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A New York Wedding!

Sep 4

In Fun, In The Field at 8:14am

Gene is a good guy, and a good shooter who works at Adorama. He was about to get married, last week, at City Hall in downtown Manhattan. He mentioned to his colleague, Annie, my wife, that he kinda, sorta, needed somebody to take some pictures. Annie made a call.

How could you not shoot a joyous few hours like this? Gene’s bride, Olivia, was radiant and beautiful. Gene himself was so over the top in love I coulda used his bald pate as a Group B kicker light. Sharing this day with them was a great way to start the year. (I don’t know about you guys, but I’ve never gotten off of school schedule. August is always dog days, a reprieve and recharge period. September means back at it.)

The day started early at an East Side hotel. Olivia donned her veil (very proud she had found it for $5) and pulled herself together while Gene clutched the marriage license and engaged in deep breathing exercises. Rings? Check! ID’s? Check! Metro card? Check!

And off we went to the subway.

If New York City were a human body, the subway system would be the veins. They nourish the city by ushering people on a mission to every nook and neighborhood. On a subway car, you hear everything from Swahili to French to German to Farsi to English—the unique, mixed jargon of the underground. Very international, which is to say, quite local, given the fact of New York.

Gene, from Ohio, and Olivia, from Zimbabwe, fit right in, and given their attire, and the fact they had a photog in tow, were warmly received on the six train to City Hall and the courts. As block after block zipped by overhead, the congratulations flowed, and good spirits filled the car. It was such a treat as a shooter. Instead of being greeted with the usual mix of subway suspicion and indifference, punctuated by the occasional growl of annoyance at a flash pop interrupting the morning look at Page Six, I was an honored guest. People suggested shots, and had no problem with me squeezing into a crevice on a bench to get an angle.

We flew to City Hall. And found some light along the way.

Once inside, I found myself in an effervescent swirl of happy humanity, all of them there to simply declare their love of someone. This wasn’t atheist, or Christian, or Jewish, or Buddhist. It didn’t have a color, or a preference. It wasn’t about where you were from. It was about where you were about to go with the person you had just declared your love for.

Now, it’s still a government bureaucracy. You have to stand in lines, take a number, report to windows, have documents checked, and pay a fee. But, given the mission of the folks on those lines, there was none of the irritated clock watching and tense conversations that often occur when the public faces off against an overworked bunch of folks behind a counter. Think of a deliriously happy version of the DMV.

At a civil service like this, with literally hundreds of people waiting to give each other their first married kiss, the ceremonies are short and sweet. You walk in single, and three or four minutes later, you’re married. You walk out to the cheers and clapping of total strangers, who bid you good luck, and then walk in to try their own in a whole new chapter of their lives.

I thank Gene and Olivia for the invite to their wedding day. And Annie, who made the call. She snapped this Iphone shot of Gene last week. I’m sure today, he’s back at his station at Adorama, doing his thing, which he does quite well.

Being part of their nuptials was a great way to start the fall, a breath of cool air to blow out the sogginess of a long summer in the big city. It was also a powerful antidote to our current, roiling season of discontent and politics, announced daily in tiresome headlines that fairly reek of nastiness, exclusion and blame mongering. It was a wonderful, emotional reminder that when you find your beloved, your life becomes automatically good.

For the technically minded, the pix were all shot on Nikon D4 cameras, with ISO ratings ranging from 200 to 1600. A little bit of hot shoe flash was mixed in here and there. On the bridge we used a shoot through umbrella, with two SB900 units firing through it, maxed out, given the harsh sunlight. A lot of frames were shot with available light, and I pretty much, for the backgrounds, just let New York be New York. Lenses were 24-70, 70-200 and a 35 f1.4. Post was super basic–a bit of burning and dodging and contrast. Couple got sharpened a touch. Couple others had some NIK lighten/darken center. Other than that, these are JPEGS out of the camera.  Gene and Olivia, with their expression of love set against the vibrant mess of NYC, are as real and durable as the concrete they walked that day.

May the road rise up to meet you both…..more tk….

72 Responses to “A New York Wedding!”

Olivia says:

on September 4, 2012 at 8:25 am

Joe, thank you for the amazing experience and for taking the time to make our wedding even more memorable. The pictures are awesome, not that I excepted any less. Hopefully we can all go to lunch soon. Many thanks and kind regards.

François says:

on September 4, 2012 at 8:31 am

Awesome Delatour kind of light in the Hotel room! Amazing!!! Should be in the next edition “the moment it clicks” Thank for your inspiration !

