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!
I'm grateful for whatever mysterious forces (or mutual friends) led to Rebecca giving me a call a few weeks ago about doing an engagement shoot for her and her fiancé, Nnadozie. This British-Nigerian couple has called Groningen home for the past couple of years, and our shoot was peak Dutch summer: billowing clouds giving way to sweeping patches of light and, inevitably, a serious downpour. Thankfully they had my umbrella in hand just as the rain really got going in earnest, and it was just in time for the very last pose of the shot. We played Dutch photo bingo: bikes and windmills made an appearance (all we were missing were some tulips). It was an adventure, and it was a pleasure. Thanks for finding me, guys!
In the lingering fog of my jet lag after returning from a two week North America trip, I caught a couple of trains to Amsterdam to meet up with Katie and her fiancee Max for a photo shoot. They're getting married next year and they were spending the last day of their European vacation (they're both from L.A.) wandering the canals and bridges of the city while I got to know them - Katie found me online, so thanks Google for making this happen. As always, it was lovely getting to use Amsterdam's streets as the backdrop for a shoot with a fun international couple.
Olya jokingly referred to herself during our family photo shoot on Sunday as a "copy machine" in explanation for the clear Mini Me effect of her sweet son Casper - he is a tiny, rambunctious copy of his Dutch dad, Chris. Olya thankfully sought me out about a year ago to work with for a photo shoot, and luckily we have gotten together a couple of times since then, but this weekend's shoot was really special. The family will be growing by one in the next couple of weeks, and it was really a pleasure just hanging out with them in their well-lit and colorful house of love and occasionally questionable humor (mostly Olya and I)!
On a misty October afternoon, long, long ago - all the way back in 2012 - I spent a fun afternoon with my good friends Rebecca and Alain, along with their son (Ilya, otherwise known as Alain's first clone) in Heusden. In addition to it just being a family shoot, they also wanted a special maternity shoot before the arrival of their second son, Merlyn. Well, in January - while I was in Nepal - he arrived! Last week I headed back to the Dutch south to do a follow up featuring the family's newest addition!
The boys have matching dragon outfits!
My super talented friend, Anniek Olsder, used one of the photos from the maternity shoot in October in her Juno-inspired design for Merlyn's birth announcements:
Cristina and Ernst met in a place neither of them were from, and this beautiful Italian-Dutch family that has travelled the globe is now calling Groningen home. Their beautiful and goofy daughters, Carolina and Isabella, made my work so easy on Sunday morning in the Noorderplantsoen. We got really lucky with some nice spring weather in my very favorite place in the city!
This is Eleanor, she is tiny, and she is very patient. Her aunt, my friend Irene through Stichting Didi, asked me to take photos of her newborn niece in Den Haag, and I was happy to oblige! Eleanor's mom, Christy, is American, and her dad, Matthieu, is Dutch, and these two actually met in the exact same way as my fiancee and I - she studied abroad, fell in love, and got her Dutch significant other much more into American college sports. They are a great family, and it was a fun time hanging out with them in their beautiful apartment in the center of Den Haag, along with their four pet rabbits. One of the bunnies makes a cameo in the shoot, and almost every toy Eleanor has is also a bunny of some kind, so it wound up being a bit of a theme.