Sometimes you have to do things that absolutely restore your soul, that remind you why you do what you do. Even in the midst of this busy season (four October weddings, one out of state conference, and the occasional fall session), photographing these two "just for fun" seemed crazy but also like the necessary thing to do. Autumn, with all of it's changing colors, with it's invitations to soak up what's happening around me, with it's slowing pace says,
"Ready your soul to rest. Savor. Feast your eyes and fill your belly. Remind your heart what all that beating is about."
That's why, even though I felt like I had a lot on my plate, even though the thought of October has been filling me with anxiety for months (for real), I decided to add just a tiny bit more to my calendar, all in the name of having an over-flowing heart. All in the name of remembering that I don't just photograph people because I can. Because I've spent years honing a skill.
Being out at Top of the World with Hilary and Alex, seeing the way they soaked up the moments happening around them. The way they didn't let a hug be just a hug for the camera, but an invitation to adore one another. The way when they smiled at one another, it seemed like a joy bubbled up from deep within their bellies, causing the corners of their mouths to pull back and a brightness to fill their eyes. The way they looked at the sunset, and the waving blades of Kansas grass with a deep sense of gratitude, not just for the chance to have their photos taken, but for the chance to rest with one another and fully appreciate the beauty of God's creation. All of that was my reason.
I do what I do, I photograph people, to give them that chance to remember and rest and selfishly, to see it all unfold before my eyes. The remembrance I refer to is that of "How did we get here, hand-in-hand on a Kansas hilltop when five years ago we were just college students? What do I absolutely adore most about you? What were you thinking that day, years ago, when I wore this very wedding dress and stood before you for the first time as your bride?" The "rest" I see is sometimes a break from the day-to-day and busyness, and sometimes the rest I see is a hope for the things to come, for the story that has yet to be written. And I kid you not, I see that when I look at these images. I see that Hilary is not just trying to look pretty for the camera, but she's looking at the sunset and thinking about forever. I see that Alex is looking at Hilary and truly seeing his bride, the bride of yesterday, today, and years to come. Even if they didn't truly think those thoughts that day, I'd like to think that having these images can take them there.
Whoa momma. I just feel a tiny bit of passion bubbling up inside of me, because I truly love marriage. I love the work it takes, and I love the fruit of the labor. I love reminding people of their love, of giving them a lighthouse of sorts through these images of themselves, to guide them home when they might have lost sight of the shore.
That was a lot of words, way more than I expected to share! And I say them all to say, look at my beautiful friends, Hilary and Alex. They're a pair that loves dearly and deeply. They are adoring parents, sacrificial friends, and passionate lovers of Jesus. Look at their gorgeous faces, and tell me you can't see what I see! Grab you some coffee, and sip away as you look through their gorgeous styled anniversary/inspiration/adventure session at Top of the World in Manhattan, KS.
Hilary & Alex, thank you so much for letting me be adventurous with you and for trusting me as I pushed my personal limits to give you something I hope you cherish for years to come! All the love, sweet friends, all the love!