Getting engaged is one pretty awesome thing to celebrate … your wedding day, even better. Still in love and holding hands regularly fifty years later – that calls for a serious party! For Wayne and Sandra, it also meant an added surprise from their entire family.
These lovebirds tied the knot after Wayne proposed in a small Mexican restaurant in an almost-just-as-small Alabama town. He didn’t get down on one knee but she said yes anyway, and they began a long love story that is still turning pages today.
The most recent chapter opened up this past Thanksgiving, when the extended family flew in from South Carolina for a surprise reunion and anniversary party for the Mr. and Mrs. at The Ritz Carlton. Handsome, bow-tied boys and adorable little girls, smiling faces, generation-spanning stories and a lot of energy made this a picture-perfect time spent together. With so much love in one room, we were thrilled to be the illustrator of such a sentimental story. Here’s wishing many more chapters for Wayne and Sandra!
When you meet Walt and Scott, you immediately have to reshift your forever expectations. These guys are doing it right. Together, they evoke such a genuine sense of happiness and truly complement each other, putting truth to the cliché, “better together.” Getting to shoot the day where they made that togetherness official, legally, was something I couldn’t help but share.
Walt and Scott tied the knot almost a decade ago. It was a glorious party – what they call their “big, fat tropical affair” – and one they weren’t interested in recreating or upstaging. This was simply an intimate celebration to acknowledge that now it’s official. They planned an at-home wedding where they could recite their vows, sign the papers and toast with their closest friends and family just in time for the sunset to kick off a few more cocktails.
So, quite literally, these lovebirds are signed, sealed and delivered – “just kinda finishing what we started all those years ago,” they added. Definitely another memorable moment in their lives, the shots are as sweet as they are. From an artful ambiance and cool cufflinks to the smiling faces of their friends and family and the couple’s (second) first kiss as husbands, this was such a fun fete to get to be a fly on the wall … with a flash.
Eight years ago, I was doing some work for The Associated Press. The story connected a local special needs family to the then Presidential candidate, Sarah Palin, who also had a child with Down’s syndrome. That local family was The Moores – the star, their son Jacob.
I photographed Jacob at his home, where I met Heidi, his mom, his dad Steven and his brother Jared. We had a ton of fun – an imminent fact when you spend more than few seconds with Jacob – and the pictures are still some of my favorites. In fact, Heidi encouraged me to start doing family portraits for other families with special needs children … something that inspired the backyard studio at Life On Film!
Suffice it to say, Jacob left an even bigger impression on me – he is the subject of my front-and-center image on the Life On Film Photography website, a moment from the next time I got to see him. That chance meeting gave us time to catch up … time for me to learn he had been diagnosed with cancer.
Most recently, Jacob came to a Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta event where he performed as part of a music program that kids with cancer used as therapy. I hugged him, we talked about the time that had passed and I met his best friend Claudia. Years later, I would meet her again … when she asked Jacob to his first prom.
That story continues with Jacob – who also has Autism – fighting Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL). He and his family faced years of Chemotherapy and other Cancer treatments, but they took it head on with a positive and determined attitude centered around Jacob’s huge smile and vibrant, magnetic personality.
With the community support that rallied around him, The Moores became anything but strangers to the media. So, when he made the news for a different reason – his sharp dress and seriously impressive dance moves, to start – I couldn’t wait to be there to capture it. Jacob was going to prom.
His best friend, Claudia had asked him to be her “catch to prom” with an adorable baseball poster. The recap is too cute and touching not to share.
As any high schooler would, he said yes and started practicing for the big night. But the story doesn’t end there ….. Jacob has much more to celebrate than a beautiful date to the dance. After more than 6 years, Jacob has beaten leukemia. And that is certainly something worth capturing … and celebrating!
I’ve had my fair share of celebrities step into the lens – it’s a fully accepted hazard of the gig! But when the celebrity status takes on a more local vibe … well that’s the best kind.
The Elmore family of five are my neighbors in Avondale Estates. As someone who is a super supporter of getting everyone involved in our community, I love what this family’s dad brings to the table … or in this case, the park bench in our backyard studio at Life On Film. (And let’s not forget mom…. who keeps everyone in line.)
That smiling face reigning in his three enthusiastic and spirited kiddos with his wife, Tamera, is Jonathan Elmore, none other than our esteemed mayor of Avondale Estates. Re-elected earlier this year, he has jumped into bringing positive and proactive ideas to the city’s commission. But that positivity spans beyond his professional gig. The personalities I got to document – boy, this family has some of the most energetic spirit around!
Matching the backyard studio elements of earth wind water and fire, the family dynamics allow for enviable candid love. I mean … can you just imagine how awesome their family dinners are?
What comes to mind when you think of school pictures? If you’re like me, you spent your childhood being disappointed by the awkward, unappealing shots you got back weeks after picture day. In a lot of schools, amazingly, not much has changed. But school pictures don’t have to be awkward and boring, and these students from The Museum School agree!
Why not showcase kids’ personalities? I believe each child is too unique to be stuck behind a fake smile.
That doesn’t mean you can’t get a beautiful, mantle-worthy shot of your child. It just means it will really look like your child–in all his or her goofiness, adorableness, seriousness…You know the right adjective to plug in.
I am so lucky to serve as the photographer for TMS and grateful that the parents, faculty and administration are fans of moment-based photography. I’d also be thrilled to have the opportunity to bring a more unique, kid-centered approach to pictures at other metro Atlanta schools. Whether you’re a parent, a teacher or an administrator, please get in touch!