Ok, so… this is a post that has been on my mind for sometime now. It is a meaningful story that needs to be told but I have never quite put it all together. After 17 years of wedding photography in Montana and 2 years of weddings in Los Angeles earlier in my career, the pieces have come together. Here goes.
Kate and Paul contacted me about their wedding at Chico Hot Springs in 2016. After some communications back and forth they hired me for their very intimate wedding. They had planned to come to Livingston so we could meet and shoot together before the wedding, but life got busier than usual and it never happened. So the first time we met in person was a couple hours before the wedding. I walked in to say hello and I was impressed by the joy and beauty of this woman. Kate is a professional counselor who helps so many people, full of compassion and understanding. Kate is a big bodied woman. I sensed a little shyness in our meeting but as always I try to take my clients out of their self conscious tendency of presenting something to the camera, and encourage them to be right there in that moment of preparing to marry, allowing me to capture reality. I went right to work and it was amazing. Later I met Paul. He towered over me and was equally as wonderful as his wife to be.
The day progressed and I shot away finding my emotions welling up in me as I listened and watched… shooting like crazy. As agreed in advance we would run up to a hill top to catch the sunset. It turned out to be one of the most splendid I have seen this year.
Fast forward a couple of weeks later, I presented highlight images to them via email. And our conversations began. This is where it gets interesting. I have asked Kate and Paul if could share some our letters with others. They agreed.
“I know you are a counselor, so I’ll be direct. I have noticed that rarely do I see images of plus sized figured brides in the advertising of wedding photography. I find this igorant, and I sense that larger people are being poorly served in this way.”
“I want to open the door in peoples minds that beautiful is beautiful, whether we are small, large, old, traditional, non-traditional, gay, trans or whatever sexual orientation people embrace. I have seen the growth in numbers of gay weddings over the last few years. Now, major wedding resources are pushing that forward in their imagery and advertising, which I think is just fine. So I want to put this issue of plus sized figured people ‘face forward’ to let future clients know they will be well accepted by me and I WILL make beautiful images for them that perhaps they would never have dreamed of.”
First, thank you so much for capturing our beautiful moments once again these photos blow me away! I am both honored and even a little shocked that you think (we are) and our images are as beautiful as I think they are. We think the highlights are just astonishing Paul and I couldn’t be more thrilled and can’t wait to see the rest!
I have to say knowing that I do not fit the stereotypical “beautiful bride” image gave me a lot of anxiety- especially with regard to even getting a professional photographer. It is not that I do not think I am beautiful or even that I worry my now husband/friends and family don’t think I am beautiful but there is this overarching fear or worry that because I am not stick thin somehow the rest of the world would not think I was a beautiful bride. Slight ego issue… Dangnabbit I wanted everyone to think I was a beautiful bride on that monumental day!!!
More than that I did have some trepidation that since we had not met before hand you would be disappointed to work with a bigger bride or that my images would leave me feeling saddened. It is hard to capture in words the battle that I and I imagine others go through when facing self-esteem issues related to size. We literally are battling our culture’s notion of beauty. I am a confident person but every once in a while negative thoughts and self-doubts creep up and our wedding was a huge hurdle regarding confidence for me. That is until I saw the images. Since seeing how amazingly you captured those special moments my internal voice has been silenced! I am proud to show my wedding photos to whomever because my size didn’t stop me from being gorgeous or stop Paul and I from having stunning images.
So, with all that said having you reach out in such a beautiful way was very touching. You are 100% correct that the world of “weddings” have not yet caught up with the idea that bigger does not mean less beautiful. I would be honored to be featured in your blog. Paul and I would love to be able to be showcased in such an inspiring way that beautiful is beautiful. You are an incredibly talented person and a beautiful soul any bride would be lucky to have you capture their moments.
One last thing, you are also correct I did not know you could capture on film what you did. I never dreamed it possible to look like that in those photos. Again, I am confident that I am attractive but it is just hard to imagine being beautiful in the “bridal sense” when you do not fit the stereotype, but man did you knock our photos out of the park!
Sincerely, Kate Brockman”
AND NOW THE IMAGES: