Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Heartbreakingly good

A new piece on Mediastorm's website, Common Ground, began 14 years ago by Scott Strazzante. Scott and I worked together during my three years with a small newspaper group on the outer reaches of the Chicago suburbs. Scott followed the simple life and ultimate ending of a family farm and then years later came back and followed the life of a family that moved into the subdivision that was built on the farmland. This work, which was also published recently in National Geographic, is hearbreakingly good. In a world where perfection is sought and rarely achieved this is a perfect story. It's told with passion, bravado and heart. I'm proud to say that I worked with Scott, and to have gone to grad school with Mediastorm's President Brian Storm whose passion for photography and storytelling know no bounds. And while you're at the site, check out all the other amazing stories.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Cyndie & Lisa

So first of all, a big thank you to Joe and Kelly(see post below) for recommending me to Cyndie and Lisa. These two ladies had an intimate family and close friend affair in the backyard of their home in Connecticut. There's a ton of vocal talent coursing through Cyndie (here) and (here) and her family and that was on proud display throughout the day including her niece's version of the Kermit the Frog classic, "Rainbow Connection." (Which is still running through my head a month later) And the evening of talent continued with performances by Cyndie and her sisters and was wrapped up with Cyndie's air guitar performance.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Kelly & Joe

Kelly and Joe are one of those great couples you're just happy to get the chance to know, and photograph. They're both big, fun personalities and a great fit for each other. Their ceremony was at the Wayne Presbyterian Church, followed with a trolley ride to their alma mater St. Joseph's and then off to the Aronimink Golf Club for the reception. I added a classic Tintype treatment to a few of the images for fun, something different but not overly trendy. One thing I actually really like about this first picture, is the obvious tension in Kelly's face. Sure, as you can see in the slideshow, there's plenty of joy and happiness here. But the wedding day is about a lot of stuff and I'm there to tell the story of that stuff. A friend of mine who has no direct relation to photography or weddings, outside of our 20 year friendship, but is a musician, once commented that the weddings he saw on my site had three stages. Anticipation, Reverence and Exaltation. I thought it pretty well summed up most wedding day experiences. There's highs and lows and the fun is showing both in varying ways. So to see Kelly go from feeling the tension of having run 1.5 hours behind schedule as she was getting ready at home to the explosion of joy on the trolley immediately following the ceremony and then see her blissful while dancing w/ Joe is such a perfect narrative and artistic arc.

Here's the show.

This is the last event for a few weeks as I'm taking plenty of time to prepare for the arrival of our first baby in mid-August so things may be a bit quiet on the blog front for a few weeks.

Monday, July 7, 2008

New digs

We moved into our new studio space this past week. No pictures just yet as we're still in and out of boxes but it's exciting to stretch our legs in new digs. We're fully operational just not completely finished with the polishing and shining but we're on our way.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Ranoo & Animesh

Chicago living and central PA raised, Drs. Ranoo & Animesh had a perfect Hindu wedding on a perfect Pennsylvania summer day at the Peter Allen House in Dauphin. Since the tradition of riding in on a white horse wasn't happening, the family adjusted and used a classic Rolls Royce owned by the House's owner, Frank Pinto, as part of the Baraat, the groom's procession. This was led, unexpectedly, by a bag piper and, expectedly, two slammin' bhangra drummers. It made for a really nice combination of high and low pitch. I couldn't help but notice that Animesh's sister was leading the dancing and joy with an incredible energy, rhythm and skill. I figured she was just really happy and loved bhangra. Only later did I find out that she's a backup dancer on Madonna's next tour, and she was really happy. Ok, that makes sense. The procession took about 30 minutes to go 200 yards. "It's got to last a while to be meaningful," Animesh's father told me. What a great reminder that everything doesn't have to be fast and efficient but that we can be luxurious in our time and joy, especially at a celebration like a wedding.

The wedding itself was steeped in Hindu tradition and ritual. I love weddings like this that take the act of marriage and bring in serious traditions. It makes the event meaningful in a whole other way and reminds us that we're all part of distinct and wonderful tribes with their own practices. (In American culture there's such pressure to assimilate and lose one's past. I guess the goal is that we should think of Olive Garden as representing Italian heritage and Taco Bell the legacy of Mexicans all the while pretending that where we came from is irrelevant. That somehow being American means one specific thing that's devoid of unique stories, backgrounds, beliefs, histories, traditions, cultures and heritages. Ok, the political discourse of this post is over.) This applies to all faith traditions as well as to those who make up their own traditions or bring in a hodgepodge of ideas. It adds to the depth of the ceremony and its meaning.

Slideshow here.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Unseen Iraq

My friend Andrea Bruce just posted a new image with a heartbreaking story on her blog posting at Andrea's an amazing photographer. Like many photographer friends of mine, I knew her work before I met her. I first came across her photography when she was doing this great photo column at The Concord Monitor of little slices of life. A couple running out of gas on the side of the road or a little boy relieving himself in his front yard (it was funny, trust me). Andrea has since moved on to make some of the most human images of global conflict in the past decade. Her work from Iraq deviates from most by concentrating on the way that every day Iraqis are trying to live amidst all the war. Her conflict work is powerful for the same reason her work beyond the conflict is. It's always about the people whose lives she's there to document.

Visit her blog on the Post's site. The sum total of her postings reveal a side to the Iraq War that's so rarely seen or understood. They are the stories that drive so many journalists to work amidst totally irrational circumstances and even less rational rewards. It's hard to get this work published in many places besides those of the pages of a newspaper as the few pages that magazines devote to content is precious space and tends to be dominated by the immediate stories of the week as opposed to more in-depth, probing work.


All pictures posted on this blog are protected by U.S. copyright and are the property of Scott Lewis and can not be used without written permission.

About Me

I'm a veteran photojournalist with 20 years of experience telling stories with pictures.