It started with a suitcase. I found one vintage baby blue Samsonite suitcase and BAM! Runaway Bride idea. I put the suitcase up on a high shelf in my office and waited. And waited. For about six months or so. When I found a matching suitcase (these things are rare in this color, folks), I was super excited. Then Amanda Facebooked me and said she wanted to do a Trash the Dress session. I told her I’d been wanting to do a Runaway Bride theme, to shoot by the boxcars on Ninth Street, showcasing the graffiti, then go to the river and get in the water. “I LOVE IT!” She was sold. I was excited!
Amanda asked if we could incorporate her daughters in the shoot, and I said, YES! What a great and cute idea! She wanted to have some unique mother/daughter shots, and she got some. It also changed the dynamic of the day. It made it a little more fun, to have Taylor (six years old) playing around the trains and saying, “Why are we running?” It was awesome to see McKenzie (Amanda’s daughter, not my assistant), all grown up (almost) at twelve. The last time I saw her was four years ago at Amanda and Kevin’s wedding, where she was dressed like a little angel, wings and all. “Wow…” I thought. “She’s gorgeous.” Just like her mama! Amanda is going to have trouble keeping the boys away from these girls.
So we started out at the box cars, Amanda running with suitcases, posing, climbing – overall, being a real trooper. She said she was up for anything, and I LOVE a model who says they’re up for “anything.” Although, I’m always a little scared that their idea of “anything” isn’t in the same category as my idea of “anything.” As we shot at the boxcars, a homeless man watched, and Taylor kept asking, “What’s he doing, Mommy?”
We shrugged and I said, “He’s just watching us take pictures.”
Amanda said, “He’s probably never seen anything like this before.”
I love having an audience. Makes things more fun.
Once we were done with the boxcars, we packed up, hopped in our cars, and headed to the location Assistant McKenzie helped me scout at the river. It was a beautiful walk to the river’s bank, and we stopped in a great spot to take photos. As we were walking through the weeds, someone mentioned spiders, and I watched carefully where I was going. Taylor piped up, “My mom is scared of spiders.”
“So am I,” I said, walking like I was avoiding land mines.
Amanda turned to her daughter and said in a menacing voice, “They’ll eat your face off!!!”
“Thanks a lot, Amanda,” I said. “Now I’m going to be even more phobic…” (Last week I needed four pieces of scrap wood to put under a dresser I was painting. I went to the scrap wood pile and said, “Mark, you get them. There might be spiders in there. Amanda said they’ll eat your face off!!!” He was not amused. I was not kidding. He got the wood for me because I refused to touch it.)
We had a really great time shooting. I used all available light and a mixture of four different kinds of film (Kodak Natural Color, Kodak Vivid Color, Kodak B&W, and Ilford SFX Near Infrared) and got a lot of different looks. (Stay tuned for a blog about how I botched up most of the Infrared…)
Assistant McKenzie had a lovely time taking behind-the-scenes shots (see the making of this shoot here: Sneaky Peeky of Amanda’s Trash the Dress Shoot) and wrangling little Taylor at the river’s bank. “Taylor get back here” was her mantra for the afternoon. Taylor was too busy having fun, and Amanda was too busy wading through a river in her wedding gown.
It was chaotic fun, and we TRASHED that dress! Like I always say, I never do anything half-way. Go big, or go home. What uupppp!