2016. Love it or hate it, it's been one hell of a year!! So before we jump into what we, Chuck and I, have loved and experienced through our work this year, let's commiserate and also have a bit of a group hug.
We've lost many iconic and talented figures along this trip around the sun, our nation has gone though an incredible amount of political and social strife and divides (as has the world in general), and all around us we've seen our friends and ourselves struggle with one problem or another. I mean- Damn. Right? But here's the thing I keep going back to- change doesn't happen without some discomfort, and in the midst of pain, we often find love and unity. When we are comfortable, we are complacent. And I don't know about you, but I sure as hell have been uncomfortable this year- to say the least. So now it's time to roll up our sleeves, get up off the couch, step away from behind our screens, and show 2017 just how strong we are- and how powerful we are when united. We shape our future, as we shape our present. I firmly believe that embracing your strengths, your passions, and your power is incredibly beautiful. And if you need a reminder- you are SO. DAMN. BEAUTIFUL. And my goodness, we need to put as much beauty out there into this world as possible.
It's been our pleasure this year to remind you of just that- how lovely you incredible people are. Whether it's been through a boudoir session where we helped to coax that inner vixen out and reminded you that "Yes, that is YOU! You foxy lady!" Or capturing the beauty of the intimate and chillingly gorgeous moments between you and your new spouse (those moments when I need to say "I'm not crying, YOU'RE crying!") And also all those laughs you've shared with friends, those big-and also little- moments when your heart shines and the weight of life's responsibilities lifts, even for a second, as you party your legs off, or close your eyes and sway to the music. We are so thankful to be invited into these moments in your life. Seriously- what an honor.
I feel we've also grown so much as artists, as technicians, as business owners, and in general, as people. And that couldn't have happened without you. So thank you. SO MUCH.
Now get ready for a ton of photos- it was so hard to narrow down our favorites that I felt best showcased this year's journey. We've been blessed to have been able to press that shutter button a LOT of times this year. So perhaps settle in with some coffee, wine, or whisky (pick your poison!) and join us in some reminiscing and celebration.
Let's kick it off with some of the unbelievably amazing events we've covered this year:
QDP'S QYE (Queer Dance Party's New Years Eve Party) is where we rang in the beginning of 2016 (and also where we will ring in 2017- come say hi!) SUCH a fun time!
And 3,2,1: Happy New Year!
We've also covered some great events put on by the "Mudfather" Jason Galaz, including shows at the Nashville Palace, Wine On The Rails, The Nashville Boogie, and of course, Muddy Roots Music Festival.
This photo was taken at a show at the Nashville Palace. If you're of a fan of American roots music (rockabilly, rock & roll, honky-tonk, rhythm & blues, soul and doo-wop), then check out Big Sandy & His Fly-Rite Boys. If you'd like to see more of our footage from this night (which also included Hillbilly Casino and Billy Harlan), then check out our video here.
Next up- The Nashville Boogie. The Nashville Boogie Vintage Weekender is a celebration of Mid-Century America- with over 80 live performances across 5 stages at the Nashville Palace, Opryland Hotel & Grand Ole Opry House. In short, it's amazing. Get your booty there and grab those tickets now. The dates for 2017 are May 18th to 21st. You can check out more of our footage in this video here, our photo gallery here, and also in the newest issue of Ol' Skool Rodz!
One of our top favorite moments of the year- photographing Chris Isaak from backstage at the Grand Ole Opry. I've adored him and his music for so long. I may have geeked out just a tad (okay a lot). Especially at this particular moment. Chuck and I were already excited to be backstage here and had just finished up enjoying the first act- Woody Pines (also SO fantastic), when Chis and his band came out of their dressing rooms and formed a huddle to prep with some last minute words before heading on stage. It was dark and a little smokey (from the atmospheric smoke used on stage), and I slowly raised my camera up to capture the moment. Right as I began to hit the shutter button, he looked up directly at me, and my heart leaped up into my throat. Seconds later he was on stage and I had to shake my daze of "OMG CHRIS ISAAK LOOKED RIGHT AT ME" and continue shooting. In fact Chuck literally smiled while shaking my arm and said- "Amy, yes that was awesome- now keep shooting".
