In early 2011, I was in Las Vegas for the annual Wedding and Portrait Photographers International convention and trade show. There's a ginormous trade show, workshops and seminars, as well as opportunities to listen to and meet some of the industry's most successful and talented photographers.
Jesh de Rox is a world-renowned photographer who was one of those speakers in Vegas that week discussing a new direction he was taking his photography - something he was calling "Beloved." His was a philosophy of blending the art of photography with the psychology of relationships and love - a belief that we as photographers, could make a greater contribution to the lives of our clients than just photographs.
Interesting. Jesh was providing his clients with not only moving, honest photos, but an opportunity for his clients to experience, discover and live those emotions over and over again long after the photo session! Beloved sets the stage for wondrous possibilities.
About two hours later, I had tears in my eyes (it's not really called crying unless the tears fall, right? Good, that's what I thought) and chills all over my body. What I had just heard, I knew would change the course of my photography. It would change the course of portrait photography in general.
I dedicated myself soon after to learning all about this philosophy, and I'm thrilled to have studied directly under Jesh to receive his guidance and tutelage this past year.
Relationships are so simple in the beginning. And yet the neurons firing in our brains and the butterflies in our stomachs are probably at their craziest. But a friend once told me, falling in love is the easy part. Maintaining it, keeping it polished is the hard part. Then he gave me that nod... you know, the self-satisfied nod that one makes when they themselves have just realized they said something brilliant without intending to be brilliant.
Over time, it's natural for relationships to get "comfortable." All the time spent together and the memories and moments shared breeds familiarity. When you add in the complexities of everyday life - making a living, raising children, paying the mortgage, running errands, finding success and facing disappointments, thinking about the future - the love and affection we nurtured and cherished so much in the beginning is sometimes the first thing that gets swept underneath all the clutter of the everyday.
Beloved hopes to remind you, no matter where you are in your relationship (be it boyfriend to girlfriend, fiancé to fiancée, husband to wife, grandfather to grandmother), why you fell in love with each other to begin with, and why everything was and is still worth it.
To anyone watching from far away, a Beloved session might look like any other portrait shoot. But as we play some light games together or as I get into asking a few questions here and there to help set the stage, I hope to see the raw, uncluttered emotions come back out. While the rest of the world keeps walking by, you will be with the love of your life, enjoying each other. You deserve it.
If you're a friend of mine, you can probably tell I'm really excited describing all this right now. I get really wordy when I'm really passionate about something (that and when I know the answer to Cash Cab questions). I'm excited because Beloved is still something that is still new in the world of photography and to be one of the only New York City based photographers to be offering this to my clients, is a sheer honor and pleasure.
I had this crazy recurring fantasy/wish when I was a little kid, where every day for the rest of my life I would live just 24 hours in someone else's. Kind of like that tv show, Quantum Leap, only less dramatic (if you're too young to know what this is, a) I hate you and b) google/netflix it... you're welcome, in advance). Not leaping into different eras though, just moving on to the next body the very next day. I guess I've always been someone who's wildly curious about the experiences and perspectives of others.
So tell me. Go to my CONTACT page and describe to me how you felt, walking home after the first time you kissed your significant other? How did your heart feel? What were your hopes for the next step? Who was the first person you told?
You've read this far, you might as well satiate my curiosity. Please? Look, I can't make it any easier for you. Just click me. Be as descript as you can, and try not to smile while you're writing it.
Just kidding, you can smile.