At the beginning of last year, when I first started my little business, a friend of mine from my day job approached me about photographing her wedding at the end of the year.  I’ll admit that I was absolutely floored.  It’s one thing to entrust a photographer with your family portraits, but to put your faith in them to capture your most special (and un-repeatable) of days is another thing entirely.  After a great deal of deliberating & soul-searching, I decided to trust Tammy’s faith in me, and I accepted.

Tammy & Chris had been together for 10 years, and were finally tying the knot on the 21st of December 2012, otherwise known as ‘THE END OF THE WORLD’ (according to the Mayans, who were thankfully incorrect!).  I already knew this wasn’t going to be your typical wedding.  I’ve been to a lot of weddings (both as a guest & as a photographer) and this was one of the most relaxed & fun weddings I’ve ever been to – to give you an idea of how atypical it was, the bride drove herself to the ceremony in her funky little blue car.  There was no pomp, no stuffiness, no pretence – just two people, very much in love and so, so happy.  It was a true family affair, with Tammy’s son & Chris’s daughter as the bridal party and a special tribute to Tammy’s late father during the ceremony.  There was spit roast, a bush band and lots & lots of bush dancing.  And my favourite part of the ceremony?  Tammy added some surprise vows in which she (out of love for her husband-to-be!) switched allegiance to the Hawthorn Football Club, and if you’re a Melbournite, you’ll know what a big deal that is – it’s akin to converting religions, and that’s no exaggeration.  It turned out to be a fairly shrewd move on Tammy’s part, as Hawthorn won the premiership yesterday.  Well played, Tammy!

Tammy didn’t stop smiling all day – she was absolutely radiant.  And … well, I discovered later that night that I had shot the entire wedding with a Dora bandaid on my elbow!

Tammy & Chris, I feel very, very honoured to have been able to share your special day with you.  It couldn’t have been more perfect.  From the bottom of my heart, thank you for trusting me with such an important day.  I had an absolute ball on the day, and I smiled SO much editing these, especially the reception photos.  Much love to you both. xo

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The venue for the ceremony, Cloudehill Gardens was absolutely a photographer’s dream – picturesque beyond belief!

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The smiles on the faces of this happy family conveys the mood of the day perfectly – pure joy. <3

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I mentioned earlier how radiant Tammy was, and that she didn’t stop smiling all day – and here’s the proof!

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To finish, two of my most favourite photos of the day – I’m especially partial to candid moments, and these are just filled with so much happiness.

Dancing

 



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Late last year, not long after reconnecting with some dear friends from a previous lifetime (you can read their story here), they asked me if I would shoot their wedding.  Now I had been second-shooter for quite a number of weddings, with Karen the Magnificent (more commonly known as Karen Pfeiffer Photography) but this would be my first as the principal (well, only!) photographer.  It was to be a very small, intimate ceremony and I felt that suited me perfectly.

Now Thorun and Terry are one of those couples that just belong together.  They are connected, so very connected.  When you are with them, you can almost physically feel the bond between them.  You can just tell that it’s like a Hollywood movie – they are the only people in the room, and the rest of the world just washes away.  They are, beyond a shadow of a doubt truly, madly, deeply in love.  Head over very sensible pregnancy heels.  They are, quite simply, beautiful. And in keeping with their very low-key style, their wedding was very intimate, held in the Brisbane Registry Office, followed by some photographs in the Brisbane Botanical Gardens – with a quick stop for ice-cream on the way.

Their day was filled with so much joy, and love, and it’s so very clear how much they are loved by their families.  Two very, very special people.

Thorun & Terry, thank you from the bottom of my heart for trusting me with capturing your day.  Thinking of you always, with much love. xo

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I can’t ever look at these images without grinning – the ‘Blue Steel’ on this lot is hilarious!

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Late last year, a dear friend of mine asked me to photograph him & his partner.  Actually, let me go back to the very beginning, and please do excuse me a little, as this is a bit of a personal post as well.

I first met Oddur back in 1990 (when we were both in high school) as we were both members of the Queensland Youth Orchestra.  There was a bunch of us (8 or 9) who spent time together outside of rehearsals, and it wasn’t long before we all became quite close.  We’d go to theme parks together, movies, and often have sleepovers at each other’s houses.  They were definitely some of the happiest times in my adolescence.  Because of this, I also got to know Oddur’s family well.  I am an only child, from a single-parent family, and Oddur’s family was about as far removed from mine as you could get – two parents, four kids.  Their house was so full of energy, and love, and it was such a beautiful, warm place to be.  I have such wonderful memories from there.  When I moved to Melbourne in 2003, I lost touch with Oddur, but (thanks to Facebook!) we got back in touch last year.  Unfortunately, when I got back in touch with Oddur, it was bittersweet.  His beautiful sister Thorun was expecting her first child (a son), but sadly his youngest brother, Jon, had tragically passed away the year before.  So when Oddur & I were trying to tee up a suitable time for their session, and he mentioned that they were having a family reunion, I suggested that I could take some family photos as well.

So one beautiful, sunny October afternoon, I drove down to Tamborine.  The location was perfect and the weather was incredible.  I couldn’t have asked for anything better.  I met Thorun’s fiancé, Terry, and was immediately struck by their amazing bond.  So very much in love, and so excited about their pregnancy.  They just absolutely radiated joy, and I had no doubt that their son was already & would always be loved beyond belief.  Thorun & Terry asked me to shoot their wedding the following month, and my little family also ended up spending an impromptu New Year’s Eve down at their farm.  I felt so privileged to be a part of their journey, and to see Thorun’s beautiful bump developing.  Thorun’s parents were thrilled that they were becoming grandparents.

