I knew after spending a couple frosty hours with Mac and Ruby in the financial district back in January that this was going to be a fun wedding. These two really adore each other and can’t stop smiling and laughing when they’re together. They could’ve gotten married in front of a dumpster and the pictures would’ve looked amazing because of their contagious energy, generous smiles, and expressive affection for one another. When I arrived at The Manor, I had a quick pow wow with Ruby, who was dressed and ready to go, before finding a spot for their “first look.” As I was walking down the stairs to the courtyard, I could hear what sounded like a men’s chorus singing Lean On Me — it was Mac and his groomsmen. I quickly realized I was in for an incredibly fun wedding, and not just any wedding, but La La Land in real life (minus the brooding and heartbreak, of course). Mac and Ruby even did a first dance at dusk outdoors on the putting greens. I find I often need to encourage couples to take a break from dinner for a few photos while the sun is giving off its last light, but it was Mac who abandoned the steak that had just been plopped in front of him and approached me to see if we could go out for a few more pictures in the impressionistic light. Read More
Before photographing Mike and Demi’s wedding, I had a chance to get to know them a little bit through some shared friends. Mike and I bonded over a mutual love and respect of the San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich, or “Pop,” as he’s affectionately referred to by those in the know. I half jokingly suggested a life-sized cardboard cutout of Pop to be an honorary groomsman. As it turns out (and you’ll see in the photos) a scruffy white dog filled the role of honorary groomsman quite nicely. Mike and I also bonded over 90s hip-hop (over the past couple months I’ve twice made ATCQ references on social media and Mike always comes up with Tribe lyrics in the comments) … his best man’s speech was peppered with references to the Wu-Tang Clan. What I love most about photographing weddings is the wide array of emotions to capture throughout the day, all of which were on full display with Demi. Her look of anticipation and joy as she approached Mike for their “first look,” her tears of gratitude as she gave her parent’s gifts before the wedding ceremony, her laughter throughout the day, her affection for her bridesmaids, and her all out exuberance on the dance floor at the reception. I was thrilled with their location choices; the quiet Riverside neighbourhood in the morning juxtaposed with the hustle and bustle of action-packed Ossington in the afternoon. We took full advantage of the murals on Ossington to provide pops of vibrant colour as a backdrop to the monochromatic attire of the bride and groom. And we all enjoyed the energy provided by the various shopkeepers and passersby joining in the celebration, allowing us into their spaces and cheering on the wedding party. It’s a long blog post — I know — but Mike and Demi’s day was a wonderful, joy filled story worth telling with images in its entirety.
This past Friday I had the opportunity to photograph one of my personal heroes, Greg Boyd. A few weeks ago when I saw that he was going to be in Toronto, I emailed him to see if I could “grab a quick portrait.” He responded that he had “no idea what it means to grab a quick portrait,” but said if it was important to me, he’d be honoured. Greg is a leading thinker, prolific author, passionate speaker, and is considered one of North America’s most prominent and influential theologians. When he speaks, his gregarious personality shines through and his words are constantly trying to keep up with his rapid fire thoughts. He talks about Jesus’ Kingdom with the same excitement and fervour as Neil DeGrasse Tyson talking about stars and planets. There have been so many times over the past few years while listening to Greg when I’ve had an “aha!” moment — his ideas about open theism (God leaving things open to possibilities), the myth and false promises of an American Christian nation, and the lens through which he understands the violent depictions of God in the Old Testament. In short, Greg is a personal hero because he is passionately leading a “Kingdom” movement that looks like Jesus, filled with compassion, empathy, love, peace-making, and acceptance … and that is how I strive to live my life every day.
It was a great experience for me as a portrait photographer. I’ve only experienced Greg via his podcasts and videos online, where he has a big personality and is very animated, so I was a little bit surprised to find that he is much more low key in person. When he got in front of the camera, one of the first things he said to me was, “I’ve never enjoyed having my picture taken,” and then moments later, he commented, “I’ve never understood why photographers take so many pictures when you just need to kinda take [makes a camera motion] one picture.” The funny thing is that this photo is the very first frame of our short session. I guess Greg was right; I really just needed to click the shutter once and be done with it. 😁
It’s apparent Olga and Theo showed up this past Sunday ready to channel their inner Italian movie star in a 60s Fellini flick: Olga with her lush, dark hair, high cheekbones, deep soulful eyes, and effervescent laughter, Theo with his rugged good looks, stoic demeanour that easily breaks into a smile at any moment, well tailored suit, and fedora. What’s in this post isn’t the whole story — I haven’t even seen my 2nd shooter Valery’s pictures — but I wanted to share a collection of moments beginning at Olga’s family home and ending on the 54th floor of the TD Tower. Getting married on the last day of April can be a crapshoot weather-wise, but these two planned well by booking Hart House for a couple hours in the afternoon for portraits. It was cold. It rained on and off throughout the day. But the light that poured in through the windows provided so much warmth, making for some magical, romantic moments.
A few years ago I photographed Alicia in Osoyoos, BC, when she was pregnant with her first, Hayden. This past week, she was in town for a few days and is expecting again, so she contacted me for a quick portrait session. I had a small window in a busy week but was able to schedule in a one hour session by setting up a little home studio. I was tempted to do the shoot at High Park with the cherry blossoms in full bloom but just couldn’t find the time and didn’t want to fight the potential crowds. I also wanted the pictures to be about Alicia, her baby, and the connection that they have been sharing for the past few months, focusing on her silhouette, lines, and the shape of her belly. One of my favourites in this set is the one of Alicia’s lovely smile towards the end of the session while talking about the baby’s name.
Cozy home studio: