It's unusual for me to do a downtown wedding, especially since moving to the NC blue ridge mountains, but I would never turn one down! Vivian and Devon invited me to photograph their downtown raleigh wedding after I had the pleasure of documenting Vivian's sister's gorgeous wedding a few years previous. The Cannon Room was classy, bright, airy and had a great wee balcony spot for viewing the city. Here are some favorites from the day...
Joanna and Jonathan's elegant DIY wedding was such a pleasure to photograph. Not only was it magical from the perspective of a wedding photographer, but it was deeply special as Joanna has been my dear friend for many years. Joanna and I both share a love for encouraging artists in our creative processes, finding ways to be together in our creativity and nurturing growth in ourselves FIRST before we focus on production for the needy world around us. We founded an arts collective called "Elysian" and in the process became closer friends and creative allies. As Jonathan walked into her life, the love they felt very quickly for one another was evident to all, and as they unite their families we get to witness and be blessed by it just by being near their peaceful loving presence. I must admit I may be a bit bias, but photographing this serene wedding was one of my favorites to date.
Joanna and Jonathan relied on the gifts and talents of their friends and family to create a rustic garden wedding. They used Airbnb to rent out their lovely house venue in downtown Franklin TN, Joanna's friend Natalie created the food, Katie Williams did the flowers and was overall Wedding Co-ordinator, and Joanna herself made a lot of the decorations. Her dress is from Reformation.
Emma, a gentle spirited and clearly beautiful young lass, was an absolutely joy to photograph for her senior portraits. We spent a breezy, warm day in Hickory NC amidst some gorgeous blooms in the warehouse district. Here are a few of my favorites!
Im thrilled to share one of the most whimsical bridal shoots to date here on the Enowen Blog. Katie wanted to be surrounded by snow because they had planned a winter wedding, so on a bright January date we travelled to Boone NC and had a lovely time. We were F-R-E-E-Z-I-N-G, needless to say, but Katie was a trooper. It was such a dream to be able to capture such a gorgeous red haired beauty in her gown and a fur coat in the snowy blue ridge landscape. I'll be sharing images from Katie and Brewer's wedding soon, but for now here's a few of my favorites from her bridal session!
When I went home to Scotland this summer I had to also snap up the opportunity to photograph my sister Vicky and her husband Alan. We were staying at Knockbrex Castle in Dumfrieshire that was tucked just a small wander away from the most glorious rocky shoreline. We spent many days there exploring the rock pools, dipping our toes in the freezing Irish sea and building a fire against the slabs with a dram of whiskey in a flask to warm us. The boys collected mussels and wild garlic and cooked them for our dinner in white whine and cream. The summer light doesn't really end in the evening, the sky is always glowing. One warm, bright evening I took Vicky and Alan down to the shore and I photographed them the way they ALWAYS are - lovebirds of a particular kind. After almost 20 years of marriage, this pair have seen great loss and great gain together. My other sister Naomi and her husband Iain also live in Scotland, and we are rarely all together in the same place. We are all close in a multi-faceted way, and my heart aches for them as much as it does for the land. Perhaps one day we will all live near one another again. I do hope.
Recently I had the pleasure of photographing some friends of mine who create a space for reworking and writing new hymns for the modern church. Here are some of my favorites from my sessions with Doxatheo
Sallie Mosely is a force of nature. Our paths have crossed many times over the past few years, and each time I have walked away feeling that I was with a woman who has fire in her bones (which is a privilege to witness). That fire has birthed all sorts of creative endeavors in her life, from leading people in song, to recording her powerful voice, to mothering her three gorgeous children, to running a photography business and most likely countless other adventures I don't know about. I can only speak for myself when I say that holding all of those creative energies in tension with life itself in the day to day has the potential to tear me apart - spending my time with people who understand that tension is very important for my soul. Sallie is one of those people that strive for all, and she will never give up. When I planned this portrait session I had all sorts of tricks up my sleeve - lit lanterns, fog machines - turns out all I needed was one light and Sallie's free spirit.
