Lydia and Mike
July 20 2008
Full set of images here
I've been looking forward to this one for a long time. Lydia was actually my first booking for 2008, over a year ago, and I knew when I first met her and Mike that their wedding would be special. Then when we shot their E session together it pretty much sealed the deal: I was inspired by the couple's edgy, glam/punk rock style and LOVED the images we took out in the Mission at night. They were very fun to work with too. I was very excited to see what the wedding would be like.
The ceremony at Holy Trinity was a traditional Russian Orthodox service, filled with ritual. The inside of the cathedral was intense: covered wall to wall with shiny golden objects, relics, candles, and reflective paintings. The ceremony managed to be both solemn and lighthearted at times, such as during the crowning of the bride and groom. Heavy ornate crowns are held one handed over the couple's heads by the best man and maid of honor, for what seemed like 20 minutes, and about halfway into it you could see the muscles in their poor arms start to tremble violently as they tried to keep the crowns up. As the minutes ticked by it became a kind of hilarious inside joke among the wedding party; with everyone watching and waiting to see if the two could keep it up, and ending in a collective sigh of relief when the preist finally told them to lower their arms.
In contrast, to the ceremony, the reception venue had more of a rustic, casual feel. The Presidio Log Cabin is in many ways a typical log cabin...but I loved the bank of windows in the dining area, which gave the room a soft glow from the sky at dusk, and the chandeliers which dressed up the exposed wood ceiling. It was the flowers and decor however that made the venue come alive. The head table alone had about 15 separate pieces on it with interesting combinations of grass and green plants in pots, spiky seedpods and trailing ferns, and big tropical flowers in green hurricane glass vases, all of which sat on deep orange tablecloths and napkins. It's one of those complex, multivariety set-ups that could be either bold and incredible, or tacky as hell...and only a genius designer like Sara Hackforth could take all those contrasting elements and make them work perfectly together. And to top it all off she wasn't even a hired vendor, but a friend of the bride, who does do this for a living but not under her own business name. I'm hoping she has a website or portfolio out there somewhere so I can give her credit.
I almost forgot to mention the Queen Anne Hotel, where everyone got dressed. The QA is a campy, retro-burlesque paradise filled with velvet curtains, beaded lampshades, tassles and brocade on everything...plus great natural light in the lobby and in many of the rooms. Lydia tipped me off to the place months beforehand so we made sure to set aside a few minutes for some bridal portraits in the hotel before we left for the ceremony.
Lydia looked gorgeous in her simple, elegant strapless A-line dress with a ribbon at the waist and a custom made shrug by Designs by Erika. Her pictures below are a great example of an important motivator in my work, which is to celebrate the beauty of real women; to illustrate that even in a wedding dress a woman doesn't have to give up her individuality or strength to be gorgeous, and that it is in fact the outward expression of her inner self which makes her that.
Bridal portraits are typically something that gets put on the backburner at weddings-- brides only take time out for them if there is extra time to be had. But Lydia's bridals have reminded me how much I love doing these, so from now on I think I'm going to ask all my brides to set aside a few minutes for them. Speaking of portraits, the Queen Anne would be a great place for future hot photo (boudoir) sessions, especially those who want a pin up-type look.
Well, now that I've spent 5 paragraphs talking about wallpaper and flowers, I should probably mention the people! ; ) First of all, Lydia and Mike's friends rock. They all know how to have a good time and they frequently hammed it up for the camera, especially the guys. Lydia's dad is also a very funny man: he introduced the cake cutting with his very accurate impression of that "Lets get ready to rumbuuuuuuuuuuuuuuullllll!" guy. All the other vendors were super nice and fun to work with too. DJ Matt was particularly awesome and the 80's music he played helped keep up my energy all night, and videographer Dana was very friendly and helpful. I was told the caterer, Caterman, helped with the awesome decor, and the made the BEST carrot cake I've ever had. Overall, this was just one of those magical weddings where everything seemed to go right.
Here are some highlights, with links to the slideshow and full set of images (pending) below.
lydia does marylin
check out the funky hotel decor
cathedral detail, by my assistant gerry. I took basically the same shot but i think i like his lower lit version better.
those crowns are heavy! you can see the look of grim determination on the best man's face.
pics with the couple at City Hall
presidio log cabin interior
awesome unique flowers
one of the favors, a chinese finger trap (with their rings). Hmm, what's the metaphoric significance of a chinese finger trap at a wedding anyway? ;)
i think this shot really shows what it feels like to catch the bouquet.
this one kinda reminds me of the dance contest scene in Pulp Fiction. i love my 85mm f1.2L!
Tuesday, August 05, 2008
Lydia and Mike