Monthly Archives: December 2011

Anne + Haran — Wedding Day

Anne and Haran had a Vietnamese-Pakistani wed­ding, which was a delight­ful blend of two cul­tures with their own tra­di­tions and cos­tumes. Included in this day were three tea cer­e­monies, four dress changes for the bride, and one giant roast­ed pig.

When Haran first told me the fun­ny sto­ry of how he asked Anne’s par­ents for per­mis­sion to mar­ry her, he was sure to include the detail that Anne’s father was ex-mil­i­tary. This fact made him very hard to read, and Haran did­n’t know how he was tak­ing the news until Anne’s mom start­ed firm­ly rub­bing his shoul­ders, and this iron-grip mas­sage ulti­mate­ly lead to him giv­ing the approval. After hear­ing this, I thought it may be a chal­lenge to cap­ture emo­tion from Anne’s father, but now I know a daugh­ter’s wed­ding can bring out the emo­tions in any man, and he wore many ten­der looks that day.

it is impossible to stop the motion of snow at night

I got what I want­ed for Christmas.

Piles of it. Sheets falling from the sky, melt­ing instant­ly on your wind­shield, forc­ing the traf­fic to 20kph on the high­way. So much that you have to brush off your car if you leave it parked for more than a minute, but the sky glows orange for you to savour every sec­ond.

house in the snow

Not that I cel­e­brate Christmas, but I do enjoy the trap­pings of the sea­son. The lights and the dec­o­ra­tions and the spir­it and the snow. I’m just sick of the con­sumerism. It seems per­verse to see all this fan­cy paper wrapped around a box only to be torn off and thrown away. To see peo­ple scram­bling to buy things just to have some­thing to give. I’ve got it just right, where I don’t exchange gifts with any of my friends cause I don’t want either side to feel oblig­ed. I’d rather give a present when the time is right for both peo­ple, and save my mon­ey so it’s some­thing spe­cial every now and then. The last thing I want is to be a scrooge, but the old­er I get, the more I feel like that’s what I’m turn­ing into.

The hol­i­days are the only time I tru­ly veg out. I watch more TV on Christmas day than in the entire year com­bined, marathon reruns of Dog the Bounty Hunter and Parking Wars and Cake Boss. Shows that are fas­ci­nat­ing in short bursts with the right com­pa­ny and snacks, but nev­er good enough to make a point to watch on my own.

trees and night

I was lucky enough to spend some qual­i­ty time with a cheap elec­tric gui­tar. The body was dusty, the strings were dirty, and the into­na­tion left some­thing to be desired, but the action had me feel­ing like all the time I’ve spent with a stiff steel-string acoustic has paid off. About a month ago I put down a $200 deposit on the nylon-string beau­ty I’ve always want­ed (with the promise that I’d get my deposit back if I did­n’t like it) so I could wrap my arms around the body, run my hands across the glossy fin­ish, and feel the fret­board beneath my fin­gers. Guitar has been my only ther­a­py late­ly. The only thing I can throw myself into and for­get about every­thing else, the only part of myself that I can tan­gi­bly tell is improv­ing, some­thing I need to be feel­ing right now.

I’ve nev­er been this uncer­tain about the future, and it’s freak­ing me out. I already had a feel­ing 2012 was going to be a new start. My projects would be done by the end of the year, I’d have a nice lit­tle break, and I’d be ready to begin again. Now I’m forced into that real­i­ty, and life is soon going to be very dif­fer­ent. I don’t know if I’ll be able to han­dle it, but I sus­pect I won’t have much of a choice.

suddenly everything has changed

I know you can’t save me from what’s about to hap­pen, but I’m tired of being strong for myself. Tired of not hav­ing you in my life. Tired of try­ing to not think about you. And as ter­ri­fy­ing as the future is now, you know I’m not a hyp­ocrite, and I know it would­n’t be fair to either of us.

Sometimes I take the bus, walk our paths, sit in our old haunts. Hoping to catch you at a dis­tance, so I can see how you’re wear­ing your hair and know you’re okay. Strangers on a train, hop­ing in my head that you’d sit and talk to me so we can laugh and cry and cry and laugh about it all.

Sometimes I find these pic­tures of you I don’t remem­ber tak­ing, in glass­es I don’t remem­ber you ever wear­ing, in places I don’t rec­og­nize. A strange gap in my mind in an oth­er­wise vivid set of expe­ri­ences, and I won­der if on that day our bod­ies ever touched.

And while I’m sure some would blame these thoughts on the sea­son or the breakup, the sim­ple truth is I nev­er real­ized how alone I was until the phone rang today, and I haven’t tak­en a breath since.

Elizabeth and Jane promo video

I was very excit­ed to be work­ing with Liz again when approached me to shoot a pro­mo video for her pho­tog­ra­phy busi­ness. Since she does engage­ments, wed­dings, and pet por­traits, we decid­ed to film all three types of ses­sions.

Liz lists some of her favourite things as her hub­by, her pups1, her shoes, and her Apple prod­ucts, so I includ­ed lit­tle bits of each to give it a per­son­al touch. I also kept the grad­ing crisp and clean with colours that pop out of the screen to match Liz’s style of vibrant pho­tog­ra­phy, of which I’m a huge fan. My main goal, how­ev­er, was show how fun it is to be one of her sub­jects because she has a per­pet­u­al smile and bub­bly per­son­al­i­ty that puts any­one at ease.

  1. She’s Ottawa’s own dog-whis­per­er, and it may be safe to say that she loves dogs as much as I love cats, per­haps even a lit­tle more. []

Jenny + Dave — Wedding Day

A spe­cial film for a spe­cial cou­ple.

I was giv­en the chance to film the wed­ding of Jenny and Dave on the Hawaiian island of Maui. Everything about the day was gor­geous, from the trop­i­cal weath­er to the bur­geoun­ing cen­tre­pieces1 to the torch­lit recep­tion. It all came togeth­er to cre­ate an atmos­phere of sub­lime charm, and I had so much fun cap­tur­ing it all.

I make each wed­ding film as acces­si­ble as pos­si­ble, so any­one can get a sense of the day even if they weren’t there. But I also include cer­tain things that would be under­stood by only the peo­ple involved. In this film it was shots such as an uncle doing an hilar­i­ous bump-and-grind on the dance floor, or the bride tear­ing up while writ­ing her speech, or the father-in-law say­ing a few words while firm­ly hold­ing the groom’s hand dur­ing the tea cer­e­mo­ny. Details such as the lat­ter may not seem like much to an out­sider, but fam­i­ly and friends at the wed­ding would under­stand how such a small phys­i­cal dis­play of affec­tion can mean so much.

This was by far my most chal­leng­ing wed­ding film to make, but it was well worth it. For a while, it became my rea­son for liv­ing, the one I want­ed to be remem­bered for, and my goal was to deliv­er this film before I died. There’s a piece of my soul in it, so I can’t say how lucky I am to have been giv­en this oppor­tu­ni­ty to cre­ate this for Dave and Jenny, and how I hap­py I am to know they deserve it.

(A big thank-you to wed­ding pho­tog­ra­ph­er Mike Adrian, who was a delight to work with, and taught me a thing or two about how to pack for des­ti­na­tion wed­dings.)

  1. The Four Season’s now has a rule that lim­its the size of the cen­tre­pieces, because they would some­times catch the wind and fall over. This was the last wed­ding at the Four Seasons to have such mas­sive ones, the rule being grand­fa­thered in, as Jenny and Dave planned the wed­ding right before it came into effect. []