One of the things I love most about being a musician and a photographer is when those world literally get to collide. When Nathan Storey contacted me to do portraits for his upcoming album release I was absolutely thrilled. Nathan's new record "A Sea to Sail" releases May 25th, but head on over to itunes today and pre-order now!
I stumbled across some old rolls of film in my closet a couple of weeks ago - I didn't know anything about what was on them or how old they were, just that they held secrets of our lives and it was time to see. I was thrilled - these are some of my favorites from one of the films - the 8 frames come from the lomo oktomat I used to tote around. The camera didn't really deliver good quality images, but that wasn't what it was about - the essence of this camera for me was fun fun fun. It was really cool to find this film and relive a moment at the beach from 6 years ago!
A few years ago a good man gave me an old 35mm camera that he hasn't used in years. I also let it sit for it's own dusty years on my shelf, hoping one day to get back to shooting film and wondering what secrets the camera held. I finally took it down from it's quiet place over Christmas and put it to use. I have to wonder why I let it sit so long, why I wasn't ready to see with slower eyes. I do love shooting digital, but there is something about film that raises the experience to another level. You take your time, you carefully consider what you see and why you want to capture it. You have no idea if it really worked, and you have to wait a good while to find out. instead of time spent editing hundreds of almost identical images to pick the right one, you get that 'one' and that one alone, to sit with, in all of its faults and beauty, without an invitation to retouch or change or edit edit edit - it simply 'is'. Shooting film invites into 'being'. What a kind invitation.
These shots are from boxing day 2014, where a South Carolina Christmas beach invited us to an unusually warm reverie.
I love to walk with my family. As a child my parents would always move us out of the house, come rain, billowing bone-burning wind or blinding sun, we tumbled out into the world. My sisters and I would curl our mouths as if we had eaten sour grapes and we'd whine, but mum and dad would have none of that. We were made for the wild world, and into it we would tumble, until we began to find the wildness in us remembering it. We'd begin to hear and feel and smell our origins, able to be our true selves under the great sky. Out there, we would breathe heaviest, strongest, our minds settling into the ordinary swing of our bodies, becoming extraordinary as we paced to the rhythms of the earth and our own thoughts.
So we try to push our little family out, coaxing the little boys away from the minecraft and the t.v with promises of bear hunts and adventure, for just long enough to begin to breathe deeper. We still don't get out enough, but when we do I try and remember to take it all in, sometimes with a camera. These are from Christmas Day past, reminding myself to stop and recall my vision back to the ordinary. The luminous, shimmering ordinary of a walk in the wood on the quietest day of the year...
We sat in the front room with our instruments strewn across the floor, our laps heavy with songs for the Old Ones. We had met each other through a mutual friend (the wonderful Sarah Helser!) to see if we were a good musical pair, with the idea that we would play in nursing homes around the city. What followed was a season of about two years where we sang old timey songs for people who are at the very end of life, and well, it was one of the most beautiful periods of my musical life. And I also made a dear dear friend in Sarah Stephens.
I'll never forget one rehearsal, where my worry colored the notes and Sarah stopped me for a moment. We'd been practicing our songs together for a while now, and she sensed the day was darkening for me. One kind glance from Sarah and I poured out my fears, financial worry and stress. Her answer? To take me by the hand and lead me outside. To sing a song from a time I've never known, and whirl me around until I was laughing and light. She does this kind of thing all the time - reminding you of the Grander Joy, the simplest pleasures, even the reality of what pain can teach us.
