It’s almost impossible to pick our 10 best images from 2009. There were so many great images that could have made this list. Instead of trying to pick the best, I’ll try choosing images that are not only good pictures, but have a special story or special meaning behind them. I’m going to do this David Letterman style and start with Number 10.
10: Raining on Ryan
Ryan and I had been trying to get together for a portrait session for the longest time. When we finally found the time in our schedules, the weather didn’t want to cooperate. The day started out okay, but it started to rain as we were winding down. To make matters worse it was getting dark. It was so dark we almost got hit by a car…..twice! It was a really fun session and this shot was definitely worth fighting the rain and the traffic for.
9: Bonnie & Clyde?
We shot Maggie and Christopher’s engagement session out on the North Fork of Long Island. Little did we know, they were fugitives running from the law! Actually, I spotted these 2 officers in their squad cars and decided to use them as props for the shot. Luckily, they played along and we ended up with a really good image.
8: Becca Being Becca
Our daughter Becca is my favorite model and my own personal crash test dummy. Whenever I get a new toy, she’s the one I end up trying it out on. In this case it was a new lens. Of course, Becca is easily bored and can be a pretty reluctant model at times. This was one of those times. She might be reluctant, but she makes for some beautiful photos. Since she’s gone off to college, I haven’t purchased many toys. Not because of the tuition, but because I don’t have anybody around to test the new stuff out on.
7: Da Bronx
This shot is from Justine and Walter’s wedding. They were getting ready at different locations and I met Justine early that morning at the hair salon. She had the dress with her so I took the opportunity to shoot it while we were there. I couldn’t think of anything (besides the Yankees) that says “Bronx” more than a fire escape. I guess it’s something I remember from my time growing up there. I’m glad I came up with the idea because this turned out to be one of my favorite shots of the year.
6: The Groom Gets Ready
I pride myself in being a documentary style photographer. I like capturing things as they happen as opposed to try to make them happen. That being said, some of my favorite images are the ones that look like they were staged, but really weren’t. When I get a shot like that, I know I’ve done what I set out to do, which is capture the moment and paint it with my own artistic brush. This image is a perfect example of that. I was standing there as Kevin was putting the finishing touches on his tux. He had just finished tying his tie and was looking everything over. He had this look of satisfaction and that’s when I snapped the photo.
5: The Elopement
Okay, this photo was semi-staged. I set them up in these positions, but actually snapped this shot while they were waiting for me to get ready. The next shot was posed and turned out really good, but for some reason I like this one better. I think this image says a lot about their day. Justine and Walter put their wedding together in like 3 days. They wanted to do something really small, but once the families found out about it the numbers grew. To quote Justine: “We eloped with 40 people.” Her pose and the way she holds the flowers has the look of a bride who is somewhat aloof to the whole “big fat wedding” thing. I thought it was kind of cool and refreshing.
4: An Officer and a Gentleman
There’s not much to be said about this image. I think it pretty much speaks for itself. All I can do at this point is screw it up by talking too much. In some ways it reminds me of that old World War II photo with the sailor kissing the woman in Times Square. It’s just one of those moments that stands on its own.
3: A Day At the Beach
From Lauren and Russell’s engagement session done at the beach (duh!). Their session was almost completely unscripted. It was obvious that they were madly in love. It’s like the camera wasn’t even there. I just let them do what they wanted with very little interruption from me. The tall grass and cloudless blue sky gave this image just the touch of color that it needed.
2: The Anxious Bride
I’ll never forget this shot of Yolanda sitting alone in the limo right before the ceremony. It was a crazy day (as all weddings are). There was a miscommunication with the driver and things were running really late. She did all the planning herself and was obviously stressed. I remember saying something to her in an attempt to help her stay calm. She actually thanked me a few days later for helping her relax. It’s something I’ll always remember about that day and a reminder as to why I wanted to be a photographer in the first place…..it’s moments like this one that really make this the best job in the world.
1: The Loving Wife
They say that behind every good man is a strong woman….they just left out the fact that she’s standing behind him with a cattle prod! But seriously, 2009 could not have been the year it was without my wife and partner behind me…..and in many instances leading the the way. This photo is from our trip to Philadelphia where I had shot a wedding the day before. Here’s Silke sitting on the steps of the entrance to Independence Hall.