on this Day

A Love Story

Ten years ago today I saw this beautiful face for the first time. I’ll never forget that moment. I was swaying on a tree swing, people nearby chatting, he was brought over to be introduced. “Elyse! This is my friend Brad.” “Hi Brad.” I said as my body swung forward and my long hair flew back. “Hi…” He responded breathlessly with wide wondrous eyes. I turned my face up into the night sky and smiled to myself. This will be something.

My flatmate and I were awkwardly attending a 21st birthday party ninety minutes away from where we lived and knew only the birthday boy. I’d met Birthday Boy a few weeks earlier at another 21st party and though we quickly became friends I couldn’t convince him that we didn’t have a future together. Little did I know that he introduced me as, “The girl I like so please stay away from her.” One moment too late.

Father of the Bride

One year ago today my little sister married her sweetheart. She was surprisingly calm that morning, patiently handling the three generations of women that had gathered to help prepare her for the wedding. Our grandmother was there putting together bouquets of white flowers. Our mother was in and out, running errands for coffee, bobby pins and nail polish remover. I was helping Grandma with the flowers and joined the three other bridesmaids in swanning around in between hair and make-up sessions. My husband cooked us all a brunch of pesto scrambled eggs. The photographer had been and gone and with still an hour to spare my sister decided she wanted her dress altered. The matriarch went to ‘put my face on’ as she calls it, our mother did the same and our Dad turned up to entertain us all while last minute changes were being made to the dress. I adore this image of my baby sister delighting in the playful humour of our father.

A wedding is a special occasion for any family. It is one of the few times when everyone comes together and, in spite of past spats, gives their full support to the one whose life will be changed forever that day. It is a rare occasion when warring factions declare peace, bossy older sisters are on their best behaviour and everyone pulls together. As a photographer there is no higher honour than to be involved in this intimate family affair from the nervous start of the day to its triumphant end. And it is always my goal to capture special family moments like this one. Anyone can make a gorgeous portrait of the wedding couple, or a fun photo of the bridal party, or a formal group shot. But, I believe, the whole point of hiring a wedding photographer is to immortalise the emotion of the day. Otherwise, we’d just get dressed up on another convenient day to spend a few hours with a photographer. Which is a great idea, but that’s not the point of it all, is it. You want a photographer to be there when your mother holds a tissue up to her eye, when your father kisses you on the forehead before he steps aside and your bridesmaids grin from ear to ear when your union is announced. These are the precious moments that a skilled photographer watches and waits for.

sunrise in pyjamas

Wandered down to the beach this morning before sunrise. Kicked off my shoes and rolled up the bottom of my cotton pyjama pants. The puffy clouds reflected in the glassy mirror of the dark freshwater river that lives in the sand dunes. The ocean was soft, gentle and made me catch my breath. I sat in the cold grainy sand, watched and waited. The clouds changed colour first, from grey to hot pink, then everything came to life. There was no one else on the beach. Just me and a big pink star that rose up out of a clear green ocean.

This image was a muscle-memory reaction to a fleeting moment. Out of the corner of my eye I saw this gorgeous wave glinting in the dawn light and