It's strange how something can really change your perspective...
This weekend I got to be a part of an awesome wedding. I had really been looking forward to it- it was the first one of the season for us, and I knew that Derek and Kristen were going to be great to work with. But this one was going to be different.
New venue for us? Check.
Visually challenging? Check.
Less-than-perfect schedule? Check.
My second-shooter Natalie even asked me a few times why I was so relaxed and stress-free. Truth is, I received a call the night before informing me that my Grandfather was in hospice care and time was short. I was raised by my grandparents, so this was a big deal. This was the man that instilled my work ethic in me. The man that never took a vacation. The man that said there will be time for fun when the work is done. Whether he knew it or not, I took these words to heart, but adjusted them to suit my personality. I work my ass off, but I have fun doing it. And that brings us back to this wedding day. As I spent the day doing what I absolutely love, there was no stress. With the knowledge that his time on Earth could be ending at any time, I had the comfort of knowing that I was right where he would want me to be. Right where he would be. Working his ass off, doing what he loved, and providing for his family. With all that in the back of my mind, nothing else seemed important enough to stress about.
The day went amazingly well. I got to spend the day with awesome people, we created some beautiful images, and we captured one of the biggest days of someone's life.
Later that night, we got the call. His pain was finally gone. And even though this will forever be Derek and Kristen's big day, it will be a big day for me as well. A day that I paid tribute to a man that forever will have an impact on me.
Here are a couple of quick sneak peeks of that day...
On a recent run, I had a fairly profound thought. To be honest, I have a LOT of profound thoughts while running. Perhaps it's the increased blood flow to my brain providing needed clarity, although I'm more inclined to think it's some freaky near-death experience due to my lack of fitness. This can be debated by historians for decades to come, but let's get back to the big idea.
Me... and how I became the person I am.
During the aforementioned run, I was thinking about what may have influenced me to make some of the major choices in my life. As I broke it down to the essentials, the two biggest things in my adult life (obviously outside of family) have been music and photography, and I started to wonder why? The music answer is incredibly easy. My uncle Chris introduced to great music, and how to listen to it. It was more than just handing me a Pink Floyd record. It was a full experience. It was more than just pushing play and having noise in the background- music was best served in a comfy dark room, with a seemingly infinite amount of knobs and sliders to carve the perfect sound for what you were listening to. It was about custom built speakers and ginormous headphones that could theoretically turn your brain into applesauce. Some of my earliest memories are based around Chris and the music, and I'm 100% sure that's why music has always been such a large part of who I am.
That leaves us with photography. This one was a bit more subtle, and sort of snuck up on me. My earliest memory? A poster. I know what you're thinking... "A poster is your earliest memory? That's so sad/lame/etc". But it wasn't just any poster. This poster hanging on the back of my Uncle Steve's door was THE poster of the late 70's/early 80's. You know the one, the famous Farrah Fawcett poster, shot by Bruce McBroom. You are obviously asking yourself "why?" right about now. Was it the Southwestern-inspired blanket hanging in the background? Nope. Was it the super-sweet feathered hair? Probably not. Was it the fact that she was either really cold or really happy? Not really. The thing that stuck with that four year-old kid was there was some sort of connection. It was all about the eyes and the impossibly big smile. To this day, I still strive to create an emotional connection with every image I create.
When I look back at what shaped my photographic eye, I see a lot of influence from both of my uncles. Images ranging from classic pinups and calendar girls hanging in the garage, to album covers and band posters in the listening room, I've really come to understand how I have gotten to the place I am. I obviously shoot more than bands and women, but I feel like those are the things that I have excelled at for one reason or another.
The moral of this terribly convoluted attempt at a story? If you are an aunt or an uncle, be aware of the influence you have on the little ones around you. It might be a bigger impact than you will ever know!
During consultations with potential clients, I'm often asked why I started shooting weddings (and I LOVE clients that ask questions!!!). It happens enough that I figured it would make a perfect blog!
So here goes.
I'm Randy, and I'm a hopeless romantic. There. I said it. I love love.
There's something about a wedding day. On one hand, it's the finish line to a wonderfully exciting (and sometimes fantabulously frustrating) planning process. From the smallest detail, to the most important dress in your life, you've poured over everything dozens of times. But on the other hand, it's the first step in the journey through the rest of your life.
There's an electricity in the air. And I get to be in the middle of it.
My job is to capture the feeling of the day, while also creating wonderful pieces of art that families will cherish forever.
And I get to watch little kids dance. Absolute awesomeness.
And don't tell anyone, but I'm a sucker for a good speech, and yes, the occasional tear has been shed.
Basically, every wedding is different, and is an opportunity for me to create my art from my clients' precious memories. There are different challenges and victories every time (as in the image above!).
But Love always wins- my love for what I do, and more importantly, the love that my clients share.
We recently ran a contest on our Facebook page www.facebook.com/theprogressiveimage. The prize is a photo session of your choice valued up to $300! Did you win? Watch and find out!
I'm often asked by clients, who am I, how did I start doing what I'm doing, and is it possible for me to add more Justin Timberlake to the session playlist? Well folks, prepare to be educated!
Let's get the big one out of the way... No, it is not possible to add more JT to the session playlist, all his material is already included. That's actually a half-truth, I take pride in having a very diverse selection of tunes available for my clients listening pleasure (clients can also bring in their own iPod/CD's/vinyl).
Now a little about me and how I got here. Do you remember that kid who always ran around with camera in hand and was ALWAYS taking pictures? Yeah, I do too. I was creeped out by that kid. I know a lot of my contemporaries grew up doing photography (including my lovely wife), but that was never me. I was always creative, and loved the idea of creating images, but I concentrated my energy on music, and spent most of my adult life as a professional musician. When I went to school to get my graphic design degree, I took a photography class to "help my design work". I borrowed my wife's camera and absolutely hated the first two weeks of class, to the point that I nearly dropped it. At some point early on, it started clicking, and soon after I fell head over heals in love and never looked back. I ended up finishing both programs, but quickly decided that photography was what I was put on this planet to do... OK, perhaps that is overstating it. I was actually put on the Earth to father the two most beautiful children ever created, but I'm pretty sure that this is the career that was meant to feed them.
One of the things that I adore about photography is the way that it mirrors the music industry. Much like a singer-songwriter can move you with just a guitar and their voice, someone can simply shoot in natural light with minimal equipment and convey an emotion. Then there are the artists that tend to resonate with me that build their compositions through many layers- Radiohead, Thirty Seconds To Mars, Prince, and the aforementioned JT. I feel like my style of image making leans toward this aesthetic. I love creating and manipulating the light, building the composition, and then completely tearing it all apart and putting it back together in post-production. Sometimes people talk about "rockstar photographers", but to me all the great ones are like stellar music producers. I feel much more in common with Timbaland, Nigel Godrich, or Alan Parsons when I'm creating than I do with a performer.
So there's your first taste of what is going on inside of the head of your new favorite photographer to work with! Check back weekly for more insights, stories on specific shoots, and more!