november in savannah - pt. II of III

Welcome to part II! We left off with the most extraordinary rehearsal dinner just outside of downtown Savannah. I miiiiight have tromped around all night downtown, popping in to see friends (hi, Stephanie!) and hanging out with R's Oklahoma homies and Jeanne's family from Baton Rouge. I was a little bit fuzzy the next morning, but the supremely chilly air (read: freezing!) woke me up quickly. The amazing farmer's market was in full swing, and I bought a whole host of delicious tasty local goodies that I can't disclose because friends up here haven't received them yet. 

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Anyways, I had two little shoots in the morning, the first was with Brian, a bud I met in the SCAD ceramics department who's still studying away (go, go finals week!).

He was a total champ despite the chilly temperatures! Cheers, darlin.

Things warmed up a little bit by the time Kasey came around for her shoot. She's graduating from Valdosta State in December (woo, congratulations!). 

The sun was all bright and shiny in time to rush home and get all dolled up for the day. Y'all, I don't generally wear much makeup at all when it comes to shooting weddings, nor do I paint my fingernails (three different colors), or wear floor-length gowns, or get to wear shoes that are cute (as opposed to comfortable). *extremely girly geek-out moment*  

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Feeling well polished, we hiked the whopping five blocks from our place to St. John's Cathedral. I hadn't been inside since I first visited Savannah in my Girl Scout days (which equates to middle school).

Confession: every single wedding I've ever shot, I've cried at, even if it's just a little. I'm an empathetic and pretty sensitive person by nature, but when I'm shooting, it helps going through the process step-by-step to not lose it and turn in to a bawling baby. I see all the little moments, like watching bridesmaids react to seeing their lady all dressed and made-up, or seeing a father and daughter exchange tearful and happy smiles before heading down the aisle, and they're all wonderful but they're also spaced out and easy to handle. Seeing my beautiful friend walk through the doors of St. John's on her papa's arm, wearing the most supremely elegant dress that fit her so well (not just in the tailoring) and beaming a positively radiant smile looking up the aisle at her future husband got me. I giggled and burst in to tears, and almost forgot to snag a picture of this perfect moment.

And for the first time in my life, I sat (and stood, and kneeled appropriately) through a full catholic wedding, received communion, and did nothing but appreciate the moments as they passed. It was a beautiful ceremony, and I was so happy to bear witness to it all.

How fantastic is Jeanne's mama's dress?!

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It's traditional during Catholic ceremony to place a bouquet of roses at the feet of Mary; there was a small alcove just to the right of the alter where this happened at St. John's. I can't get enough of the robin's egg ceilings with their gold detailing.

Time to hop on a trolley and head to the Ships of the Sea museum in Downtown to party down! Also, lovin' up on this subtle greenery. It smelled wonderful and fit the soft colors of the wedding.

I shot a wedding at the museum back before I'd graduated from school, but WOW, was it transformed. This was the garden bar area:

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Center and right are my dear friends (patroness of the arts) Bobbi and Clinton (one of the geniuses behind ArtRise), both that I met working with Jeanne at DeSoto gallery, and on the left is Clinton's roommate and my new friend Jared!

My friend's Bevin and Siobhan of Paprika Southern (S. was my other gallery mom from DeSoto!) - they were in the wedding party! All the bridesmaids had intricately braided hair with flowers interlaced in their locks. Anywho! Back to the reception: the pergola area was turned in to a mini-gallery with hors d'oeuvre to order.f

So, I'm from Maryland, so naturally I'm a stickler about crab cakes. This was one of the most magical fried crustacean cakes ever; the mango chutney and capers in the tartar sauce were such a nice touch. Kudos, Susan Mason Catering!

These are my new buds Anna and Aaron; former SCAD kiddies now living in Philly, and both very talented artists. 

All of the hanging art was by a local Savannah artist named Olivia Beaumont. Her paintings feature wonderfully whimsical animal portraiture. 

This rustic and romantic cake was so beautiful (and delicious, woo for carrot cake!). 

Woohoo, the Mr. and Mrs.!!

On to dinner! 

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And after dinner, we dance! Delightful jazzy string group with a Sinatra-style singer to keep our feet moving. 

