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April 27, 2012  -  Engagements

christina + chuck

One thing Buffalo has going for it is what I feel is an absolutely awesome social community. We're supposed to be the "City of Good Neighbors" (don't believe me? ASK GOOGLE - THEY KNOW STUFF) and I've found that people who choose to live here do seem to have a little more camaraderie than denizens of other cities do. Maybe it's suffering through winter together, or disappointing sports franchises, or maybe still it's the collectively shared chip we shoulder when someone wants to put our fair city down, but I think we do a good job here of being friendly and mostly human to one another.

Now we have facebook and twitter linked to our waking hours via our phones and desktops, and I can't imagine not knowing that I was going to hear from Christina a few times a day in my feed. I think even though most of us share merely prosaic parts of our day (super guilty of that, myself), we're still sharing it and that's what makes us neighbors and makes us friends and ultimately makes us really give a shit about one another.

I figure it's been at least four years we've known Christina after meeting her in the early days of twitter, and through all those things we share I think it's safe to say she knows us and our family pretty damned well, and we got to know about her relationship and all about Chuck through bits and pieces and conversations. 140 characters may make twitter seem like an awfully trite medium, but it grows on you and one day you get to share someone's relationship for a couple hours making some pretty cool and intimate frames in some places that are super special to them.
Not being all a-Twitter, this was my first time talking to Christina + Chuck, and they are just a spectacular couple. They are big animal lovers and foster dogs, but the one animal they have that is "theirs" is their cat, Mac, so he got to come for the shoot. He's maybe the coolest cat ever. He just hangs out and follows you around. Christina was telling us one time she was at a party and Chuck took him home. A few minutes later, she turns around, and there Mac is - he'd come back to the party to keep her company :) He's cool - and officially our first feline member of a portrait shoot!

They met at their church where Christina also works, so we hung out there for a bit of our shoot, and it's amazing - Chuck has this bank of architecture knowledge, and it was absolutely fascinating to hear him talk about the church and surrounding buildings.
I've been hearing about "Chuckipedia" for a long time, now. And in person, it's pretty amazing. I mean, Chuck loves Buffalo and that love has clearly manifested in an insatiable drive to learn about the city's architecture and physical heritage. First Presbyterian (we learned) is the oldest congregation in the city and though the building isn't as old as the group of people who have worshipped under its name since the early 1800s, it was pretty amazing to see inside and shoot on the roof, etc.

Thank you guys so much for having us over to place that means a great deal to you and your lives together. Connecting like that on a portrait shoot is really cool for us, and we appreciate it more than you guys could know. One of my favorite shots is the one right above this, second from the bottom on the right. Chuck had just said right there how Christina doesn't even know how her smile affects a room she's in. It's hard to convey how hard we work to get into a couple like that and how appreciative we are when a couple feels something right there in front of the camera. It's that spark and it's often really, really hard to let go and maybe forget the camera is there for a moment (which is a huge part of our job) - but when we can photograph a couple who can let go and just be together. Well, damn, it makes this stuff really work and it makes me unbelievably happy.

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