The Blog

Bob and Brad Sneak Peek

It would be nearly impossible for me to convey in this blog post just how much love Bob and Brad have.  Not just for each other, but their friends, families, acquaintances (and photographer).

Their stories are both unique and incredible, and finding each other was perfection.  

Love recognizes no barriers. It jumps hurdles, leaps fences, penetrates walls to arrive at its destination full of hope.
— Maya Angelou

Congratulations Bob and Brad.  I'm so glad love won!

Gillian and Kevin "Sneak Peek"

Wow!  That's all I can say about Gillian and Kevin's wedding at Wildwood Acres.  Simply magical.  A fun, smart, loving couple, a gorgeous venue, nearly EVERY guest on the dance floor, made for one of the most special weddings I've had the pleasure of photographing.  Thank you Gillian and Kevin for making me a small part of your big day.  Congratulations!  

Shooting as a guest . . .

My family and I were invited to a wedding as guests of the bride.  She has been a family friend for years now who we think the world of.  Naturally, I thought , I'll bring my camera, and I'll get some shots for the couple .  Now, I knew they had hired a photographer, and believe me, I would NEVER get in his/her way because I know what that is like.  If I had a dollar for every time some Aunt or Uncle stood up right in front of me  while I'm trying to get the pivotal shot , I'd be a rich man.  So I vowed, I will not leave my seat during the ceremony, I will not pull the bride and groom aside later for ME to take their photo, and I will not "compete" with the hired photographer.  As much as it pained me, I followed my own rules and got what I could while shooting from the hip. Congratulations Katie and Albert!

the home of the brave . . .

Today's the day.  It's been looming on my calendar for over a week now.  I'm scared beyond belief, but not for me. . for my little girl.

Today was the day I was going to have to take her to the Oral Surgeon to have TWO teeth extracted.   She didn't know.  My wife thought it was best we didn't stress her out the entire week like we were, and then , on the morning, let her know we were going there instead of school.  I thought this felt like I was blindsiding her, but if she felt half the anxiety we were feeling by knowing, then I think my wife made the right choice.

So as I was saying, today was the day.  She woke up her happy little self, and then my wife had to lay the news on her that we had to go to the dentist.  She cried and was visibly scared.  I think it's just instinctive that kids (and adults) are scared of the dentist.  

Well, I took her to the first appointment , to her dentist who she knows, for an examination to assess the problem.  Her teeth, for whatever reason (genetics, asthma medicine, candy) are in pretty bad shape.  On the other hand, my other daughter, who lives identically to the way her sister does (with the exception of the asthma medicine), has ZERO cavities.

Well, the exam went as expected. . . X-rays, and a quick look in her mouth by the Dr.   The dentist took off the little apron and told her that it was over.  WHEW. . nothing hurt, nothing was invasive.  

We walked out of the dentists office, a relieved and renewed daughter bouncing along next to me.  She thought that was it, it was easy.

Here comes the worst part.  We had another appointment at the Oral Surgeon in 30 minutes from now to have two horribly decayed teeth extracted from her head, and I was the one that got to lower the boom.

I tried my hardest to be positive and assure her that everything was going to be ok, but to be honest, I had no idea how this works.  I'm not quite sure if I was trying to convince her or myself more.

She was DEVASTATED even more than when she first heard the news earlier in the morning.  

Through her crying and nervousness, she powered through.  We made it there and she walked up the stairs and into the office where all she saw was a bunch of adults waiting to be worked on.  I assured her that kids go here and that's why we were here.  Meanwhile, I'm starting to look at my watch to see if my wife will be here soon so we can take turns "faking" it in front of our daughter.

My wife , who was dropping off our other daughter at school, and NOT a fan of practice of dentistry, arrived:

________________________

tor·ture  /ˈtôrCHər/   (aka dentistry)

Noun

The action or practice of inflicting severe pain on someone as a punishment or in order to force them to do or say something.

Verb

Inflict severe pain on.

________________________

Well, it was our turn.  The three of us went back to the first consultation room where we met the surgeon.  He couldn't have been nicer or more calm. . perfect for us (all of us).

He explained what he was going to do and we moved on to the next room.  Here , my daughter's vitals were taken, relaxing her, and getting ready to go in.

Once in the chair, we then had to leave and wait in the waiting room.  They said from start to finish it would probably be about 30 minutes.  My wife would be a good nba ref because she was calling out minutes every 5-6 of them.  After about 30 min, the assistant came out to tell us how proud we should be of our daughter who did fantastic.  

We brought her home to some smoothie and soup and a nap.

