Archive for April, 2010

Through the Lens :: Listening

April 28th, 2010  |  Posted in Through the Lens

As promised, today is the first installment of our new blog series, Through the Lens.  The series will explore Wendi’s approach to photography and how her background in photojournalism translates to weddings.

My first challenge to Wendi was to help me understand her perspective when she’s taking a photograph.  I asked her to pick an image and answer the question, “What did you see?” The image she chose and her response is below.

Florida wedding photography

Denise asked me a seemingly simple question, but there’s no easy answer. This is part one of what I imagine to be a very long answer.

I shoot photographs the way I see the world so everything I shoot seems just like what I see. Simple, right? Yes, except, we all see the world differently. Try walking around with one eye closed and vary between walking upright and crawling and you might get a glimpse of what I see. I attribute this to years of experience behind the camera, too many hours in a darkroom and the quirky brain God gave me.

I think it’s more about what I’m thinking than what I see. I approach every photograph as a story and one of the most important aspects of visual storytelling is listening. It’s the hardest skill to learn and the easiest to do.

I could have easily missed the photograph above had I not listened and learned about the bride. By listening I knew Kelly was very spiritual, that prayer played a big part in her life and the lives of her friends and that while getting ready for her wedding she wanted to be surrounded by her bridesmaids — all of whom were there because they truly loved Kelly and supported her in prayer and friendship.

I wanted to visually show this commitment to God, prayer and friendship and I knew the moment would organically present itself. So, I waited and waited and waited. I shot lots of getting ready photos and could have easily left the room satisfied that I had covered the events, but I wanted the “rest of the story” so I lingered for a bit more. As Kelly sat and her friends gathered around her I knew it was time.

I considered standing on a chair to get an overhead view, but decided I wanted a shot that was as intimate as the moment. I chose a wide angle lens and sat at Kelly’s feet while the bridesmaids gathered around. I love this photo because I feel it captures the emotion and feeling of the moment. My hope is that you, as the viewer, feel like you are reaching a virtual hand out in prayer along with Kelly and her friends.

Through the Lens :: An Introduction

April 27th, 2010  |  Posted in Through the Lens

As an adolescent I spent hours pouring over my grandparents old photo albums. There was one photograph in particular that I would return to time and time again — a snapshot of my grandmother, probably in her early 20s, sitting on a seawall in New Orleans with several friends. It was simply labeled, “Helen and gang in N.O.” That photograph told a story I had never before imagined — that of Helen Fendlason Bottolfs as a young woman enjoying a trip to New Orleans with her friends — and instantly she became a woman with a lifetime of stories and adventures, not just my Maw-Maw.

I haven’t seen that photo since I was 16 ( a very long time ago!), but I can tell you every detail of the image, where I was sitting when I first discovered it and how it made me feel. So when Wendi describes her photography as . . .storytelling. . .documenting real moments as they happen. . .capturing family history, I get it! But, as the non-photographer half of Thompson Poole I often wonder what it’s like to be behind the camera. What does she see through the lens?

I thought you might be interested too so I’m happy to introduce a new blog series, Through the Lens. The series will explore Wendi’s approach to photography and how her photojournalism career translates to weddings.

Tune back-in tomorrow as Wendi answers the question: What do you see when you look through the lens?”

Houston Portraits :: Golden Family

April 20th, 2010  |  Posted in portrait

I’ve been seeing this field of yellow flowers near my house and have been longing to use it as a backdrop.  So, so lovely.  I even dragged my dog Chewie out their and bribed him with treats to “model” for me — very entertaining!  When fellow photographer & friend, Jonathan Golden, asked me about doing some family photos I immediately knew we had to use the yellow field.   Jonathan and his family, including one month old baby Asher, were awesome.

Houston family portraits

Houston family portraits

Houston family portraits

Houston family portraits

Houston family portraits

In Memorial :: Ret. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles McDaniel

April 15th, 2010  |  Posted in personal

I write this post with a heavy heart, but I do it as an act of love and respect for the McDaniel family and in celebration of a life well-lived by a man I’m honored to have called friend, Ret. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Charles McDaniel.  Mr. McDaniel, as I know him, and 3 others were killed when their Pensacola-based Navy jet crashed earlier this week.

I grew-up in the small town of Pensacola, FL, home of the Pensacola Naval Air Station and the Blue Angels flight team.  In true small-town fashion I knew most everyone in town, attended a small church and my Sunday School classmates became friends for life.  Suzie McDaniel is one those special friends.  From growing up in the church together to now almost 30 years later we have the kind of friendship that time and distance can’t touch.   So, when my mom called with the news of Mr. McDaniel’s death my heart broke. Mr. McDaniel loved his daughters more than words can express and Suzie and her sisters loved him back just the same.

From hundreds of miles away I feel helpless, but I know the McDaniels can feel the power of my prayers. The memorial service is this Friday and because of wedding commitments I won’t be able to attend so this is my tribute to Mr. McDaniel and his family. The pictures here are from last summer when two of the McDaniel daughters, Caroline and Ali were married.  I attended their weddings as a guest, but I couldn’t help but bring my camera along and now I’m so glad I did.

Charlie McDaniel was an awesome dad of five wonderful women. I remember how great he was with his girls. He was a gem and just an awesome guy. He loved each girl so much and at the weddings I got an even clearer picture of that. Growing up I loved to go over to their house, walk in the side door and say hello to Mr. McD as he watched sports in the den. It was his man cave, a way to get away from the estrogen in the house. He would always come in for dinner, sit down at the table and say something in his quiet tone that would make me laugh.

I could always count on him to make me smile.

To the McDaniels: I am so sorry.  I love you always and I am sending you a hug through the internet from many miles away. My prayers will be with you today, Friday and for the months ahead.

San Antonio Magazine :: Le Midi

April 9th, 2010  |  Posted in published work

If you follow this blog you know that Wendi has a bit of a food obsession which we’ve channeled into our monthly Fun Food Friday feature. You can also find more food goodies here. My favorite is the little boy eating a piece of corn-on-the-cob that was taken as part of an assignment for Schlitterbahn. Wendi’s too modest to tell you, but I’m allowed to brag so I have no trouble telling you that most print ads, banners, billboards, etc. you’ve seen over the last few years for Schlitterbahn have featured Wendi’s work. (Sorry, Wendi, I just had to say it.) But, I digress from food. You can find some of Wendi’s latest food work in the April issue of San Antonio Magazine. I was too impatient to wait for the nice pdf files from the magazine so I asked Wendi to snap a few pics to share with you. Happy eating!