This next paragraph is probably the most difficult one I’ve ever had to write, and I am writing this with Thorun’s blessing.  At just past 35 weeks, Thorun & Terry received the devastating news that their son had passed away in utero.  With some of the most incredible bravery & strength I’ve ever known, on the 18th of January Thorun gave birth to their precious son, Kolton Axel Jon.  Perfectly beautiful, and so very, very loved.

I felt very grateful to have heard of Heartfelt, a not-for-profit organisation in Australia that provides photographic memories to families that have experienced stillbirths, premature births, or have children with serious or terminal illnesses.  It was not knowledge that I had ever wanted to pass on, but the service they provide is so vital to grieving families.  Thorun & Terry’s time with their son Kolton was so excruciatingly brief.  No parent should ever, ever have to experience losing their child.

To see a family that I adore go through two tragedies in such a short space of time is gut-wrenching.  To lose a son & brother, and then a son, grandson & nephew is unimaginable.  It’s an all too brutal reminder of just how precious life is.  Tell your loved ones how much they mean to you.  Show them.  If you know anyone who has lost a child, ask them if they would like to talk about their child, because they are proud parents.  Loving parents.  They will be forever changed, but their child will be with them always.  Please don’t forget them.

Each life, no matter how brief, forever changes the world. | Anonymous

So, again with Thorun’s blessing, I am sharing some of the photos of the session.  I feel very privileged & moved to have been able to capture these memories for them, and to be able to share them with you to celebrate their beautiful son, Kolton.

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 Thorun & Terry, my thoughts are with you always. xo



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  • Thorun Ledger says:




 

We caught up with two lots of friends today, firstly a little friend who is close to Charlotte’s age, and then with baby Jasmine, who has just turned one.

I think it’s safe to say that both Charlotte & Jasmine were smitten with each other.



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A beautiful day for a trip to the park, and one last catch up with our Mothers Group for the year.   Charlotte had been looking forward to this most of all.  She absolutely adores her little friends from our Mothers Group, and none more so than her beloved Harvey.  They are like chalk & cheese, but are as thick as thieves, and CJ will tell anyone & everyone she meets that Harvey is her “very best friend”.

I love watching them together.  They’re rarely far apart from each other at any kind of gathering, and are just so comfortable together.  I am so sad to separate them (I’m so sad that she has to leave all of her friends), but I hope that through Skype and yearly visits home that their friendship will survive the distance.



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Farewell Sydney, and hello Melbourne!

Today, Charlotte and I headed to Melbourne for the week – both for some work for me, and to say goodbye to our Melbourne friends.  After a week in a hotel room, it was lovely to go and stay with a friend for a little touch of home.  Not long after we arrived, I was treated with homemade pumpkin soup and Charlotte with baked beans – in a very “high tea” style.  Baked beans never looked so good!



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Today, on our last day in Sydney before heading to Melbourne, the three of us headed back to Manly for the afternoon for some beach fun before meeting up with some friends.  Also, to just soak up as much “Australiana” as we can before we head overseas.

Charlotte was thrilled.  She loves the beach – jumping over the waves, running away from them, digging in the sand.  Matthew left us both at the beach and headed off to grab some fish & chips, and then Charlotte decided to run off to have a bit of a splash in the shallows.

Unfortunately, a few minutes after this was taken, our poor girl was stung by something.  We think sea lice, as they stung me after touching her, and then her Dad as well.

I have never heard her screaming in pain like that before.  It was heart-wrenching.  And ear-splitting.  I found myself wishing for a few more arms as I vainly attempted to collect the belongings of three people, all while trying to hold & console a distraught three year old, screaming about how much it hurt.  Despite the beach being absolutely packed, help was nowhere to be found.

We had originally cancelled our plans to catch up with our friends as our poor girl was so distressed, but we ended up popping into his shop (also in Manly) to administer some first aid.  Thankfully some warm water, some “special cream” (cream and bandaids fix all ails in this household!) and some apple juice and our little love was all fixed.

 



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Our girl is equal parts her daredevil father & her far more sensible mother.  While we were out shopping today, she asked her father for a skateboard, and the voice of reason (that would be me) being nowhere to be found, he (of course) agreed.

She couldn’t wait to get back to the hotel to ride her skateboard.  Gung ho doesn’t even begin to cover it!  However it wasn’t too long before my more cautious genes kicked in and she realised that standing on the skateboard was way too scary – sitting on it was a much better idea!

 



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There’s very little that my little Peppa Pig enjoys more than jumping in muddy puddles.  Or any kind of puddle, for that matter.  When we moved up to very dry Brisbane from very wet Melbourne in July, one of the first things she bemoaned was “Mummy, there are no muddy puddles!”.

She has now learned that if there are no puddles, then she just needs to make her own!  Along with her little partner in crime for the morning, Juliette, Charlotte made some enormous puddles at the park, and soon enough they were both running around in them giggling hysterically and jumping up and down.

Because, as you know … “everyone loves jumping up and down in muddy puddles!”.



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Firstly, please do excuse the quality of today’s photo – it was taken in our very dimly lit hotel room.

Our girl is an animal lover.  All shapes & sizes.  It’s extremely rare that she walks past a dog or a cat without squatting down and giving it a pat.  She delights in looking out the window in the car & spotting farm animals on long drives.  So far this week she has encountered dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens, a giant stick insect and a snake and has been thrilled to see each & every one of them.

However, she has recently advised me that horseys are her “favourite animal in the whole world“.  She has been telling me about how she’s ridden a horse, and is asking to ride one again.  God help me.

I really hope that the plastic variety will satisfy her.  Doubtful.



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All images and content are copyright to Jody Bell 2011.