There are a few places that I have frequented, particularly in this area, for sessions in the past. I know them just like the back of my hand - there is a spot here, here and here, and the light falls in this exact spot, at this exact time. That kind of thing. But shooting here at the Roswell Mill and having these two to photograph made this particular session unlike any other.
They helped me to see a location that could have been considered ordinary, and transformed it into a canvas, of sorts. I can honestly say that I have never photographed anyone in this way at this space before. It was an eye opener and helped me to see that, regardless of where you are or how many times you have seen something, there are new, exciting and unique ways that a space can be transformed - simply by the love between those who are in it.
Between sleep overs, silly jokes and growing up together since 5th grade, Amanda and I actually go way back. We were close friends, then sought out our own paths, and now - after FIFTEEN YEARS (whaaa!??), our paths cross yet again and I find myself the eyes of this part of her and her new love's journey toward marriage.
Sometimes, I have to pinch myself. Like, is this real life?
As for Pankaj? He is probably the kindest man on Earth. Adorably attentive, respectful and kind. In fact, I'll tell you a quick story. We were about to descend down a bit of a rocky slope as we waited for an elderly woman who was trying to make her way up the climb. Me? I just stood there, like an idiot. Patiently waiting and watching and smiling, so we could be on our merry way. Pankaj jumped right in and ensured that she was able to climb her way through and, didn't stop there. He waited to watch her walk up the path to be sure that she was okay.
"Gentleman" hardly scratches the surface there, folks. That is just bottom-of-the-heart kindness and compassion for others. And an undeniable passion for miss Amanda, at that. He held her hand, helped her cross the river, acutely eyeing her every step to be sure that she made it safely and soundly. He even offered to help me.
I stopped and spectated a lot, watching them cross the water, how they interacted. I snapped a lot of photos of them carefully stepping through it. Because, in those moments, it was all about trust. His hand meeting hers, her trusting him to help her from slippery stone to deeper water and back out again. It was so much about the life ahead of them in those moments, and it's clear that the difficulties they face will be met head on with a lot of trust in one another.
Maybe just a little bit of laughter. And then when all else fails, he'll sling her over his shoulder and get the show on the road. That's the way to live, people! Confidence in each other and a solid sense of humor. After all, Mama has always said that a sense of humor is the most important thing. You have to laugh your way through difficulties and moments of uncertainty in order to keep your sanity.
Here are my favorites from Amanda and Pankaj's river engagement. I am in love with the cultural aspects of this session. Amanda is not Indian, but Pankaj is, and in honor of the celebration of their engagement she had henna on her hands and feet. Have I ever mentioned that this has been a DREAM of mine? The Indian culture is beautiful!!!! And when it comes to celebration of weddings, the vibrance with which they are celebrated is illustrious and downright stunning.
Beautiful and wistful evening light, immaculately detailed henna, a sweet, sweet love and even a 1980s Trans Am with the iconic freedom bird on the front. This one, folks, has something for everyone.
I loved telling this chapter of their story together and just love these two!