The Grand (Central) Kiss

February 9, 2011

It was back on June 29th, 2008, a particularly hot and humid summer day in New York City. It was after a short weekend shadowing Ryan Brenizer at a wedding – a sort of mentoring session where I picked his brain and watched him shoot. To know that today, people pay to be at his workshops, I realize how lucky I was to learn from him personally long before. But I digress.

While waiting for a friend at Grand Central Station, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed a couple standing out in the midst of the busy station. They were holding each other. Saying words so lovely that typing them would be a disgrace. Longing to be right there, where they were now, in the moment.

It was clear that one of them was leaving on a trip, but I couldn’t tell which, and both looked equally distressed at the thought of time without one another. I knew a last kiss was coming. Even from quite some distance away, its approach was heavy in the air.

I pulled my camera from my bag as quickly as possible, not realizing what I was doing. Steady. Glance. Click. It was instinct, not any sort of plan, that resulted in one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken.

I’d love to know who this couple are, and I’ve since tried using Twitter and Facebook to find them, but to no avail. I am not giving up though. I truly believe with everyone’s help, I can find them. So please help me. Tweet about it, Facebook post it, anything you can do to help.

The photo might mean nothing to them compared to the memory they share, but they should know how much it means to me.

For a larger version, click here.  I also found a photo of this couple that I took right before the kiss where you can somewhat see the guy’s face.

Hannah and Trent – Tulsa, OK

November 24, 2010

When Hannah asked me if I would have time to shoot her engagement session during my (extremely) short stay in Tulsa a few weeks ago, I did not hesitate to say yes.

Let’s see, Hannah and I go way back – her oldest brother, Matt, was my roommate, one of my best friends, and the best man at my wedding (as I was the best man at his wedding).  His beautiful and generous family pretty much “adopted” me; I spent most of Spring break, Fall break, Thanksgiving and/or Christmas with them during my college years and more.  Hannah, to say the least, is a sister to me – there was no way I would’ve said no to her request.

The session went as expected and more – the weather was beautiful and the set was gorgeous.  Hopefully these photos will do them justice.

Hannah and Trent, congratulations on your upcoming wedding.

Happy Thanksgiving all!

Early this year when we visited my family in Indonesia, we took a few days off to visit Bali.  We’ve heard good things about it, people told us that it’s so worth visiting, and although I am an Indonesian, I have never been to Bali ever.  So we went and we were pleasantly surprised at how beautiful it was.  The people were friendly, the food amazing, the beach and the sunset … oh my goodness, I can’t even begin to describe.

On the second day we were there, we got the chance to visit the Monkey Forest in Ubud, Bali.  It was quite an experience – a huge protected forest with so many monkeys!  People had told us crazy stories about how the monkeys have attacked people before, so we were being pretty cautious navigating through the area.  We had walked for about 20 minutes when we saw little baby monkeys climbing up trees, running around chasing each other, and just being little baby monkeys – 10-day old baby monkeys to be precise.  Their parents hung around close to keep an eye on them.  I had my camera out and started taking pictures then I saw something that meant so much to me – a little baby monkey and its parent.  I quickly took a shot and caught this precious moment before the baby monkey ran away.

The shot above meant a lot to me because, if you didn’t know, Lindsay and I are expecting our first child in a few weeks.  In fact, she was about 8 or 10 weeks pregnant when we were in Indonesia.  The way the big monkey just sits there looking up, while the baby monkey is holding tight to it … it’s just so powerful to me.  I told Lindsay that I want a big print of that shot in our daughter’s bedroom to let her know that I thought of her when I took this photo.

Our friends have told us what it’s like being parents: the lack of sleep and the stress, the dirty laundry and the messy house, the list goes on.  I also have great parents whom I look up to and will be learning a lot from.  But I believe that no examples or stories can prepare anyone for being parents.  To think that in a few weeks I will have this sweet little baby girl to take care of and love on makes me feel so overwhelmingly joyful and blessed and I can’t imagine how much more I’ll feel when she is actually here.

I don’t know how to raise a child; not yet at least.  But what I do know is that Lindsay and I will raise her the best we can, that we will take care of her no matter what, that when we drop her off at kindergarten, when we send her off to college, when she has her first heartbreak or when I walk her down the aisle, she will have no doubt that she’s been loved and loved well.

Aven Clara, you are wanted and your Mama and Papa love you so much (even before you were born).