She's still sleeping in the other room right now while I write this.  My little girl continually amazes me in what she is able to push herself to do.  Her own motto is "never give up".  She continually pushes herself to do things when she otherwise can't.  From the littlest thing , all the way to teeth extraction.    I know there are children and adults that have MUCH more difficult and challenging things facing them, and I feel so lucky that MY ridiculous fears are just that. . . ridiculous.

I'm always inspired to see my brave one when I come home each night. . .

home of the brave

shooting friends . . .

Recently, I've done a lot of shoots for friends.  It's truly one of the most difficult things for me to do for several reasons.

1.  I want every single image to be better than the next.  I want each one to be that magical kind that you hope for once or twice a year, except I was EVERY one to be that way.

2.  I want the family feel like they are doing it because they like my work, and not feel "obligated" because I'm a friend.

3.  I want them to take away from the shoot images that are going to be special for years to come.

Well, I received this email after delivering images from my latest "friend" shoot.

I'm speechless. . .

______________________

wow.

these surpass even what i had imagined they would be, and i pride myself on my imagination.

#1 i know you spent too much time on these.  i just know it. 

#2 location, light, lens are *such* good choices, clemmy, but it's your artistic hand that makes these moments in time so special.

wow.  i can't tell you how happy i am to be a part of my family in (some amazing) photos.

you know how it is....0.2% of my family photos have me in them.  i only wish i could return the favor to you...

you've given me and my family a very special gift.   these are legacy photos, clemmy.

you remember that photo of your grandma, or mom, or any other loved one...on the wall in your place growing up,

on your grandma's shelf?   my kids are going to have a few of your photos in their minds forever(!)

a photo of yours is going to be the one they remember hanging on their wall growing up.

you might have heard it from every person you've taken pictures of, but that's only because it's true.

you might think i speak in hyperbole (i've been known too), but i believe what i'm saying.

i was a big fan, but now i'm a true believer.

i'm no longer on the sidelines, i'm there.

clemmy, i can't thank you enough for sharing, not only your time with us, but your gift.

terp (and the other terps)

by Michael Clemens

why I do what I do . . .

I love photography. . .

I love the art of it.

I love the creativity of it.

I love the technology behind it.

But what I realized the other day, and most important of all, I love the emotion and history that photographs provide. . . the heart of it.

I shot a couple several years ago on their wedding day. They are a wonderful couple who couldn't have been more complimentary of the images I gave to them.

A few days ago, the bride lost her Grandfather, who was possibly her favorite person in the world. She had a special relationship with him. It was evident when you looked at how they acted towards each other. . . unquestionable love.

I can relate to this myself because my grandmother and I had a special relationship as well. To this day, I can't describe it, but there was just something a little extra special. We just "got" each other. She passed away many years ago, but there is rarely a day that I don't have a thought about her.

Anyway, a few days ago, when this bride lost her most special Grandfather, she shared a post "Goodbye Zadie" on Facebook. It was a way to tell all she knew , just what he meant to her and the bond they had.

Accompanying her post, was one photo. . . one that I was able to capture on her wedding day.

The fact that of all images, it was one of mine that she sought out, solidified to me why I do what I do.

I'm so sorry for her loss, but I'm so thankful she has that image to remember him by.

We will always have our memories, but over time, they fade.  Images last forever.

 

bkisses
by Michael Clemens

Remembering Sammy

I was asked by some friends to take some photographs of their family dog because he was getting so old, they didn't know how long he would be around.  What I didn't know, is that they may actually be needing to put him to sleep.  Seeing this sweet old dog just tore my heart out.  We went outside to get some shots, and this poor ol guy stumbled and struggled just to get down one stair.  All of a sudden, a quick afternoon shoot for a friend became much more important.  This was going to be documenting a "family member" for possibly the last time.  I'm now possibly responsible for how he was to be remembered.  Pictures are said to be worth a thousand words, but after taking these, only one comes to mind. . . goodbye.

201207_07094837_seestheday_2012_07_07_Mansours_Sammy-X2.jpg

shooting a friend's wedding . . .

I have to say, there is nothing that stresses me out more than shooting a friend's wedding.With 'strangers', I am so concerned that I get them the best images possible , but with friends, it takes it to a new level. I have full confidence in myself as a photographer, but I have to live up to being a good friend as well. I couldn't have asked for a better setting for my friends Brad and Juwana. Stinson Beach, sunset. . . please! If I couldn't get something good, then I need to stop photography immediately. The wedding was small and intimate and really fantastic. The certainly focussed on what was important. . themselves. Just hit the 'send' button on the email with the instructions to view their images. . . will be nervous until I hear back.

by Michael Clemens