The Brothers Martens

Nothing flatters more, nor pressures more, than having one of best photographers there is asking you to take his  and his brother's photograph.  When Bradford asked me to photograph him and his brother Henry (who is a phenomenal wedding video producer) for some shots for their website I was elated but definitely felt my gut tighten.  All of it was perfect timing for me, because this year more than any other year as a photographer my sense of confidence is growing, that voice I have I am listening to more and less form outer voices.  When I say this, I am not talking about not learning nor thinking I have all the answers.  Only a fool believes that.  I invite criticism often and I crave it.  I need to be pushed and to learn.  All that is about what to do with that voice, how you take that and carve into meaningful images that convey your vision.  This task was exactly the challenge for me I needed and it has been a turning point for me in many ways.  It was even the beginning of my series I've been diving into using extensive black background as my tool for achieving what I see.  Take a gander at these below and then go take a look at my buddy Bradford and his brother, Hank's work.  Also check out their instas @bradfordmartens or @thebrothersmartens   SaveSave...

MARFA

When my buddy Bradford invited Hannah and I to join him and our friend Mo to trek out to Marfa I wasn't initially that thrilled. I heard everyone ooh and aah over Marfa for years and I just assumed they liked things I didn't.  The thing is, my mother is from Midland.  My early formative years, the ones where my memories feel like vaseline has been smeared over the lens, were spent there.  I have this thing where I pretty much crave water, rain, and trees insatiably.  Still, I was excited to experience something new and spend time with my friends. Looking back on that time now I am surprised by how refreshed being out in that far west Texas.  I hadn't been there in twenty years but it felt like home in many ways, and the open skies and crisp air gave my mind and soul room to breathe.  I often get this feeling living in Dallas where I can imagine all the feelings and thoughts of the some seven million people surrounding me are all crashing in the air and the sound can be lively and fun but also cacophonous and emotionally discombobulating. I am extremely pleased with the entire process and results of photographing this trip.  I hope you enjoy these photographs as much as I do.  You are welcome to come check out prints of Marfa for sale. Thank you and enjoy...

Karsen 1

For the past three weeks the black backdrop has been set up over and over again.  Moving our furniture in our house has become completely passe at this point.   We don't even think about it nor hesitate.  When your living room double as your studio you do what you have to do.  Everytime I do this shoot I end up tinkering with my edit of the shoot even though the lighting doesn't change all that much.  I am still working out what exactly it is that I am wanting to do.  Do I even want it to be narrow in definition?  I think I want it to be narrow, but perhaps not singular in definition and boundary for a season.  We shall see.  For this session with Karsen I used my favorite 3D Look Up Table to get the teal orange look I enjoy.  It's subtle, but I love the balance between the warmth and purity of her skin tone juxtaposing against the cool blue in the shadows and her hair. [caption id="attachment_51831" align="aligncenter" width="1638"] Karsen photographed by Nicholas Laning, the HYLNDR of Laning Photographer.[/caption] SaveSaveSaveSave...

Maisome: Part 1

Hannah and I went on a missions trip to photograph a group of Americans and Tanzanians joining together to share the hope found in Jesus Christ to the people of Maisome Island.  There's no electricity nor running water.  We had a generator than lit a single lightbulb strung in the middle of our tents so we could recharge our phones, which didn't work as a means of calling, but were reduced to cameras and walkmans.   [caption id="attachment_51765" align="aligncenter" width="2048"] Maisome Island, Tanzania[/caption] ...

RICHARD & KIM

When I returned to Northern Ireland to photograph my buddy, Richard's, wedding I was very concerned about the weather.  The Mourn Mountains, which usually adorned the horizon from Richard's family home in Rathfriland were hidden behind a thick haze in the air.  The wind seemingly never ceases to harass Eire, but of course, when I want to photograph a wedding, that's the moment the wind relents.  The haze stayed all week.  I prayed that God would give us clear skies the day of the wedding.  That night, as I lay my head down to rest, the breathless air whipped up into a howling gale.  I awoke and peered out my upstairs window out to the horizon to see the Mourns for the first time since my return to Northern Ireland.  My heart was so thankful to God for such a wonderful gift.  The day was amazing.  Photographing Richard and Kim in Tullymore Forest was the highlight for me, as it is a magical place. ...