On Friday night November 14th Sarah will be playing her music in a cosy home, with images of mine projected on a screen behind her. Her music is whimsical - childlike even - but there is another layer, then another, then another, and before too long as a listener you've been both a child and an old man and everything in between. She captures the essence of what it means to be human on so many levels, and she is a true storyteller. I wanted to capture the peace and whimsy that comes through with images of my children and the land I love, but also focus in, on a very primal level, the details and patterns that are beneath our feet that we often don't see. When we take a closer look, we find ourselves entering into another layer or unknowing - rocks become constellations, seaweed becomes a satellite image of a desert, icicles become fragile shy creatures. Sarah embodies that clarity and mystery for me in her personality, which is what makes her such a true gift. Here are just a few images that will be shown on Friday. If you can come to the show, RSVP here. It will be a real treat.
Earlier in the year I was honored to shoot the models for Sarah Helser's upcoming gallery at Hidell Brooks in Charlotte, NC. Sarah is one of my most treasured friends, and I am delighted to share her work with you because not only is she a phenomenal artist, but she is a soul that writes from a deep, profound and revelatory well. In Sarah I have a friend that I can share a secret language with and that is a great gift in this life. If you've followed my music at all you may recognize her work on my album covers as well.
Here are just a couple of my photographs alongside Sarah's paintings and a poem she wrote that accompanies the work. Sarah has beautiful, powerful things to say to this world and its an incredible experience to collaborate with her.
If you are in Charlotte please visit her gallery that runs through December 20th! And tonight, her reception is from 6-8pm at Hidell Brooks.
father and mother unlock your doors
on nights of summer. bare
feet gliding through hushed sighs, they love
waiting for tomatoes crimson to climb and magnolias grow
larger than whales, white on the terrace
spraying delicious scents around the homes
of hands, stirring quiet to lift quilts and escape
out the window and into the night.
in the damp heat, smallness is grand
crashing waves that wear the years away,
and I am bathing with the midnight birds
black feathers wet and they sing
"the moon is a lamp
the stars are chandeliers
and you my dear are a moth
trapped in an earthly body
jailed by the summer night"
I lost my beloved Grannie last week. Due to personal circumstances, I am unable to fly back to the UK to make it to the funeral tomorrow, which of course breaks my heart. My Grandparents loved my sisters and me in a way that is difficult to put into words that do their love justice. So, I share in image, from the archives, some of the ways my Grannie glowed, the plants she tended, the land she loved. As my dear family gathers around her tomorrow, I will sing my songs over the water and send all of my love.
All our sweet summer days
Tasting fresh berries from the paddock
Hazy purple mornings in lavender
Yellow afternoons in the apple orchard concocting secrets
Blue days by the river, enclosed in wooded womb
Spring would kindly ask that we play in the meadowbarn
Setting up shop
Pansy Pies, Mud Meringue, Daffodil Delight
Pay with pebbles and taste the air of our imagination
Gentle spirits wander down the path to dinner
As evening alights the haven of our belonging
Our secret garden
And at the helm
Tending the earth as they did our small hearts
Giving us the gift
Of heaven on earth
Living in North Carolina, I spend the summers basking in the heat with my children. Those heavy days saturate our whole bodies, making us slow, breathing in the thick blanket of air enveloping. I don't mind it, but it always reminds me that I am a foreigner here.
But when Autumn comes with it's low, dappling light I remember the cold lands I came from. I remember that by now, we're already bundled up and braving the winds that drive at our hair and scold our cheeks. I remember that we get outside every day even if it's for a quick walk to the field with the dogs because the land calls us out. I remember the smell of cold, clean air on a dark day, winter not quite rolling in but tantalizingly close and crisp on the edges of tree limbs and cool stones.
I have literally thousands of pictures taken over the years from each trip back to visit my family. I get greedy with the camera, voraciously eating up every leaf and tree, though I've yet to capture what it really feels like, what it smells like, in the cold winter air of Scotland.
Of those thousands, here are a choice few from a Christmas spent in Perthshire. I plan on spending the summer in the UK next summer, reuniting with my family once again, and will take my first trip to France to photograph a wedding! It's hard to believe I never made it to France in all my years of being so close.
If you are in the UK, specifically Yorkshire or Scotland in the summer of 2015, and would like to book a shoot, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org