Recently, I was cleaning out the dreaded “room of stuff” in my house when I came across piles and piles of old portfolio pieces from school. It was a fascinating trip down memory lane. There were things I’d forgotten about; paintings, etchings, prints, and yes, even photographs. As I sifted through all of it I started getting sentimental and then, between two binders of old negatives, was an 11×14 print I had completely forgotten but instantly remembered. It was (now looking back) my very first wedding image!

I remembered the day well. I was on a photo walk with my friend, Brooke, in Buffalo, NY. We were on some kind of artsy mission; filling our weekend with tracking down all the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Buffalo and visiting the art museums. At one of the museums, there happened to be a wedding. I was struck by this happening because, well, no one really thinks about weddings in college, and two, I had no idea people would get married at art museums. So we stood and watched a bit as the photographer was bustling about, ordering the party around and I watched as the little girl wandered away (probably bored to tears) and started playing around the columns of the museum and I was inspired to take a shot. I thought there could be some great metaphor I could come up with in here about childhood or life or love that I could be critique session gold at my next class. I thanked myself for packing my Tamron 70- 300mm for my old Pentax K mount 35mm SLR and lined up for this shot.

After I developed the film (good old T-Max 400) I remember loving it at the time but ultimately nixing it because it didn’t fit with any of my other work. Finding it again was like unlocking a time capsule. It reminded me how maybe we can really have things right all along (even if we don’t notice at first)! At the time I took this, I would have never even fantasized that wedding photography was going to grow to be my full time career, but here I am, 13 years after taking this, with over 10 years in the business under my belt. Life is so amazing!

I challenge you to go back and sift through your early work. See what you find. Where did your first instincts take you? Where are you now? I can’t wait for you to find that image you forgot about but that you love! with what you find!