Around the WorldWedding Photography as Anthropology

When I was thirteen years old, my best friend and his family moved to Luxembourg. Smack dab in the heart of Europe. I love my friend and his family and, as a young adolescent, I wanted to create an experience that we could share together, despite being on opposite ends of the earth. So I started learning German. I started with Rosetta Stone–I didn’t learn much as a fourteen year old, but I never gave up on it, and started taking college classes in German when I turned 16. In that time, though, those two short years between the ages of 14-16, I took two trips out to Europe to visit my friend and to travel. My first trip was to Luxembourg. I went with some close family friends and everyday I had to pinch myself. It was as if I had been sucked into the pages of the most incredible book. We traveled throughout Luxembourg, into Trier (Germany), on to Paris, and through southern Belgium. It was a sensory overload, an emotional connection, and it felt a lot like coming home.

When I was sixteen I went to Germany on my own to volunteer with an organization for the 2006 World Cup in Germany. I practiced my German endlessly and I left that country feeling like I had found my place in the world. The next year I spent two weeks in the Mountains of Slovakia, and the year after that I spent three weeks on the shores of mainland Denmark. I had fallen in love with a world I barely knew.

When I was nineteen, I decided it was time to take a bigger life step and I chose to spend a semester overseas. I spent five months living in an old, soviet style dorm in Lithuania. If traveling around Europe as a teenager was a spark, Lithuania ignited a flame. I absorbed every fact I could about Lithuania, I gave myself up to Lithuanian grammar and etymology. As students, we took trips to Stockholm, Venice, Warsaw, Moscow, St. Petersburg, Riga, and Tallinn. I traveled whenever I could, but Lithuania was always my refuge. My home away from home. I left Lithuania with complete heartbreak. It had become the place where so many of my philosophies and world views were formed. After living there, I moved to Germany for three months to volunteer with an organization called Jugend für Christus, a German Christian organization that did outreaches and focused on intentional conversations about people’s core beliefs. I got my butt kicked by the German language and I spent the summer sleeping on a floor and eating canned foods. It was both glorious and strenuous.

I returned to the US to finish my studies and after I had graduated university, I decided it was time for me to move back overseas, perhaps permanently. I accepted a job offer at the university I had studied at in Lithuania–a small university in Klaipėda–became a legal resident and bought a one-way ticket. I had everything invested into this.

Not unlike any great story, my life was interrupted. Exactly nine weeks before I moved to Lithuania–I met a girl. She was an empathetic spitfire and a Colorado native. She is now my wife. We met, started dating, and went long-distance all within those nine weeks. I moved to Lithuania, she moved back to Colorado. This girl I had met, Hillary, was a kindhearted young woman and she is my hero. She grew up in Papua New Guinea, clear across the world from my own childhood, in one of the last frontiers of “Westernization.” A self-proclaimed “Jungle Girl” this girl inspired in me so much passion and joy, and such an empathy for people–people all over the world with stories and names and faces.

Living in Lithuania was an amazing time for me. My job was to help create an atmosphere of education and unity among a campus that represented 26 countries, numerous ages, and endless life experiences. All of which were worlds apart from my own. I loved my job. I was able to visit so many places that are landmarks of history and I was able to meet some of my students’ families and hear their stories firsthand about love, war, and the struggle for freedom. I have never been so humbled in my life.

“That’s one of the greatest reasons why I love weddings and wedding photography. Weddings are such an amazing and unique part of a culture. Nearly every culture around the world celebrates marriage in one form or another. That blows my mind. Throughout the world, woven into all of our languages, we all have something in common.”

I am a part of an interconnected world. A world where everyone’s story matters. Living in all these countries showed me the incredible importance of experiencing these cultures. Not just to witness them and to post photos to Instagram, but to understand them. And to participate in them.

I want to understand that.

I want to participate in that.

This is part of my story aside from photography, but it’s a very important part of my photography. I photograph weddings because I truly believe in marriage and think it is one of the most incredible adventures one can participate in. I photograph weddings around the world because I believe that these stories matter and that love is an integral part of our humanity. I think marriage is a big deal. Unlike many people in the world, I had the gift of choosing my spouse–and she also chose me–that is a gift and something worth celebrating.

When I say I travel for weddings–I don’t tack that on for bragging rights or so that I can travel the world on someone else’s dime. I say that because I truly believe in these stories and I want to document, experience, and understand these weddings. I want to go to the corners of the world and tell love stories because I think love is one of the things that unites us as humans.

That is why I travel. That is why I photograph weddings.

This is my bucket list. There are so many places around the world I would love to visit and experience and here are a few of the places I would love to go to witness firsthand. I will visit these places, regardless of whether there is a wedding there or not, but I would love to journey to these places with the chance to tell a story that matters.

The Bucket List
Japan
Alaska / The Aleutian Islands
New Zealand
Portugal
Hungary
Iran
Mongolia
Papua New Guinea
Chile
Kyrgyzstan
Indonesia
Saudi Arabia

Please don’t misunderstand me: just because there is an exotic list doesn’t mean that I don’t want to participate in your story. Whether your wedding is here in my home state of Colorado or across the world, I want to tell stories that matter. I want to document love stories of people who also think that marriage is a big deal.

If that’s you, regardless of whether your wedding is down the street or across the world, I would love to talk to you and hear about your wedding. You’re welcome in my home and I’ll have coffee brewing when you get here. I want to document and participate in your story.

You can reach me via my contact page. I’m excited to meet you.

Places I’ve  Photographed

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Places I've Shot Weddings

 

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