It is with deep sadness that I amend this blog post in late January, 2020. Last week, the world lost an incredibly kind and loving man. Pete died unexpectedly, leaving his loving fiancee and family to come to grips with their immense, sudden loss.
We never know how long we have people, or how long they have us. I’m grateful these photos exist as a visual testament to their love, and as a reminder to us all to cherish the people we love and never, never, take them for granted.
The following is my original post after spending the afternoon with Kim and Pete.
Let me start this post by saying that it is a rare, disarming, and beautiful thing to be knocked sideways by a couple’s love.
Kim and Pete decided to come into New Haven for their engagement session, and we chose to go to one of my favorite nearby locations, Edgewood Park.
The thing you should know about Kim and Pete, first thing, is that they are incredibly hard working, and there is a bit of seriousness that came off of them when we first met, I think as a result. Kim told me a little about their work on the phone when we spoke–she works with kids who have special needs, which from her account is as challenging as it is rewarding. Pete works in the punishing, back-breaking concrete industry, dealing with all of the associated mental and physical challenges of that profession. She stressed to me how strong Pete’s work ethic was when I asked her to describe him to me; it was one of the things she most admired and respected in him. Our conversation left me knowing that there was a deep wellspring of respect forming the base of this relationship.
Back in my apartment before our session, I chatted with them both. Pete was incredibly nice and friendly, half-paying attention to Kim’s and my conversation as I curled her hair and half-entertaining himself on his phone. I found them easy to talk to and no-nonsense: I didn’t have to perform in any way around them. They actually reminded me of my high school friends from back home in the Midwest. I could just as easily picture having a beer with them as photographing them.
I didn’t really get a sense of their relationships dynamic until we got over to the park. All couples are so different to begin with, and adding the camera and my coaching to the mix creates another layer of complexity that brings about different results for every couple. I made an assumption, based on their chill, casual demeanor in my apartment, that their interactions in front of the lens would take on a similar feel.
Goes to show what happens when you assume!! The minute I began photographing them–giving them permission, in a sense, to hold hands, hug, kiss, and SHOW ME their love–they were GONE. Totally immersed in each other and in the experience. I was, quite frankly, blown away by the sheer ENERGY produced by their love for each other. The way he looked at her–it was truly like she was the only woman in the world who mattered. The glow she got, being in his presence this way, was completely contagious. I was glowing, just bearing witness to these two.
To be able to photograph feelings of this magnitude is why. I. do. this. amazing. job.
There is a magical connection at the core of Kim and Pete’s relationship, and I feel SO honored that they let me have a glimpse of it. Thank you both–I feel I’ve found true friends in you, and I’ve witnessed something about love I will never forget as a result of your generosity in sharing it.