, there's less hair, but oh, how I treasure these images!"
There are so many ways to tell a story. Today I want to share a different way than usual. The MacCormacks, always up for something new, agreed to sit in the studio after their family session, and without preparation or direction, shared the story of their joint life together. It's a tale of love and commitment and following your path that reminds us that no life experience goes without challenges and that anything worth doing requires some grit.
We recorded this story in our studio recently. It's the first I've done and although it may lack finesse, it really satisfies the historian in me that believes strongly in recording our stories for others to hear. The digital whimsy is all Jeffrey's work. They are pieces he's created in recent months that we thought added another layer of awesomeness to the story of these very cool people! Hope you enjoy their story :)
If you know them, then you already know. Averill and her husband Brendan are adventurous hearts - it's what brought them together (meeting while employed on a cruise ship) and it's what underlies the way they raise their kids and live their lives. Most people don't come to the realization that life is short until later on, but Averill and Brendan are teaching their kids in a not-so-subtle way that life is for living. They've sold off the contents of their home and packed up a suitcase each to move their family to Australia! Granted, Brendan is from Australia, but they don't have a place to live, jobs or even a plan. They're going where the wind takes them. It's going to be an amazing lesson for their kids to watch, because no doubt, they'll land on their feet, problems-solve through challenges and love their way into new circles of friends and neighbours. Don't we all want our kids to be a able to do these things? Someday, without us to guide them.
Today is a special day in Averill and Brendan's history - it's their 10th Anniversary! A significant day from which they have no photographs because they "sort of eloped" in Averill's own words. With Averill being a photographer, I thought this was sacrilege of the nth degree and so when they asked me to photograph their family before their big adventure, I enthusiastically accepted and vowed to capture something worthy of a tenth anniversary!
Dear Beautiful Bell Family,
We are so proud to know you! Aspire widely.
Life as a working artist, mother-partner and household juggler is tricky enough that staving off the social pressure of taking a job outside of our craft is sometimes unbearable. When an artist realizes that their art is not a calling, but a chronic insistence of the soul, something clicks. And then - the leap! Artist Meredith Blunt takes us through her journey of fear, viability and the art of happiness. Meredith's fearless work and artistic adventures can be followed here on her Facebook page.
Today, I am glad to be seen as a fearless artist in my home with a tiny kitchen studio full of my paintings and my family bouncing around me. It all gives me such confidence, insight and joy in my journey.
I am glad as it has not always been this way.
For years, my fear told me I would fail, not to waste time. My perception of the world told me that denying my art was the correct choice to make. I lost something to expectation, obligation, and responsibility. Those big, grown up, weighty words that I could not apply to my passion but could apply to everything else like the laundry. I lay down my brushes and put away my box of paints and built a career that brought in a salary, benefits, normalcy, security. In the midst of a happy, normal life I felt lost and unhappy, despite my best attempts to be who I thought I needed to be. I had become useful and viable.
I had vanished.
A long time passed.
Then, one day, not that long ago, that passion which comes from a hardwired mysterious core that is as unique as our fingerprints, became utterly impossible to ignore any longer. Simple, basic pleasure had me put my hand to my still-wet canvas. I savoured the feel, the smell, the touch of the paint. My fear would no longer be the loudest voice. I would no longer be unkind to my honest self.
I learned that living your creative passion does not take away from your viability - it contributes to your life! I am so much more in tune with my family, so much more alive, so much more ME. Much like how relationships found within friendship, marriage, children, family can add intrinsic loving elements to complete the portrait we build of ourselves, Art is filling in the spaces that had been emptied by my own harsh choices. Without painting in my day-to-day, I was absent from my own life.
The price of avoiding failure is worse than the stumble. Failures will come and they can change fears into experience, pain into expressive beauty, change loss into a gain of what you didn’t know before you tried. Embrace them as a greater measure of your quality. They are fuel for passion and big or small, over the course of a life, they contribute to that honest portrait.
Don’t be afraid.
meredith's note to self
I see you.
I know it when I see a kid who sees unicorns in the snow. I know it when I see a kid who hears music and stories in colours. And, I know it when I see a kid, a person, who diminishes themselves because they want to please, they want to fit in, and they're afraid of failing, because they are afraid.
Failing at what?
Afraid of what?
When you get a little older, when you learn a little more, you'll come across the paintings of a woman called Georgia O'Keeffe. What you'll see is colour, bright, strange, interpretative, dissonant, and wonderful. What you'll keep of her is this:
"I've been absolutely terrified every moment of my life and I've never let it keep me from doing a single thing I wanted to do."
It is okay to be scared. We all feel it at times. You are bigger and louder than that fear.
Remember that and always conquer it with your colours flying. They are something to be seen. Don't be afraid.
This time last year we were waiting for a barefoot bride to walk down a sandy beach aisle to her longtime love and I thought, it just doesn't get better than this! Love, family, a stunning backdrop, the smell of salt and the sound of crashing waves - it's a shame that a camera can only record the equivalent of one of ours senses. For non-traditional, outdoor-lovers Daniela and Edvard, a beach wedding with some of their favourite people seemed like the only way to go. It was a vision Daniela had locked away in her head when she had visited Paradise beach nine years earlier and true to the power of imagining what you want, here she was, walking toward a draped pergola and her husband-to-be standing beneath it. In a gorgeous place like this there are a lot of wedding formalities that can go by the wayside - décor, stuffy shoes and one formality that Edvard was all too glad to dispense of - a suit! One thing they did not do away with was dancing! With their family around them they danced about as hard as anyone could... and if you look closely, you might even see Daniela dancing her way to getting married! This month, Daniela and Edvard celebrate ten years together and their first wedding anniversary and we raise a glass to them - cin-cin e cent'anni! Cheers to 100 years!
We were so happy to be part of your love and light.
Angela & László