Yep that's right. More eye contact. SWOON. Whew, alright ladies and gents. Need a drink after those luscious photos? Let's move onto Wine On the Rails. It's SO much fun. You get to dress up in your fancy vintage ware, hop on a 1950's train headed to Del Monaco Winery, and drink some wine while being serenaded with live music. We have a blast every time. We know you would too! Tickets for each excursion sell out fast. This particular excursion featured some classic country western music and flair, and the band seen here is The Farmer & Adele. To see more of footage of this event from another one of it's trips, click here.
And then we have our MOST favorite event of the year- Muddy Roots Music Festival. Guys, there is just too much for us to say about this. Just know we love it (so hard!), and you can see our full coverage of this years MRMF here, read more about it and get info (and tickets!) on the website here. There were just too many photos and beautiful memories tied to them for us to choose from for this post. So instead, we hope you enjoy our video we put together of our coverage from this years event. We can't wait to be back in that field!
BURLESQUE!! We love it. It's all about body positivity, confidence, creativity, and feelin' sexy. We became a sponsor of Music City Burlesque this year as their official photographers. These people are SO talented. Go support your local artists and performers by buying a ticket and going to check out one (or all) of their shows yourself! Feeling inspired and interested in taking a class? Freya West of MCB is also the owner and headmistress of Delinquent Debutantes- Nashville's premiere burlesque school!
Next up- Boudoir and Pin-Up! I love helping to remind you of just how ridiculously stunning you are. We all can be so hard on ourselves, a boudoir session is a chance to drop all that negative thinking and embrace the beauty of this body you live in. And trust me- I know how terrifying it can be to get in front of a camera, especially if you are wearing next to nothing, but I have been SO happy to hear just about every one of you I've worked with this year say "wow, that was fun!" by the end of your session. So ladies (and even gents!)- treat yo self to a session this 2017! You (and perhaps your lover) will be happy you did. Our sessions this year ranged from a classic pin-up, such as a Bettie Page and Tempest Storm inspired session, a Doctor Who themed set, some foxy va va voom vibes, and what may just be our new fav- nature inspired outdoor sessions.
We've done some really fun portrait sessions this year as well. We love to showcase YOUR style and your passions when taking your portrait.
This stunning lady is seen here above is also a super talented photographer (and dear friend!)- Katie Sioux of Florence Photography. Be sure to check out her work as well!
This is another of my most favorite people- Kallisto of UVUDU? Imaging. Also super talented- check her out as well!
If you follow us on social media at all (and you should!), then you've most likely heard/seen us talking about a project near and dear to our hearts- Presently Pinned Up. Presently Pinned Up is a Calendar project that showcases amazing women and what they do in our community, and ALL of the proceeds from calendar sales and events go directly to local charities. This year's charities are Oasis Center and End Slavery TN. The beautiful and fierce ladies in the above two series of images are the women we had the pleasure of working with this year. Kallisto of UVUDU? photographed the other portion of ladies for the calendar. The amazingly badass woman who started and created PPU, is Katrina Clark (as seen in the top left photo here).
In between sessions, we keep creating. We play and experiment and learn through this. And as artists, that is good for our souls. These are a few of our favorites from our personal projects.
Noir themed photos are our jam. The light, the story, the mystery and intensity. We LOVE it. We are just dying for some clients to book an engagement session with this theme (hint, hint!)
Such fun on these two concepts. The women I worked with on these two are also so talented. The top "Rainbow Pop" set is Huxley King, whose talents I often utilize for set design and costuming. The bottom series features another one of my go to gals, Jessica Crawford (also happens to be my bestie!), who has been there for us in so many ways- from her makeup and hair skills, to set design and costuming, and also as our assistant for weddings!
All right ladies and gents- on to proposals, engagements, and weddings! Lets get all mushy and stuff.
This surprise proposal was so much fun to capture. It was also featured on How He Asked- go check it out for all the adorable details!