François

glenn usdin says:

on September 4, 2012 at 8:33 am

if this whole shooter/educator/world traveler thing doesn’t work out, there is room for you in the wedding photographers directory.

nice work, as always…

Jan Winther says:

on September 4, 2012 at 8:42 am

Simple and beautiful. Love it!!

Andor says:

on September 4, 2012 at 8:43 am

Awesome great story and nice shots again! – Congratulations for the happy couple!

John A. says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:02 am

Awesome wedding shots! I really like that even without your narrative, these photos easily tell the story of the day. You don’t always see that in ‘standard’ wedding photography.

Congrats to the happy couple!!

Tim Skipper says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:15 am

Awesome Joe. Thanks for posting this. I have one wedding to shoot this year in two weeks. I normally dread them if I book any at all, but this is a family member so off I go. I am glad I read this because it gives me a fresh look at how the day can go.

Zachary Long says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:23 am

Great job! You definitely turned “courthouse wedding” and all the preconceived notions of that into something fun and exciting!

Ian Hargraves says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:51 am

Having had a very bad experience with Adorama that was never resolved I viewed this article with suspicion . I now see that they do actually have some human, human beings! Good article, good photographs and a beautiful couple.
Well done Joe!

Ian Clements says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:56 am

Congratulations Gene & Olivia!
Best wishes for a long and happy life together!

What a great way to start the day. Thank you for posting that Joe.

Saša NadrKan Vereš says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

nice photos.simple and straight from the heart,like the ceremony itself.may luck be always on their side.

Jimmy says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:12 am

Beautiful story, thanks for posting this!

Donfer says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:16 am

the last one Photo is really rally beautiful !

andy says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

Awsome!! May I know how to shooting in Metro with flash to keep depth of field betweent the couple in front & back?
Also congrats the couple

Arie says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:19 am

This was simple, memorable, and beautiful!

Jonathan Thompson says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:20 am

Thanks for this post Joe. I’m now smiling from the inside out. A huge congratulations to Gene & Olivia, I wish them all the joy & happiness in the world…… Even though they don’t & probably never will know who I am, but their little story brought a bit of extra happiness to my office in unusually sunny England :)

Karen B says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:23 am

Great post…. I love you you love me let’s get married. Wonderful pictures accompanying a beautiful story. Thanks for all you share, Joe …and friends.

Zsolt Eöri Szabó says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:24 am

Simple, articulate, clear images. I love the style!

Barb Rice says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:30 am

I felt NYC in sync with this beautiful occasion, and seeing Gene be as giddy as a schoolboy was incredibly touching. Olivia is gorgeous and so full of life as well. Oh, to be a well-wisher on that subway ride! Luckies!

Congratulations to Gene and Olivia!

You continue to inspire me, Master of Lens and Light. Thanks so much for sharing. :-)

Robin Garber says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:32 am

Thanks so much for this posting Joe! Your photos are simple, meaningful and gorgeous and your words were heartfelt and full of emotion… I even had a tear or two as I read your narrative.
Congratulations to Olivia and Gene!

Libby says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:42 am

Congrats Olivia and Gene! I hope you have n=many fine years ahead.

Hmmm, so Joe McNally does Weddings! Awesome! Great shots and the one of Gene and Mom is just priceless.

Bradley Marshall says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:45 am

Congratulations to two obviously in love. They are very lucky to have you as a friend and their wedding photographer. That in itself is an amazing gift! Some more shots for your next “The moment it clicks”, which I am reading now. Great insight and tips. I recently attended your seminar in Miami and love your work. Looking forward to having you return!

Jay Goodrich says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:47 am

You definitely have a way with words Joe. you always bring back those wonderful memories of life. Congrats to Olivia and Gene. My friend Art Wolfe just shot my family portrait, so the feelings ring through on what you did for Gene and Olivia.

Germaine says:

on September 4, 2012 at 10:52 am

Beautiful photos and warm, fuzzy prose. Thanks.

Antony Scully says:

on September 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

Congratulations to Gene & Olivia!
Great friends, a wonderful couple and clearly fantastic subjects.
Wishing you guys the very best.
Excellent job on the photos and narrative Joe. A lovely story.

Bob says:

on September 4, 2012 at 11:11 am

Congratulations to the lucky bride & groom. Best wedding images I have seen in years…lovely to dispense with the folly of the event and capture what really matters

Htet says:

on September 4, 2012 at 11:57 am

Awesome as always. Fun and excited moments indeed. A friend of mine asked me to shoot his solmenization in December which is an hour event. That will be my first time shooting for someone else’s big day. But I’m already excited and nervous and have been thinking of how am I going to capture those moments. Pictures here are eye opener at least for me. Thanks for posting this Joe.

