A huge element… no, THE major element of my job as a photographer is being able to be “let in” by the subjects I’m photographing. Whether I’m shooting an assignment as a photojournalist / editorial-documentary photographer, a commercial shoot, and yes, even shooting a wedding, being able to connect with the people I’m photographing is crucial to the process. My experience working as a full-time photojournalist really helped me develop and understanding and appreciation for the short-term interactions I have with people. Hearing their stories, getting a glimpse into their lives, being allowed to photograph them and document an intentional sentiment or moment in time. These things are extremely rewarding perks of the job, and are equally felt when working with couples, if not more amplified due to the long-term relationship involved.
I’m sure other photographers can relate to this, that once in a while certain people you photograph just stick with you, people whom through their genuine and honest sincerity, allow you to create a real bond, a real trust that can only really be felt or experience with friendships that are decades old, or even a bond so strong that you feel like you’ve known each other for years. Karl and Emeiko were this people to me.
I met Karl & Emeiko at the Wedding Co. Market, and we probably chatted for a solid 45 minutes about them, their wedding, analog photography (Emeiko’s father was a wedding photographer), and the overall amazing details surrounding their wedding, which initially been planned to be on Ward’s Island in the late Summer.
As the spring and summer approached, Ward’s Island was devastated with severe floods, causing local businesses to close up shop for a majority of the summer, all planned events had also been cancelled, including Karl and Emeiko’s wedding.
To pay homage to their initial wedding day plans, we decided to take an adventure to Toronto Island, Ward’s specifically, to take some photos and reminisce of what could have been. Ward’s Island was in pretty rough shape but we lucked out with the weather as the rain held off but the storm clouds loomed in the near distance.
Their first date was an impromptu picnic by Karl, and to continue with the pay-homage-to theme, Karl and Emeiko set up a top-quality picnic, with amazing cheese, fruit, bread and wine to satisfy any palette. I thoroughly enjoyed this portion of the day myself, but what’s really engrained in my mind is actually our time on the ferry back to Toronto.
Being the only 4 people on the dimly lit boat, plowing our way through unusually large waves caused by the roaring wind, Karl and Emeiko holding onto each other staring out into the Toronto skyline, city lights shining bright, creating a silhouette of their intimate moment. It was oddly cinematic, an experience I had as a viewer and not so much as a photographer. It’s through fleeting moments like that in my life, as rare as they are, that truly inspire me and it creates a deep bond between myself and the work I create for others. When people are like old friends, it’s even easier to capture candid emotion and honest moments.
It’s always refreshing to have a real, tangible experience nowadays. To enhance this, I only shot film for the session. It was refreshing to not have to worry about taking an unbelievable amount of images, really helped me feel more involved with the people right in front of me.
Oh and don’t fret, they found a highly suitable replacement venue with the Burroughs on Queen West, so their story does have a happy ending. Images which I look forward to sharing very soon.
To Be Continued…
Song of the day - Mat Kerekes - Reach