Missy and Paul's engagement session was such a fun day- like seriously. Total blast. See more here.
Ice cream and dancing. How adorable are these two??
More dancing!! Because as Nietzche says: “We should consider every day lost on which we have not danced at least once.” And that view! Swoon.
This moment during an elopement on the Shelby Street Bridge was just fantastic. As they began saying their vows, Janet realized she'd forgotten to change out of her boots and into her heels! She stopped everything, pulled her shoes out of her bag and did a switcheroo, and then hopped back up to continue their ceremony! They then proceeded to have their first dance at their favorite honky tonk on lower Broadway, where Doug hopped up on stage to perform a song with the band for his new wife.
Shauna and Kim were such a beautiful couple to work with. They put so much care into their beautiful sunny wedding, and the amount of love between them was palpable. You can see more from there wedding in this feature by Equally Wed.
Alica and Lee's wedding at Debarge Vinyard (and reception at The Church on Main) was full of so many beautiful elements that came together to create an absolutely stunning day. There was the sweetest moment during their ceremony where Alicia kissed Lee, then stopped to wipe her lipstick off her new hubby's face. We also adored the huge family group dance to "We are Family" at their reception. And check out that look of pure happiness on Alicia's face as she looked back at Lee during their exit. So damn sweet. See more of their wedding here.
Mary Clare and Curtis' wedding day just flowed so smoothly, was full of so much love, and they had one of the most adorable flower girls EVER! See more of their wedding at Buffalo River Farm where it's featured on Nashville Bride Guide.
There were several moments from Amy and Ben's wedding day that stand out in our memory, but these two the most. Amy and her dad did a first look- and the reaction on both of their faces, while her mom looked on, was just wonderful. Also, there was a moment during their first dance that I looked over and saw Amy's mom and sister hugging and smiling while watching- seeing that put a smile on my face as well!
Can I just say how much I love this photo?? I giggle every time I look at it. Missy and Paul's wedding was filled with laughter and sillyness. We thought their engagement session was fun- their wedding was even more amazing. Ok, so the tears shed this day weren't only from laughter. This had to be one of the sweetest first looks. I'm totally not tearing up again while looking at these photos. Nope.
Right after the wedding was over, there was this moment when Paul's friends just surrounded him in a hug. Seeing these guys, who were pulling crazy antics just hours before the wedding, come together in love and support for their friend was just beautiful.
We also did a "day after" session with these two. Ok it was technically two days after the wedding- gotta have time to re-coupe after a party like that! It was so awesome to be able to capture these quite and intimate moments after the wedding. And so cool to have been able to capture their full wedding journey together- from their engagement, to their wedding day, and then their early moments as newlyweds.
We had the chance to work with some amazingly talented people on this styled 1920's Dark Glam inspired wedding. Credits where credits are due:
Models (who are a real life and super awesome couple!): Sophie du Mal and Weston Peece
The way Ira looked at Sica as she walked down the aisle was so beautiful. And as Sica stood across from him to say their vows, the light broke through the clouds that were prevalent that day, and shown right onto her face as she smiled with tears in her eyes. These are the kind of moments that give us goosebumps.
While I was shooting the ceremony I looked over to Sica's mom and grandmother and saw them holding hands while watching their daughter/granddaughter getting married. There was something so powerful and loving in that moment.
This was completely impromptu and instigated by Sica and Ira's friends. Everyone was laughing, smiling and cheering. It was such a fun moment to capture.
A spontaneous jam session happened at Sica and Ira's reception as well. Everyone pulled up chairs and gathered round while Ira and his friend/groomsmen pulled out a guitar and sang some of their original songs. While shooting this I remember smiling and thinking "This is so Nashville, and I love it so much". Man, are we lucky to have this job.
For all of you who made it to the end of this long post- you rock. To everyone who has been so supportive to us and our business this year- you also rock. And to all of you who were our clients this year- we love you and are thankful for you- you guys really really ROCK.
“For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.”
― T.S. Eliot, Four Quartets
Amy & Chuck