IT HAPPENS A LOT.
It's past midnight, I'm tired, sweaty, and driving home after a long day of shooting, feeling utterly wiped. Exhausted, but grateful that I'm lucky enough to come in contact with the type of people I might never have had the chance to meet if it wasn't for the job I have. The job I love.
I tell people a lot that I need to invest time in them and their day. That it's important to me, and ultimately their photos. But I rarely tell them how much it means to me to be part of something so important to them. Relative strangers, really. It's a responsibility I don't take lightly. Because the business I'm in isn't just about taking pictures, it's about trust. The trust of knowing that I'll be stepping into their lives for a day, and trying to document it the best that I possibly can. With an honest eye and a keen sense of observation.
I've been to more than a few weddings now, and if I've learned anything it's that a wedding doesn't begin during the ceremony and it certainly doesn't end after the first dance, which is why I want to be around for all of it. All of the in-betweens. The embraces, the smiles, the laughter, the love.
The whole shebang.
So if you're lucky enough to have found love, well good for you, friend. And if you're looking for someone to help tell the story of your wedding day, maybe I can help.
NOW HERE'S THE THING.
It's no secret I've been known to fall in love with couples in the past. Not every couple mind you, but many. Often times their friends and family, too. It's an unexpected by-product of bearing witness to such an intimate and emotion-fuelled day with people in love.
Every wedding is different and sometimes things can get a little crazy. There is a very real potential I could see your boobs, it happens. An accidental belch, a brain melt-down, even a bowel movement, I don't judge. You never know how the day will unfold and that's part of the fun of it if you ask me.
I guess the point I'm trying to make is I see a lot, so It's only fair I share with you a little bit about me if I'm to get a sneak peek into some pretty poignant pieces of your wedding day puzzle with you.
So we're in this together.
It took a few years before photography grappled me into the all-encompassing wedding choke-hold it has me in today, but the seed's been growing for a while now, in part due to a restless heart and a little plastic point-and-shoot camera on the road.
I got bit by the travel bug, and there's no cure for that.
I'VE ALWAYS HAD ITCHY FEET.
When I was eighteen I landed a job as a bank teller through a co-op program I did for an entrepreneurship class in high school.
At the time I was ecstatic. My friends were pumping gas and scooping ice cream and I was already on my way to building a legitimate career, with opportunities for growth and the whole bit. After graduating from grade twelve I worked at the bank for a year, and enrolled in a commerce program at a local university.
It felt like a good fit at the time, but not long into the school year I realized that university life just wasn't for me. I hated the classes I was enrolled in, started questioning whether or not it was the direction I wanted my life to go, and eventually dropped out after a few months. I went back to the bank another year and then the branch up and closed. I was twenty and at a bit of a crossroads. I could prolong the banking gig, but it just didn't feel right. I hated wearing a shirt and tie all week, I looked like I was twelve, and customers regularly asked if it was take your son to work day. I needed a change, to spread my wings.
Like a lot of kids my age I just wanted to skip town and go exploring for a while. I wanted to see the world more than anything, but I needed to make it legitimate, to try to make it my job to travel. So I took a two year hotel management course and quickly realized that there is no prerequisite for travel, not formally anyway. It's as simple as buying a ticket and getting on the plane. So that's what I did.
I made it my goal to work and live on six continents, and spent the next six years scraping enough money together for flights to new destinations I could settle in temporarily, anywhere from three to twelve months at a time. As cliché as it sounds, I really did have the time of my life. By twenty-two I had it all figured out. If I was able to travel to three countries per year between then and when I died (a conservative eighty-years-old) I could potentially visit every last country on earth.
I was hooked.
The freedom of dropping everything and starting from scratch time and again was addictive. Stepping out of my comfort zone, making new friends, scrambling for work, getting into mischief, being robbed, detained, beatings, the whole lot. It was a trip. A wild and sometimes rocky journey I'm so grateful I had the opportunity to indulge in and luckily come out relatively intact.
Today that wayfaring mindset has shifted to a more realistic sight set on one new country to conquer each year, with the ever-elusive seventh continent of Antarctica still in the cross-fires. All in though, the travel thirst is still being quenched, thanks to a girl that's been in my corner for over a decade now, who without a doubt has changed my life for the better.
The one who didn't get away.
The definition of patience, personified.
