A friend of mine from high school reached out to me a little while back via Facebook. It was a funny message, awkward, and sort of funny, but this message ended with: so do you think you would like to shoot my wedding? If you're not busy.
The funniest part about the awkward message is that Christine may be one of the most confident people I know. Quick as a whip and always on the spot with a wise-crack, and has been since we rode the public bus together on the way home from Bishop Hoban HS. I think the last time I actually saw Christine may have been our graduation day. Funny how years fly, and how some people don't change... always awesome when they really don't need to. Christine was still confident, sharp, and hilarious, and Sam, her fiancé, was quiet by comparison, but you could see the same energy that Christine exudes, hidden just behind his eyes. He would tell his jokes with a whisper, and sometimes just a glance would have Christine nearly in tears laughing.
"Books are really important to us, and are integral to our relationship..." this was the direction I was given for what they wanted for their engagement session. Books. I quickly figured, "book store," then "library." After a quick discussion with some contacts through the Wilkes-Barre POWER! networking group, I was put in touch with the right people from the Osterhout Library in Wilkes-Barre, an old gothic architecture church converted into a library. The fact that Christine has very fond memories of this library was just dumb luck, but she was thrilled when I told her we had access to shoot their engagement session there. We even had access to the areas blocked off by that intimidating chain and sign that reads: "Staff Only".
When we started off in the lower stacks, I had them each just grab random books off the shelves as props, and they kept grabbing tragically ironic choices for an engagement session, like the one above: SHIPWRECKS. Only Christine and Sam.
We headed upstairs, to, the corner of Foreign Languages, Cryptozoology, and Conspiracy Theories. And Programming languages (is that redundant? does that count as a foreign language?)
Sam proposed to Christine in Paris, so we found a selection of French Language books to use as props both in the foreground and for them to read. Shelves of books to pick from and what does Christine pick? The Green Mile. A little tale about a miracle on death row. She's a riot she is.
Working among the stacks was challenging and fun too. Definitely different that the fields and forests in which we so often shoot engagement sessions. Heather is off to the left in the shots above, holding a 24" soft box adding to the window light, and theres another soft box attached to the book shelf over my should providing fill light for Christine and Sam, who had to keep making themselves comfortable on the hard glass floor, and in tight aisles of books. But they were up for it, and the smiles and laughs never stopped.
I can't remember who picked the next book... Bigfoot. We had a laugh over that and the show on Animal Planet, and some discussion as to whether we believed he was real. The XML book in the back was a special request from Sam. I think he wanted a PHP book instead, but XML had to suffice. I think the rest of those books are Russian and Chinese... just as easy to to read as XML.
Gothic arches and huge light sconces hanging from chains? Yes please.
Soon after we shoot the cramps out of everyone's legs got everything rounds up and books replaced to their respective homes, we headed up to the off limits third floor with an official escort from the library. As soon as she realized she had more important things to take care of, and we clearly weren't book burning vandals, she headed down the stairs and let us have run of the whole floor. I can't say enough how accommodating the Osterhout staff was for us. Not only did they allow us to shoot there, but we were able to rearrange stacks of library property and storage to have access to these windows...
Christine and Sam wanted books in their session... we delivered.
We wrapped up on the third floor and made our way out of the library and said our good byes to the Library staff and each other. They were headed off to have lunch with a friend, and we headed to a birthday party.
Christine and Sam, thank you very much for asking Heather and I to cover your wedding, thanks for the laughs, and we will see you both very soon at the wedding!
Thanks for checking in!
PS: A special thanks again to the staff of the Osterhout Library for being so gracious and accommodating with us, and to the patrons who just sort of looked up from whatever they were doing when a flash went off, and then went back about their business.