When I did a love shoot on a cold, foggy day with this Dutch-Canadian couple this winter, it would have been hard to imagine that their wedding day in July would be during one of the most epic heat waves in Dutch history. But these two look good whatever the weather, and their love brought dozens of people from a wide range of backgrounds and nationalities together to celebrate them tying the knot. Their intimate ceremony took place at De Paalkoepel in Haren, which I actually suggested to them as a potential location after photographing another excellent couple’s nuptials there a few years back: the massive windows, the beautiful views of the lake, and the textures of the wooden piers and old boats surrounding the place make it a dream to photograph. After a tender ceremony surrounded by their very closest family and friends, the party got started when dozens of well-wishers arrived by boat and their human jukebox of a DJ started spinning some vinyl. As always, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to these lovely folks for entrusting me to document their day and share in their joy.
Obviously I’m biased, but there’s something extra special about international love. The fact that you found each other is not a given: you didn’t just happen to be born in the same city and grow up going to the same schools. You met because one of you made a choice that was not simply following the default path ahead of you. You deliberately took yourself out of your own storyline and put yourself smack dab into some one else’s life. And of course being childhood or high school sweethearts is wonderful, and you don’t have to search the world to find your person, but the total lack of inevitability when two people from different countries manage to find each other means that it is a very deliberate (and far from easy!) choice to be together, and eventually find a way to live in the same home/country/continent. That’s why I was so pleased to hear from Jodi, who is Canadian, to ask me if I would take some photos of her and her Dutch guy, Gunther. They’re getting married this summer and I’m looking forward to getting to photograph them in slightly warmer conditions than we had on the day of this shoot in December. But they picked out a great spot with a sweet view of the Hoge and Lage der Aa in Groningen, and then we took some photos on board their (shockingly spacious) houseboat. Thanks for having me guys, and I’m excited for round two this summer.
It's been just a little bit over a year since I first met Claire, who is also an American woman living in Groningen on account of a swell Dutch guy, at a Thanksgiving potluck in an Australian pub in town. I was so pleased when she reached out to me about doing a photo shoot of her and her fiancé, and even more pleased when she told me that they wanted to do the shoot in the most photogenic part of town, complete with cobblestone streets, converted warehouses, gorgeous views of the Der Aa church and beautiful sail boats on one of the canals. As we kept an eye on the ever-changing forecast in the days leading up to the shoot, we joked about making Fearless Photographers-worthy shots of gorgeous light, ominous clouds and inside-out umbrellas. Well, when the light was good, it was very good, and when it was gone, we definitely had our share of dramatic umbrella moments (especially during a downpour in the Noorderplantsoen when Pim proved chivalry isn't dead and gave Claire my busted umbrella while I waited inside a nearby restaurant - see the triptych below). Thanks for braving the elements with me, guys!