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!
In June, I had the privilege of being the photographer for the super laid back (and therefore super enjoyable) wedding day of Martijn and Lianne. As of last week, I've been living in the Netherlands for five years, and in some ways, little has changed over that time: I already loved the photojournalistic approach to weddings, and I was also already committed to sharing the work that the Ideal Home shelter and training center in Nepal was doing with the support of the Dutch members of the Didi Foundation.
Now, five years on, my belief that a camera is the best conveyer of the emotions of a day still holds true, and Martijn and Lianne's wedding day was no exception. A couple of years ago already, I did a photoshoot with Lianne's family, and I loved everyone's ease and naturally open hearted and funny nature, and the photos were a very true reflection their personalities. For Lianne's wedding, she and her now husband kept that good natured happiness tradition alive: the couple really wanted to have a laid back, casual day to celebrate with their friends: after an intimate ceremony in the nearby town of Klein Wetsinge, the newlyweds and their guests headed into Groningen for a backyard barbecue, complete with a bride and groom "cake topper" atop a heaping plate of potato salad. The vibe throughout the whole day was very relaxed and joyful, which came as no surprise to me, knowing this bunch. Congratulations, Lianne and Martijn!