Back in 2017, one of my most popular sessions I shot involved a pit bull named Wilma and her love for destroying large, plush animals and sleeping on the couch. Geoff and I fell in love with Wilma, as she’s one of the most RIDICULOUS and charismatic dogs we’ve ever met, as well as the laziest (also recently proven when Jessica e-mailed me a bunch of pictures from Wilma’s daycare, of which she’s laying down in literally all of them while other dogs run all over her). Wilma has a brother, Britton, who is kind of anxious and can be shy, so he was not part of the first photo shoot, but Jessica and Dustin decided they wanted to try to make it work for their wedding photos on Thursday (they were married at the courthouse on Thursday, and did photos at home with the dogs, then had their wedding reception party on Saturday). AND IT TURNS OUT THAT BRITTON IS EQUALLY AS RIDICULOUS BUT ALSO LOVES CAMERAS. Wilma, perhaps upset that she wasn’t the sole star of the afternoon, spent most of her time with us staring intently at a lizard on the deck, while Britton hammed it up repeatedly. When Wilma wasn’t staring at lizards, she was busy violently shaking off her beautiful floral collar and then rolling around in the yard to the point where nobody could get her up.
Normally I might feel kind of bad writing an entire paragraph about their dogs instead of about their wedding but I 100% know that Jessica and Dustin will not mind. But now that I have discussed their dogs, whom I adore, I will discuss Jessica and Dustin, WHOM I ADORE. I feel like someone who wears glitter shoes that say “FRENCH FRIES” doesn’t really need an explanation as to why you love them but I will attempt anyway. Jessica exudes the most happiness and enthusiasm of anyone you’ve ever met. And in an entirely way too negative world, I love her. She is everything great and happy and positive and wonderful. She also likes incredible art, and sends it to me, for which the walls of my house are eternally grateful (the cat art here is by Casey Weldon, which were thank-you cards to her bridesmaids, and the plant art is by Angela Deane, which were also gifts to her bridesmaids). And Dustin LOVES Jessica and I’m fairly certain it’s for all the same reasons, and they make each other laugh so hard, and then it makes me laugh and I truly just want to hug them all the time. Dustin likes really old cars (one of his Volkswagens that he’s fixing up makes an appearance in this shoot) and working on sound equipment, and I appreciate men who have cool hobbies and like to work with their hands. Together, their house is incredible and joyous and they have a 70s built-in oven that’s chartreuse. Regretful that the 8 of us (four people, 2 dogs, 2 cats) were not married but will settle for friendship instead.
Date: April 27, 2019 Ceremony Venue: Wake County Justice Center // Raleigh Reception Venue: Neuse River Brewing Company // Raleigh First Dance Song: “I Only Have Eyes for You” – The Flamingos Jessica’s Occupation: Hospitality Dustin’s Occupation: Sound Engineer How You Met: Through Jessica’s Brother Honeymoon: Savannah, GA DJ: DJ Nyce Florist: Teacup Floral Cake: Cupcake Shop Caterer: El Molcajete Food Truck, Southern Harvest Hair: Bride Makeup (Ceremony): Michelle Clark Makeup Coordinator (Reception): Amanda Scott, a Swanky Affair
Ohhh, dear friends, you all know sweet Vivi! In case you are new here, below are my chronicles of Vivi’s life: Vivi at two Vivi at three Vivi at four Vivi at five She is, without a doubt, the absolute sweetest girl and I adore her. She’s in school now (what?!) and also has entire conversations with me about all sorts of things (what?!). I realize that’s just normal behavior for a six year old, but I still can’t believe I’ve been photographing her for this long to have seen her change so much. She’ll likely be taller than me either next year or the year after. AND, and this year, while I’m still not technically posing her, she has started posing herself and telling me what to do: “Take a close-up of me here,” and “Maybe you should get a picture of that plaque on the bench?” were my most frequent instructions this year. She’s also a lot more safety-conscious… no longer running blindly toward dangerous situations, but instead standing quietly by bodies of water and being slightly concerned about falling in like the rest of us. But, some things have not changed: I’m still sprinting after her quite frequently, and she still loves and talks about Geoff (he’s retired so he wasn’t present at her session, she still remembered him!). She’s also still wearing the BEST cat shoes (similar to her cat boots from year four), and I’m still doing GIFs with her (she chose a running-in-place GIF this year, also similar to year four). Vivi – I am so glad that you are my subject each year and that I’m helping to capture you growing up (insert crying emoji here).
Doing at-home lifestyle family documentation is normally a very fun thing to do, but it becomes even more fun when the family is British and have fun accents, and when their 3-year-old daughter makes you tea. Clare and Dan live in a phenomenal old neighborhood in Durham that reminds me a bit of my old ‘hood in Pittsburgh. And their house is adorable, bright, fun, and 100% complete with KISS Mr. Potato Head dolls. They moved from the UK to America several years ago and first landed in Los Angeles, and then hopped across the US to land in Durham. From across the pond they bring with them their wonderful senses of humor but also the knowledge of this British kid’s television show involving a cute monster-looking guy whose name currently escapes me but was reminiscent in the best ways of My Pet Monster (which was brilliant). Harper likes this monster, but also Daniel Tiger and Peppa Pig, and also occasionally snacking on goldfish crackers straight off the pond on top of the dollhouse that Clare painstakingly made her. Baby Lyla is happy and sleepy, and not yet appreciative of all of Clare’s household crafts (of which there are many fabulous ones!). I had a great time hanging out with this family and learning such phrases like being “duffed up on the nugget.”