“Wtf is an axe major?” That was the question I found myself asking a man named Wizard at 1:15am in the downstairs bar of Timberline Lodge. The bride and groom and all their college buddies had just broken out into song. It was one of the most impressive group drinking songs I’ve ever heard. If you had heard them from down the hall you would have thought they were a group of Irish men fresh off the boat and drunk on Guinness. We knew Adara and Alex, had met in marching band at Humboldt State College, but I had no idea what that actually meant until their wedding day.
None of the schools I went to had a marching band so most of what I knew about marching bands were things I’d seen in movies. As wedding photographers we think its important to get to know our clients well enough that we have some kind of understanding of who they are and what’s important to them. It informs our process and allows us to create imagery that is unique to each group we work with. Although in this case no amount of conversation or questionnaire answers could ever have given me a true understanding of what it means to be a part of a college marching band, I had to experience it in person.
With the work we create for our clients we strive to strike a balance between the documentary and the abstract. Authentic representations of people alongside abstract work allows us to tell a more complete story. We want our photographs to take you to the height of emotion while still remaining tethered to reality. When searching for inspiration for our work we draw heavily from other artistic mediums, particularly painting.
The post impressionist painters were brilliant at striking this balance. They were the first to use color in truly daring ways. The huge streaks of color brushed across the faces in their portraits were considered radical at the time. The use of color was emotional rather than realistic. The paintings of post impressionist painter Toulouse-lautrec are some of my favorites. His paintings reveal the magic of Paris after dark. They are filled with interesting characters all mingling under the glow of dim lights, their faces warmed by the flow of drinks and passionate conversation.
As an aesthetic to lean into for a group of musicians, post impressionism felt appropriate.
For us photographing weddings is about making photographs that don’t just capture the moment but truly feel like the moment. Capturing the swirling feeling of wedding day and the chaos of a party requires a touch more than just documentary capture techniques.
The double exposures in this set of photographs were created in camera without the use of photoshop or digital manipulation. We aren’t purists when it comes to photography, so I don’t necessarily think that this makes them inherently better. Although, it does make them feel less crafted and more candid.
Adara and Alex have a beautiful group of friends. They are tight knit, warm, welcoming and absolutely know how to party.