SHE ACTUALLY SAID YES.
I don't know how I did it, friends, but she stuck around.
Through a series of insane, major holy-shit life moments, seemingly random chances and mini-miracle events I've managed to hold onto the single best girl I've ever known, a woman who has both figuratively and at least a few times literally carried me through some gnarly adventures while we've begun building a pretty incredible life together.
It took me a little longer than it should have but I asked her to marry me and sure enough she said "I guess so."
My granny's vintage ring, a simple engagement, a perfect little pot-luck wedding with our closest crew in Halifax and a commitment to stick side-by-side, and continue in our exploits of silliness and growth with both reckless abandon and a conservative rate-of-return joint savings account.
It is official world, Candace is off the market.
Keep your grubby paws off her, she's mine now.
I've got the papers to prove it, and even some curious evidence that for better or worse, we're getting all growed up.
WE BOUGHT A HOUSE.
Four years here already, what a trip.
Like most good things in my life I was more or less forced into making the commitment of owning a home. Candace wanted to settle down so bad but you know me man I just wasn’t ready. I’ve got commitment issues, we all know that. Every morning she’d scour the internet looking for houses she could see us settling into and every time she'd show me the listings I’d walk out of the room rolling my eyes murmuring "meh" under my breath. Until the day she found the one, our diamond in the rough.
Our perfect fit.
It was a little cottage house tucked away in a well-treed lot in a village-like community called Jollimore, and the second we drove up the driveway to see if the chemistry was there it was love at first sight. Well, no one was home so we had to climb through the bushes and peek through the windows when nobody was watching, but that's besides the point.
There was no way around it, it was this house or no house at all.
So we marched into the bank with nothing more than a stack of wedding contracts and a handful of laundered hundred dollar bills and walked out with keys in hand. First time home-owners, holy shit. It took some time to get used to the wood stove, but we’re damn near pros now. It's got more charm than it knows what to do with I tell you. Some nights I just sit outside in the dark and listen to the peepers in the pond next door and stare at it. Not in a weird way, just admiring. I’ve spent so much of my life living out of a suitcase, moving from one place to the next, it’s the first time in a long time I’ve actually been proud of something I own. Besides my GI Joe collection.
We hear it's over eighty years old but man it's aged well. We're close to the Dingle and the Frog Pond and William’s Lake and Cunard Beach and my mom loves working in the garden and we’ve got quirky neighbours and deer in the backyard and lots of natural light and privacy and we’re so damn comfortable here you’re going to have to just bury us all in the backyard when we kick the bucket. Me, Candace, Finn, Gracie, Callie and our soccer team of ghost babies, every one. It’ll probably be years before we have the inside looking just right, but we promise it won’t lose that cottage vibe we fell for in the beginning by replacing it with stainless-steel-granite-bacon-wrapped-scallop-countertops, or any of that nonsense.
Let’s be honest, we’re still filling in dents in the furniture with magic marker.
We love it just the way it is, just the way our lives have turned out up until today.
And um yeah, then somehow when I was least expecting it, seemingly in the blink of an eye, life happened to get even better.
I NEVER WANTED KIDS.
Not even a little. If you don't believe me you can ask the scores of friends who still mock me for denying I would ever settle down in any traditional fashion. The same friends who've mocked me for moving home to Halifax and getting married and buying a house. The truth is I never felt the urge to have kids, I just happened to fall in love with a girl who did.
So it was settled, and here we are. A new life, a rebirth of sorts, and it's been an interesting ride so far. People always like to make comparisons between you and your baby. It's ''Oh, he's got Candace's cute turned up nose' or 'Look, he has Layton's inverted penis'' but to be honest most days I look at him with a sense of awe and wonder where on earth he came from, this total stranger, our son. And then I pick him up and hold him in my arms and he looks me square in the eyes with this seriously quizzical face and I smile at him and he smiles back at me with the biggest toothless grin you've ever seen and it fills me up with so much raw joy it melts me from the inside out, to the point of nearly tears.
I don't know man, it's a trippy feeling, having a kid. I don't know what the future holds for him or me or our little family but I do know I'm happier now that he's here, happier than I've ever been in my life, really. I catch myself smiling more these days, even in the morning, which is saying something. I am one sincerely grateful dude and I've got these two beautiful babes to thank for it.
We have a good life.