Denise Duhamel says:

on September 4, 2012 at 11:58 am

Joe, what an amazing story teller you are! Your images speak volumes in their simplicity, and the couple looks radiantly happy. Hats off to you for another job w
ell done!

joe says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:00 pm

I would totally remarry my wife again in NYC if it meant I could get this kind of McNally treatment! ;)

Thinking about it, the thing I love most about you is not only the amazing work… but the thoughtful write-ups! You tell such great stories in every medium, and I really look up to you for that. Thanks again!

Eduardo Suastegui says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

Neat PJ coverage. They should be ecstatic with these photos, as well as the rest you delivered.

MARIO NARANJO MOLINA says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:15 pm

Thanks Joe a lovely story, simple and so human. The pic on the Bridge fantastic…

Michael White says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:33 pm

Not what i would have expected from you. I see this weeding shoot as average. I though I would have seen something great from you. I have your other work and this seems plain for you.

kyla says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:44 pm

Simply beautiful! The photos . . . the story . . . An all around great way to start off the year!

Don says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:49 pm

Wife made a call…..I love it!

Pierre says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:51 pm

Shots with available light? As in, no flash? Joe, u really gonna meet me halfway, don’t ya? :)

Heidi Lundsgaard says:

on September 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm

Very personal, very dynamic and very much a live and….in love. I like the tone.

RJ Hidson says:

on September 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

You shoot weddings? Wow! I thought a guy like you would never touch that. But, in New York I could totally see it.

Vin says:

on September 4, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Thanks for sharing all this Joe. It was a great read

Mike Nelson Pedde says:

on September 4, 2012 at 2:53 pm

That’s a beautiful story…and a beautiful couple!!

Reminded me of this:
http://improveverywhere.com/2009/06/02/surprise-wedding-reception/

Neil Kemp says:

on September 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

What can’t you do Joe. Well done.

RV Sun says:

on September 4, 2012 at 3:04 pm

Joe, I really enjoyed viewing these beautiful wedding photos of Gene and Olivia. Not only are the photos great but the story that you told is awesome! I feel like I know this couple already. And thank you for including the gear and setting that you used. I am learning from you, Joe. And I look forward to reading more of your blogs with the awesome photos. Thanks–RV

jk says:

on September 4, 2012 at 3:09 pm

I just love the composition of your photography – Joe! To me is that still the most important thing, as I can see we all can learn a lot from that point of view.

Once again, very nice post!

Greetings from Zurich / Switzerland.

Jakob

Jim Hughes says:

on September 4, 2012 at 3:47 pm

I always love it when I see a new McNally blog post pop up because I know I’m going to get to read a great story (and probably see some fun shots as well). I know you have to make a living shooting, Joe, but I sure wish you’d write even more stories! Thanks for this one!

Joe Masucci says:

on September 4, 2012 at 3:51 pm

I wonder how many folks can say that Joe McNally was their wedding photographer? You are a true gentleman.

Patrick Mc Donnell says:

on September 4, 2012 at 4:01 pm

Best wishes to Gene & Olivia from Ireland – hope you both have a long and happy life together!

Thierry Dehove says:

on September 4, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Genius as always ;)

Joe M Sankey says:

on September 4, 2012 at 4:49 pm

You just made my day. Thank you.

Kathy Espina says:

on September 4, 2012 at 5:30 pm

Their love is so palpable and the photos convey it so eloquently. Thanks for sharing this Mr McNally. You’re not only an amazing photographer but a good read as well.

Gene Everett Szucs says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:04 pm

What a wonderful day, thanks for all the well wishes. We are still on cloud nine, it was hard to compartmentalize on one hand getting married, and the other witnessing a true run and gun photography clinic! My only complaint is that I don’t have a photo from the text when Annie confirmed Joe’s avail. My bride to be will confirm that I had a somewhat glazed look on my face for a good thirty four minutes.

I have had the opportunity to work with BOTH Annie and Joe, and I can’t find the words to describe the absolute passion and joy that both carry with themselves day in and day out.

Thanks for all the well wishes, we all know who you are, if you’re ever around 18th between fifth and sixth, drop in and say hi!

Simon says:

on September 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

Cool. Wish more weddings could be like this… real.

Congratulations Gene & Olivia!

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