Eric & Heather

The Promise.  That was the name of the song they danced to during their first dance as a married couple.  The Warwick Melrose Hotel's ballroom set a gilded, turn-of-the-20th century scene that something to behold.  A decade of wedding photography often means few things surprise me.  That's part of why we are exceptional at what we do.  We a re prepared and know what is coming and nothing is going to shake us.  We are ready.  Yet, in a good way, every now and then, I am surprised by an emotion during a wedding, and that is the case with Mowry wedding during their first dance.  At first I thought it was Johnny Cash singing but no.  Once the dance was over and the couple were taking a break I was so moved by the moment I had to ask who the singer was of the song.  Sturgill Simpson.  Go give it a listen and you'll be as surprised as I was.  It was a special moment to remember.   Nicholas L. Laning   ...

LOGAN & CARLY

Logan & Carly's elopement in Colorado.  All of our weddings are wonderful, but not every wedding has such a majestic and special backdrop.  I'll never forget watching Carly float slowly in her white dress across a mountain ridge out to a rocky point to wait for Logan.  Hannah and I have long wanted to photograph a wedding atop a mountain, and we finally got our chance, and it not only didn't disappoint, it only fanned the flame of our desire to do more. SaveSave SaveSave...

NATE & CAIT

Nate and Cait.  We loved them from the first day we sat down with them at a pub in Plano to discuss wedding photography.  I just sat there, marveling at the sparkle in their eyes when they looked at one another. They were fun, grounded, and laughed A LOT.  I still have a smile on my face as I remember it. We had an incredible time with them as we photographed their engagements as the sun set with the Dallas skyline in the background.  They laughed and danced and kissed. A LOT. At the very end, I asked them to say a prayer for their relationship. I had tears in my eyes as I snapped the photos of them, huddled together, holding hands, eyes closed as tears ran down their own cheeks. This is what I love about them.  They have fun and laugh and obviously enjoy each other's company, but they have a depth to their love and relationship that is so beautiful and moving to see. Fast foward to the wedding day.  We had chills as we walked up to the gorgeous chapel that was a perfect replica of a 16th-century chapel in Tuscany, and knew it was going to be an amazing day, full of emotion.  I went with Cait to photograph her getting ready, while Nick stayed with Nate and the groomsmen.  The joy that spread over Cait's face as those doors opened and she saw her groom waiting for her at the altar still brings a smile to my face and tears to my eyes.  Their wedding was beautiful and sacred.  We spent the rest of the night laughing, partying and dancing to celebrate the new journey these two began. Nate and Cait, may God bless and lead you and fill you with joy. SaveSave...

BASIL LANING

Basil died on Thanksgiving Day. When we found him, I knew he was dead before I even reached his body.  Son of a rancher.  I’ve seen lots of death.  His velvet puddle of a face lay cold and still in my hands.  All I could hear is Hannah wailing in sorrow, occasionally managing to push out his name between the heaves, “Basssssill.”  Despite whatever I thought I might think or feel when then day came, I thought and felt nothing at first, nothing but tearing inside myself.  No thoughts would come to me.  It was as if I didn’t move, didn’t accept the moment it wouldn’t be real.  After a couple minutes my mind lurched forward through the haze, and my first realization was that it was Thanksgiving Day.  My boy died on Thanksgiving Day.  That’s when the memory hit me… You see, it’s not the first time Basil has brushed up against death.  His stomach flipped years ago and was saved because I knew what to look for and we got him to the vet with but a couple minutes to spare.  So fast did it all happen that I helped put him up onto the operating table and stayed in there throughout the entire surgery as they released the trapped pressure then sewed his stomach to the abdomen wall so to prevent it from ever happening again.  Last year he came within an inch of death, again.  A virus ravaged his body, and for days he shook with fever and pain as the vets gave him IVs and meds to give him a chance at fighting it off.  At one point, in between trips to the vet, I just lied down next to him as he shook and trembled.  One of the greatest joys in my life over the last decade has been to come spoon my big mammoth son of a dog.  Every time I would do so I could feel endorphins and joy and happiness coursing through me.  Not this time.  He was my boy, and it ripped my guts out as my fingers tips fell in the ever deepening valleys between his ribs as his body wasted away.  The longer I lied there with him the more the darkness grew around me.  I was spiraling under a wave a horror, rage, and disgust at the thought of losing him.  Hannah, watching me with concern from our bed,...