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Gina’s Wedding

I had the chance to photograph this wedding this weekend.  Gina was my college roommate for my freshman and sophomore year.  We were assigned to live together by chance, but we have stayed connected by choice.  She was meant to be in my life and I was meant to be in hers.  Forever.  And we both are very conscious of that fact.

Sometimes I get funny about photos.  Not sure if it’s competitiveness, or possessiveness or what it is.  But I knew that if I allowed anyone else to shoot this wedding, I would be crushed.  I didn’t want to give this moment to anyone else because it meant something to me deep down in my bones.  In my heart and soul.

I am a firm believer that strongest images come from truth.  Your true feelings show in the photographs you take, if you are open with those feelings and allow them to show.  If you know me at all, you know that I’m an open book.  And how I feel about you is going to translate in my pictures.  With me, what you see is what you get.  And what you get from me if I care about you, is my love.

But, back to the Wedding.  Let’s be clear, I was nervous as heck.  The usual nerves of messing up or missing moments were there.  Or something happening to my camera, lens, memory card, or even to me.  A Wedding is a really big deal.  And to share in such an intimate moment, to spend the day with a bride and groom really is a privilege.  And I don’t take that lightly.  And when that bride is a friend, it becomes all the more important and meaningful.  But I try to just put my faith in God basically and know that goodness will flow if I let it.  To be open to it and just embrace it as it comes in.  And it always does.  And it’s usually even more amazing than I hoped for.  Here are a few of my favorite shots of the day and night…

I can’t even tell you what the family members have come to mean to me.  Here is Mom.  Her and Gina had their own special dynamic.  Fussing filled with love.  Loving fussiness.  Mom looks beautiful.

Getting ready

My Groom

You don’t get much better then this – a groom who is just unabashedly happy.  Glowing.  The bride is the one who is supposed to glow but in this case, they both did.  Chris is happiness, and light, and laughter and strength.  I have no concerns that he won’t be a stellar husband.  I told her he was our gift from God.  Congratulations forever to them!

Here we are – walking out to the beach to begin our shots

I mean really, how can you go wrong with a setting like this?

I die for the way she is looking at him.  I have never seen her happier.  Ever.

Waiting for the ceremony. For the entrance. This is what it felt like to me.

My beautiful bride and friend

I told Gina that I was still riding my post-wedding high.  When I drove back to the airport in my rental car, the dial automatically found its way to gospel music.   It was kind of perfect actually because I have memories of watching Gina and our friends sing in Gospel Choir back at Penn.  I remember sitting in the audience with tears rolling down my face – which proves I’ve always been an open book emotionally – either that or a big geek.  Or a bit of both.

On the ride, I thought about the ceremony, the party, everything.  To say I was moved, is an understatement.   Everyone was just so…happy and so real.  Nobody held back how they were feeling.  There was so much happiness and love in that place – what a gift to be able to experience it.

Sometimes I think I’m too emotionally available and should hold back, or be a little guarded.  But, if I were to do that, then I wouldn’t get to experience moments like this so deeply.  I’d miss out on so much.   It is a blessing to be able to step inside of a moment and truly experience it with every ounce of who you are.  To be truly present, is to essentially be truly vulnerable.  But I will always chose vulnerability over guardedness if it brings me closer to moments like these.

I used to think that if I were photographing something, then I would be so consumed by getting the shot, that I would fail to experience the moment itself.  I was so wrong…

Allowing the beauty in can bring great rewards.

Beauty is all around, if you let it in

3 Comments Post a comment
  1. Lisa Cook #

    Ileana, you did an awesome job capturing Gina’s wedding day. thank you so much for taking such good care in capturing the essence of my best friend. I am sad I missed it but becuase of you, I can almost feel the sand in my toes. Awesome job!

    September 30, 2010
  2. Auntie Linda #

    Thanks for making Gina and Chris’ day complete. That’s what you made happen–COMPLETENESS!!!
    Capturing each individual moment on film is the finally icing on the “Baker’s” and anyone’s cake. It’s the memories that you’ve created forever, that I know Chris and Gina will cherish the most; and most specially, for Taryn when she gets older (she’s so alert and nosey now, I wouldn’t be surprised if she will be able to run everything down that she observed, to us when she can talk in full sentences!)
    It was such a complete day, wasn’t it? The sunset!!! All that beautiful white sand!!!
    And how many brides and grooms take time to acknowledge all the family and friends by name, that couldn’t be with us on this happy occasion???
    And, especially, my niece, Stacey, Maid of Honor, who just poured her heart out for her sister’s happiness. My ladies!!! Thank you Ileana…you ARE the best!

    September 30, 2010
    • LINDA! I adore you girl! Miss you!!!

      October 17, 2010

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