A year of wedding and couples photography. A year of partnership.
Here’s how the story goes.
One day, after months of trying to set a date, Liz and I met at a café in downtown Kingston. I’d originally found her online, and asked her to meet up so I could borrow some of her wisdom about photography (I don’t think I was totally honest about these motives, mind you).
So here we were, May 18th of 2016, sitting across from each other on a giant live-edge wooden slab of a table at Coffeeco at Springer Square.
Right before Liz walked in, I’d been served a cappuccino with the cutest teddy bear foam art, which I felt the need to post to Facebook, not fully realizing there were – at that very moment – something like a trillion others sharing a similar photo of their very own coffee concoctions, from various well-lit angles. (This trend was just one of many trends about photography or photographs I would begin to discern, as I became more involved in wedding photography.)
As we sat there, finalizing stories of our lives in the elevator-pitch style you adopt with near-strangers, I realized we had a lot in common. We were both at a kind of cross-roads in our lives.
Liz, after studying Fine Art with a specialization in photography at Ryerson, and photographing years of weddings, was in a creative rut. She was not the biggest fan of self-promotion, she was tired of going it alone, and tired of… trends. The days of creating and analysing and critiquing photographs as art in university seemed far behind. And so, it seemed, was her artistic vision – lost, somewhere on the road to client acquisition and the demands of the wedding industry.
I had just left a career in academia, for a lengthy list of reasons which sounded more like excuses at the time, but my naiveté and newfound love for photographing weddings as a second shooter won out in the conflict of emotions I had about the switch. I was no longer a parenting scientist, but I had more face time with parents than ever before, because I was now a family photographer, and loving it. Oh, and I was developing a serious love of photographing love… at weddings.
So we were both facing imminent decisions about our lives.
And that is what we talked about on our first coffee date with Liz. And I noticed, too, that Liz was really easy to like. I mean, she had this casual confidence that made me see that she was wrong: her artistic vision was not lost. It was in fact very much present, and her desire to make strong photographs at weddings – something that has never disappeared - was paradoxically making her feel outside of the wedding industry.
Because the wedding industry doesn’t often value strong photographs.
I continued the conversation with my new-found friend online. I remember writing to her the next day on Facebook messenger when the idea struck me.
It went from there.
We spent days and weeks talking about what we envision of a joint venture, what type of weddings we would like to photograph, what our ideal clients would look like, and what we could both bring to the table to those clients. We decided we’d be fully equal partners in everything: earnings, editing, business decisions.
We also wanted full transparency for our clients.
And the thing I remember the most was the excitement of being in this together. Of having a partner in this new venture, and one who was both talented and like-minded in so many ways.
The last year of partnership with Liz saw the creation of “Quirky Love Photography” (which was initially the “Quirky Love Project”.)
We started out the summer of ‘16 by photographing couples in love on the streets of Kingston. The idea was very simple: we’d walk down Princess Street, or along the shore of Confederation Park, or at Springer Square, and we’d spot someone in love. Really in love. People who beamed at each other, or stole coy glances at each other.
We’d run up to them and say, “hey, we really want to take your photograph. Can we please do this?”
A whole bunch of people agreed. Probably because we’re nice and not at all scary. People laughed along with us. They were sometimes shy, and other times unashamedly bold, in showing us the uniqueness of their love. But they were always genuine.
There were no gimmicks involved, no props, no backdrops, and no posing.
The photos were a hit. The Quirky Love Project even went on a road-trip to photograph one of the masters of romance chick-lit, Sarina Bowen, against a backdrop of covered bridges and falling golden leaves in Woodstock, Vermont.
We also booked our first weddings for 2017 as a team, and met with couples, and talked to them about we.
We, in this partnership.
Liz and me (Viara), on a road to doing wedding photography a little bit quirky, and a whole lot real.
We, committed to breaking away with trends and traditions and doing the best work we can for people who want different.
Because we always believed that wedding photographs will be yours long before they belong to the world, and long after that last Instagram like on a photo appears. They will belong to you in the quiet night-light of a rainy evening, and when your thoughts have moved on to your bustling life. They will be your photographs to revisit when you kick off your shoes and stretch your feet after a long day. And even when you thought you’d seen all you can see in them, they will be yours and they will bring you new joy and meaning.
Oh, and did we mention we love to photograph a good party?
(Just thought I’d throw that in after all the gushy stuff. Liz and I both love a good dance-scene at a wedding).
Liz & Viara
We want *real* love, raw, & unplanned. unposed. Quirky Love hits the streets looking for the type of love that doesn't need fuss.