I met Sam and Erin at the Northampton Pride festival where I was doing a fabulously queer photo booth. They live about three hours from me, so we decided to meet halfway, close to where Erin grew up, near the border of Connecticut and Massachusetts. They were open to suggestion about which natural setting to shoot at, but they were clear about wanting half of their session to be at a playground. I was super excited to hear this: that would be a first for me!
I met them at Bigelow Hollow State Park in Connecticut in late afternoon, and the sun was doing that magical misty slanting thing through the tall pines and landing in golden stripes on the padded ground. The land sloped down towards a river, and opened up into a lake a ways through the woods. It was stunning.
Sam and Erin arrived looking somehow professional, sporty, and a bit vintage all at once. Their aesthetics mesh so well together it looked like someone had styled them. These are two women with a lot going on—both professionals with a lot of responsibility, they carry themselves strongly in the world. I wouldn’t want to be on their bad side. And yet, together, there is a softness there. They smile at each other softly. They take each other’s hands softly. Erin touches Sam’s back softly, and I can tell they are careful with their love. They treat it gently and do not take it for granted.
As we got to know each other through the shoot, I learned about all the fun things they do together, all the trips they’ve taken, the activities they participate in. They are active, energetic enjoyers of life, and this spirit totally imbibed our session together. They were up for anything, not afraid to get their (pristine) clothes dirty (which somehow, despite all the hiking and playing, they never seemed to do). They are so clearly comfortable outdoors, so at-home in this state park, that this seems to be normal activity for them—enjoying each other’s company beneath the trees.
We ended at a nearby playground at sunset, and I photographed them fully enjoying themselves, unabashed in childish play. It reminded me of how seriously we grownups take ourselves, and how freaking boring that is. These two reminded me that romping around in the woods, pausing to look at the glassy reflection of a lake, and swinging on monkey bars are all worthwhile—even necessary—balms for our relationships. For our souls. Can’t wait to be with you two on your wedding. Thanks for taking me hiking.