When Joe first started JPG in 2005, we were both living in southern Virginia, where I was going to graduate school at Old Dominion University, pursuing my MFA in creative writing with a focus on poetry. Soon after, we got married and Joe moved to Maryland for a newspaper job, so we were living in different states, focusing on our different passions.
I soon realized that the weekends, our only time to see each other, were filled with weddings. It was then that I decided to take my poetry and funnel it through the camera. It was a win-win for me, date night with Joe every weekend, an opportunity to reflect on our vows, and a dance party at the reception! Plus, I found that taking pictures really is similar to poetry: you decide what you want to see through the lens, you let light in, and you process.
I have a life outside of JPG as a full-time English professor at my alma mater, Eastern University, where I teach writing and literature. But when my schedule allows, I still shoot JPG events. As a photographer, I spend most weddings with Joe crawling into crazy spaces to capture those nuanced moments when love is nothing short of a poem.
Often, the resulting photos embody in color and light what one of my favorite poets, Pablo Neruda, describes in words as the moment when “there is no I or you / so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, / so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.”
I’m the emotional core of JPG, and you’ll often see me tearing up behind the camera during meaningful vows or a precious first dance. You might also see me catching Joe’s eye from across the room, remembering our love in the midst of yours. For me, photography is about the integrity of the moment, the memory of your day, and the poem of your lives that you create without even knowing it.