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I spent the rest of the evening in the great company and got to run around Savannah in a full-length gown (woo!) But wow, what a sublime day! So well planned (major props to Curly Willow Designs and a tip of the hat to French Knot for a superb job) and full of sweet details to surprise and delight all the guests, food and drink to please every palate, and all full of love. I'm so excited to see the real photographs from this gig, apparently there's some film work (!) done by Katherine Holly Everett, be sure to keep her on your radar! Congratulations, R + Jeanne, a spectacular wedding for spectacular folks!

Hang tight for part III - a day spent on Tybee letting my inner food photographer run wild. Cheers! -MJ

november in savannah - pt. I of III

Gather 'round, folks! Here's a three part tale about an absolutely enchanting weekend spent in the sweet southern town of Savannah. This story starts back in June, I was dancing in my driveway with a save-the-date for Jeanne and R clutched in my hand. I've been giddy for months about this wedding, the first one of my adult life that I didn't have to work. But wait, no, I guess this story goes back a heck of a lot farther back than June. It goes back to my days in SCAD days volunteering at DeSotoRow (now Fresh Exhibitions) with my grand gallery family, Jeanne as one of the acting mother's to the crazy group of student volunteers. 

these photos are the product of sleep deprivation and success...

these photos are the product of sleep deprivation and success...

...a great auction for our dear DeSotoRow, and a rare photo of a mostly beardless R.

...a great auction for our dear DeSotoRow, and a rare photo of a mostly beardless R.

I met R through Jeanne, and found that for her electric exuberance and silly side, he had a complimentary cool quiet and utterly engaging personality. You know those people you meet and you're instantly like, 'man, I totally wanna have a beer and pick this person's brain!'? They're those kinds of folks. For all their magnetism between friends and strangers alike, they've an even greater draw to each other and are kind of a power couple; unfortunately, Ranne doesn't have quite the ring that Brangelina does, but we'll all power on regardless.

ANYWHO! Back to this weekend. My guy couldn't get out of school/work to visit Savannah for a long weekend, so my mom and my pup and I headed south Wednesday night. 

I do so dig empty gas stations at night on 95.

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We made it to Florence, South Carolina for breakfast, and just in time to get some great early morning shots; I rarely wake up for sunrise, but holy cannoli, it's so worth it!

Florence was sleepy this early, but a great place to stretch our legs.

This, by the way, is what majority of the 10.5 hour drive looks like.

The last time I visited town, I somehow managed to not make it to Zunzi's. Anyone who has lived in or visited Savannah will generally tell you that you HAVE to go here, and that you HAVE to order *insert menu item here* because it's heaven on earth. Me? I don't care what you order, just go there, respond to any affirmative questions with "shit ya!" and get ready for a magical food experience. It's worth the wait in line, it's worth the sticky fingers, and you should totally invest in a half and half rooibos/lemonade. My go-to is the portobello sub with chicken. I'm literally drooling writing this paragraph, yikes. 

This is the gorgeous joint we scooped, so cozy and right on Taylor!

After settling in, I decided to buzz around town and make some overdue social calls. I'm sad I forgot to bring my camera in to Alexander and Bergen Hall where I visited some of my former professors and ceramics homies. I got a little choked up in the studios; art school was exhausting and so, so much work, but I miss it every day of my life. I miss Savannah, too, with all it's quirks and strangely lovely people.

Part of my goal in visiting Savannah was to photograph as many of my friends as possible and to just enjoy shooting in between my paid gigs. It's a rare thing that I pick up my camera for personal work for more than a few night shots or food work here and there...

My bud Ashley from Kent Island I've known most of my life. She's been living in Savannah for quite a few years; we worked together for a bit, but now she's apprenticing at Kustom Hustle tattoo and I am SO excited for her. She's incredibly talented, and let's be real - she's got appointment cards with shark pineapples on them. Instant love! 

This is our dear John, who met up with me for the greatest happy hour in Savvytown (no, really $2 Sweetwater/Terrapin draft beers? the best!). 

Noticeably absent: photographs from the delicious dinner at Leoci's with my Savannah family. The Original Mary, Stewart, and Susannah.  Too much good conversation, amazing Italian eats (homemade gnocchi, yum!), and chianti to remember to grab a picture!

