Ever since we started Radiant we’ve said we want to build a strong, loving, vibrant community around it. But I think that’s what tons of people say whenever they start something like this. I knew I wanted it, but I don’t know if I believed it was possible… so imagine my surprise when it started happening!
(By the way, since we didn’t have pictures of us with all of the people we talk about in this blog… we just went with general pics that show some of the relationships that have either been formed or strengthened through Radiant).
We recently went to dinner with our friends, Erik and Chelsea. We’ve been friends with these people for years (before we were even married) and they have both recently entered the wedding business. Erik is a DJ and Chelsea makes beautiful, custom wedding invitations (so let us know if you need to get in touch with either of them of course!). The vibes that came from this meeting were just amazing! It was like back and forth… idea, idea, idea… they were being thrown around like we were juggling right there in the middle of the restaurant. Combine the idea fusion with their heartfelt support and encouragement they were doling out like it was free candy and we left that restaurant walking on clouds rather than concrete. It is so cool to be working in the same industry with our close friends and finding ways to partner up and create a collaborative thought that extends much further than simple photography. It’s a vision for a way of living and loving others together. Beautiful.
Two nights before that dinner, we met with some of our other old friends, Mark and Meg, about doing their wedding photography (I’ve been friends with Mark since I was 15). Meg always speaks truly from her heart, and this night was one of her more eloquent nights of expression. She moved me to tears as she spoke of her love of our work and the emotions our photos stir inside of her… so much so that they moved their wedding date just so we could be their photographers (we were booked on their original day)! I thought her speech that night could never be topped… at least that’s what I thought before I read her email she sent me as a follow up to our conversation that said,
“More people should have pictured memories as stunning as you make them. I really believe that you & Scottie capture everything it is to be… to be… something I’m not sure there’s a word for. It goes FAR beyond a pictoral landmarker on the proverbial road of life. I never look at your work and feel like I’m just looking at someone else’ point in time. It’s always like I’m there, celebrating all that it is to be alive and well and happy and living life to the fullest. Mark and I are extremely grateful for you two.”
Wow. To have friends who are such fantastic people to be around (you know the kind that make you feel better about humanity when you’re with them) who actually value our art as much as we do is nothing short of a priceless gift. And even better, we get to be a significant part of their wedding! And this may sound weird, but spending the entire day closely with someone on a day as intensely emotional as their wedding, really forms a special bond that either forms new friendships or enhances current ones… so we couldn’t be happier that Meg and Mark worked so hard to have us be there for that!
We also have recently made NEW friends through our work with Radiant! We shot Tracy and Paul’s wedding about a year ago and they called us up last month to come celebrate their anniversary with them in Sedona, AZ and take some pictures of Tracy in her Folklorico outfits (see our previous blog with the photos). We had the best time with them that weekend (serious, AMAZING fun)! And every since then, Tracy and I have been chatting on facebook or sending email sometimes 3-5 times a day! Tracy is involved in the music scene in LA so she’s always updating me on my favorite bands and events I’d be interested in and I enjoy spending hours looking at pictures of thier new dog, Libby, wishing she was mine! Now we have another photo session scheduled with the 2 of them at the Bel Air Beach club in Santa Monica and we’re planning a little trip to Disneyland together to celebrate her birthday while we’re there! I can’t even tell you how much it means to us that Tracy and Paul like us and our photos enough to invite us out for a second and third session after their wedding! It is so cool to get to meet amazing people like them and then to work with them repeatedly just makes life better than I ever thought it would be! I love relationships that are formed over art!
Other new relationships we’ve formed through Radiant just in the past month have been with other photographers! One thing I’ve always loved about the industry is that there’s this movement for photographers to be open with each other and to share their secrets and tricks with each other, rather than being all shady and competitive. Everyone is super friendly and so good at helping each other out… Chelsea Hudson is no exception to this! She sent us an email just saying that she’s been seeing our name around and would love to get together with us (how cool is that?! She’s way bolder than me)! Apparently we’ve supported some of the same non-profit organizations in the past, we live in the same state, we have similar styles, and come to find out later that our common thoughts and interests extend way beyond photography! She called us later the same day to tell us about a local movie theater that was showing Kite Runner to donate all the proceeds to a humanitarian organization she likes! Ever since then we’ve been addicted to each others’ internet lives! Commenting on absolutely everything we post on our Facebook pages and blogs (business and personal for both of those outlets), emailing, checking out each others’ work, etc.! It’s SO fun! For one she is UNBELIEVABLY creative in her writing! I can’t get enough of her genuine style and wit! She’s like the kind of fabulous that demands the word “fabulous” to be covered in bling! She’s also been so good for me as an artist… someone to relate to me and challenge me (and someone who’s not also my husband). It’s just what I needed! My new friendship with her has made me feel different about everything I do with photography!
And then there’s all of our facebook fans… some are old friends, some family, some newbies to us…. no matter who they are, it is them who make us feel like we have a real community around us. The support, the comments, the sharing our page with friends… all of it brings tears to my eyes. People are interacting with EACH OTHER even. Our page is actually creating relationships! We recently had two of our brides befriend each other through our page to share wedding tips! Now THAT is what we want to create through our photography. We want to help people build, grow, and transform relationships. To me, that is the whole point of so much of what we do. We are freezing moments in time for people to treasure… but what value does any of that have without deep relationships? A wedding photo of a couple standing side by side with smiles frozen on their faces, doesn’t hold a candle to a picture of a couple looking deep into each other’s eyes with each holding the other’s face in their hands. Relationships are TRULY what it’s all about to us. And by “it” I mean EVERYTHING WE DO. We do it for love… for community… for deep friendships. That’s why we have a heart in our logo. Not because we’re cheesy and we work with weddings, but because no matter how hard we tried to create a logo with something more original than a heart, we couldn’t escape it. It’s what we are. We do it all for love and it moves us to speechlessness to think that our ideal community is actually, truly being formed around our art. That’s all we can ask for.