I’ve wanted to be a photographer since I was 12 years old, and while my path to weddings was unexpected, in retrospect it seems meant to be. I dreamed of telling epic stories that people would care about and look back on for generations after me. My love of photography brought me to NYU where I studied photojournalism, fashion photography and aesthetic philosophy, focusing on photography's ability to mold the way we see the world. I struggled in art school with dueling loves of art directing and storytelling. I love the grand romance and spectacle of Annie Leibovitz and Richard Avedon, but I also crave the honesty of Diane Arbus and Lewis Hine. I studied and worked in both fields in college and after, but always longed for one when I was shooting the other. It wasn’t until I attended a wedding for the first time as an adult that it dawned on me that weddings could be a perfect marriage of my two loves. During the same day I get to create wildly romantic portraits, style still life vignettes, and then become a fly on the wall recording some of the rawest and most vulnerable moments of our lives.
I don’t fall in any one particular aesthetic genre of wedding photography, I’m not a strict fine art photographer and I’m not a strict photojournalist. I will clean up your getting ready suite. I will move a flower to shoot it from the best angle. I will move you into the best light while you put on your wedding dress and scout the best location for your first look. I will NOT copy poses off a pinterest board. I will not take a photograph that feels inauthentic to the spirit of the day. I will not pose you in a way you feel uncomfortable or fake. I will find luminous light, a beautiful setting and art direct the scene while letting the magic unfold in front of my lens. I may tweak the way you are standing with the intention of always making you look your best, a bend of a leg here or an extension of an arm there, but always subtly without taking you out of the moment.
When I create an image, either candidly or posed, three questions run through my mind: how is the light, is the composition dynamic and is it flattering. The first two are important, but won’t matter much if you don’t like the way you look in your photo. A great image should have all three. Most people can identify an image they like, but will not know why they like it. It is my job to know. It is my job to create compositions with the same intention of a neoclassical painter that allow the eye to travel through the photo, while also finding the most flattering light with the same awareness of an impressionist painter. Because at the end of the day that’s all I’m doing, painting with light, which is the literal definition of photography (photo=light, graphy=drawing).
One of my favorite aesthetic philosophers, Roland Barthes, broke down his analysis of a photograph into two parts: the studium and the punctum. The studium is what a photograph denotes. It is subjective. Every photograph has one. The punctum, however, is personal. It is what the photograph connotes. It is what jumps out of the photo and wounds you, personally connecting you to the image. The punctum can coexist with the studium, but it changes it, it transforms an image you like into an image you love. My intention on your wedding day is to create images full of punctum- images that pierce you. Images that stay with you for the rest of your life. Images that turn into beloved heirlooms to be cherished by generations to come. To read more about the philosophy and thought process behind my photography read my instagram series #rypbehindtheframe.
My studies in school focused on how photographs not just mold the way we see the world but how they can actually change the world. My photographic heroes are Jacob Riis and Lewis Hine who brought an end to child labor in America and brought housing reform to the tenements of New York through their images. I will always have a love for documentary photography and I work with many non-profits both in Los Angeles and internationally. I am a member of UNICEF's Next Generation Board and have been in field with them in Rwanda and Mexico. I am a member of LACMA's Avant Garde and am a supporter of WWF and Best Friends Animal Sanctuary. My maltese-mutt rescue pup, Margo, is the official RYP mascot and loves to meet clients in my studio.
Below is a snippet of me in action, directing a bride and groom on a wedding day in France.