 

Friday was sleeping late, last minute shopping, visiting Foxy Loxy for my go-to iced americano and a bourbon bacon brownie in the sunny courtyard. And also a hard cider, cos it's Friday, and vacation time!

 

We headed home, got dolled up and headed out to grab a trolley to take out to Old Fort Jackson. The temperatures had started dropping with the sun...

...but fortunately there was preparation for just that; kerosene heaters, bonfires, and cocktails!

 

Old Fort Jackson was totally transformed from the historical monument to a beautifully decorated scavenger hunt. Everything glowed golden from fires and heaters and candles.

 

Every corner of the fort had something fun and different; a bunker with a Moscow Mule bar (made with key limes, holy delicious!), raw oysters near the bonfire, baked brie with jalapeño raspberries upstairs, cured meats and olives and cheeses in a little nook looking out at the river, all with a blue grass band setting a supremely sweet and southern tone for the night.

The catering was done by Leoci's, which, whoa! Two nights in a row of homemade goodies? Yes please! French Knot were the planners behind the whole shindig, and they did a phenomenal job, I loved every second of it.

Oh, did I mention, FIREWORKS!? Y'all know my obsession with photographing them...

What an enchanting evening and that was just the warmup...wait 'til you see the wedding! This week I'll have all three of my recap posts from Savannah, and my full preview of Mike + Nicholette's wedding. Can't wait! -MJ

zuri + lauren

Holy cow, has it really been almost three weeks since I was in the South?! I guess keeping busy makes time really fly, but it seems like just yesterday I was eating schnitzel for the first time ever while drinking beer from a horn, packing my buddy Sam + his belonging in to my car to move him back up north, and darting around to photoshoots in Forsyth Park in between my unending quest to catch tiny lizards!

true fact: I am an expert anole hunter.

true fact: I am an expert anole hunter.

Anywho, on to the good stuff! Which is sugar and spice, and everything nice; little miss Zuri was brimming with all things sweet and sassy. What a big, beautiful personality in such a tiny little package! Another native from Kent Island (what is it about us folks that gravitate towards sweet Savannah?!), her momma Lauren and I caught up at breakfast while Zuri slowly warmed up to me in between gobbling up fruit and wobbling around the Sentient Bean. I was, after all, just a blurry face when I last saw her during her pre-crawling, cooing newborn stage.

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But full bellies make for fast friends! By the time we were done eating and ready to rock and roll, Zuri grabbed my hand and led me through Forsyth towards the playground, and on to our shoot.

We quickly decided that it wasn't light-coat weather, and got down to some serious play-time. Watching Zuri clamber up the junglegym and zip down the slides, pulling goofy faces at Lauren and stopping to give her some smooches was too sweet for words.

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this is Zuri's very best "smile please!!" face. so silly!

Anyone who's hung around me for more than five minutes knows that I've got a seriously strong curiosity streak. I can and will play Twenty Questions with any and everyone I can, especially when it comes to learning about how people live their every day life. I'm incredibly fortunate that my work as a photographer has opened so many little doors and windows in to such a wide variety of lifestyles, and hanging with Lauren and Zuri was no exception. As our time together came to a close, I watched in awe as Lauren, with well-practiced hands, perched Zuri on her shoulders and proceeded to work some voodoo-fabric-magic, nestling her most precious cargo at an ideal vantage point. 

There was something tender and practical and primal and totally logical in this kiddy-wrapping, so I asked Lauren to give me some more info on the practice of babywearing. And I figured that you, dear reader, with future or present roles as mothers and fathers and grandparents and siblings and caretakers, might also be interested in learning more. She sent over a link to this beautiful entry entitled "Why I Wear My Daughter" by the blog Girl of Cardigan. I'll share some of my favorite lines from the entry, but I highly suggest you read the whole piece (but only if you've the ability to hug/love/smooch everyone you hold dear as soon as you're done with it; it brings out alllllll the feelings).

...*cough* Huh, what? ....Nope. Definitely not. My glasses are not a little foggy, but I am going to go dash off and give my own mama a big hug. No, I'm outta here, but go read this site for more info on babywearing: facts, tips, the whole shebang. Big thank you + cheers to the three beautiful ladies that made this shoot: Zuri, Lauren, and the balmy, beautiful city of Savannah -- much love to y'all! -M