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Photographs as Proof

I shared an old black and white photo on Instagram earlier, and it’s been at the back of my mind all day since.

I first saw this photograph 2-3 years ago. My heart still breaks each time I see it. It’s by Duane Michals, taken back in 1974. Below it, he wrote: “This photograph is my proof. There was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It had happened. She did love me. Look, see for yourself!”

It’s almost ironic how such a sad photo can be so inspiring for us, especially since we’re wedding photographers, but perhaps that’s the funny thing about us and how we see the world. A bride once told me that she gets a deep sense of melancholy when she sees our photos, and I wanted to hug her. Because she got it. It’s hard to explain, but in a way, you cannot know the true exhilaration of happiness if you do not know sadness. And I like to think we touch on both. On not just how amazing and wonderful life is at this exact moment in time, but how irreparably incomplete the world would be without it. I think and I hope that it shows in our work what we always hope to feel with every wedding, that everything in the world is exactly as it should be today.

I’ve been writing letters to our son, at least once a month, even before he was born. In a recent letter, I told him, “I write and I take pictures because I’m afraid of forgetting. I’m afraid I’ll wake up one day not remembering any of this. It’s a baseless fear, but I do not want a life where I do not know this love. And if something should happen to me and I miss out on the rest of your life, I want you to have these memories and feelings to hold on to. Because they make up the best of mine.”

This has always been something we try to explore with our photography, both personal and professional. Photographs as proof. Photographs as proof of existence. Of love. Of the way things are at this very moment, because it will change. Always hopefully for the better, but even then, it will change. And that’s where the beauty of it all is. There will be many, many days more, but none of them will be just like this, none of them will feel this exact same way. I think it is this urgency, this necessity to document this, that lends to what we do. We don’t just want to take pretty pictures. We want the mood, the story, the feeling, the depth of it all. Photography is so personal and so intimate. It’s proof that I was here. That you were here. That I loved. That you loved. That we all loved like this.

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  • Eden Beth - nice, now I know why I really want to take pictures every now and then of my precious baby Cassie….

    i’ll start writing her letters as well.

    can I post a portion of your blog?

    thanks.February 26, 2014 – 1:05 pmReplyCancel

  • amanda - Hi, may I know what book this picture is taken from? Thanks!February 26, 2014 – 5:45 pmReplyCancel

  • Eduardo Yap Senior - Very nicePortrait!!! all I can Say.February 26, 2014 – 5:46 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Hi, Eden! Do you mean a quote? Sure! Just credit the source please. Thanks!

    Amanda, it’s from the National Geographic book, LOVE. :) February 26, 2014 – 6:57 pmReplyCancel

Kicking Off 2014

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Wedding season has been nothing short of wonderful for me and Jeff. I’ve been on an incredible high through most of it, really. We hit the ground running this year, and we’re both so psyched and looking forward to the rest of it.

I couldn’t let this month end without sharing a bit of what we’ve been up to lately. I’m missing this blog something fierce. Here’s enough love to fill your weekend cup to overflowing. We hope you enjoy these photos as much as we did taking them. ♥

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  • Jeff of Green and Purple Photos - you two are one of a kind! a little ironic but pretty much sums up how you two are! 2014 is starting of to be a blessing indeed!January 30, 2014 – 10:09 amReplyCancel

  • Jackie Reminajes - Hi Jeff and Lisa. I would like to inquire about your wedding photography packages. Our target date is on June 7, 2015. Thanks.March 24, 2014 – 7:51 amReplyCancel

  • Stacy Squires Photography Christchurch - a beautiful collectionMarch 26, 2014 – 4:09 amReplyCancel

Christian and Therese’s Hong Kong Engagement Shoot

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Christian is the man behind Create.ph and Therese, the woman behind Jason Magbanua‘s second team, For You Are Mine. Jeff and I have known these two online for a couple of years now, and we have always loved their work. I was actually going to ask them to model for the second Firestarter workshop, but they weren’t engaged yet then and I didn’t want to jump the gun, so I didn’t pursue it. About a week after the workshop, Christian proposed to Therese. Funny that. So when we announced our schedule of destination shoots last September and we got an email from Christian asking if we could shoot them while we were in Hong Kong, I literally whooped with joy.

I get both a huge thrill and tiny little panic attacks from shooting creatives, because these people come in with a particularly defined aesthetic already, and you never really know for sure if you’re on the same page until you’re in the thick of it. With Christian and Therese though, the trust was absolute. They told us from the start to pretty much shoot however we wanted. That kind of trust is an incredible gift for any artist. It wasn’t just trust that we would take great photographs of them, but the kind that let them open up and simply be themselves around us. The experience was honest and raw and pure. And it moved me. Part of what we do is falling in love with every single person we photograph, but sometimes, some people make us fall in love with photography all over again, too.

We always shoot from the heart, but it’s almost never without thought. With this shoot though, I just shut my brain off because it was getting in the way. And all I did was feel. We got to shoot with no other purpose but to show exactly how it felt. We got to see them and shoot them in a way that made my heart ache. I’ve spent the past two days editing for this blog post in between meetings, and I’ve burst into tears somewhere along the way. These two are beautiful together. And I’ve found that the very things that break your heart can be the exact same things that make it whole again.

So here’s to getting lost in a foreign land, wandering aimlessly, and falling in love over and over again.

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And the ghosts that we knew will flicker from view, and we’ll live a long life.

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  • Melissa - I was tired and grumpy this morning.. dragging myself to work, till I saw your lovely blog today,and sweet notes float in the air looking at this fabulous photos, you both always makes me fall in love , over and over.. :) November 6, 2013 – 2:42 amReplyCancel

  • Therese Yee - Hi Jeff & Lisa,

    We can’t thank you enough for this shoot! I’ve been blogging about weddings for the past year but it’s always different when it is about my own love. Everything is more sentimental. You guys have touched us forever. A piece of art that I can show to my family, my future kids, and friends on how it is about our own love. Maybe some people don’t know us, but hey, i’m sure the feeling of it is encountered.

    I’ve followed this website long ago. Introduced by my boss. I know you’ve seen it from our conversations how I’m such a fan. Even memorising the stories, name of couple, and every place. There is something you guys are so good at – Partaking love in another level. Your photos & words moved me the first time. I remember how I got myself having a tear in my eye with photos of strangers in love. It was practically the same thing how i landed on my job where the videos of my boss Jason Magbanua moved me to choose a path where I touch people’s lives through videos as an instrument. It was the same feeling.

    You guys shoot people with so much passion and we are very lucky to be one of them.

    We love you!

    Therese & ChristianNovember 6, 2013 – 2:31 pmReplyCancel

  • Lisa - @Melissa, happy to have cheered you up! :)

    @Therese, you are so very welcome! We had an unbelievably amazing time with you two. Thank you for the experience, and sharing your love with us. ♥ I always say (and I’ve just told this to someone else today, haha) that we have a small niche, but when kindred spirits find us, it’s always magic. We’re very lucky to work with such wonderful people. Thank you for getting it. ♥ We love you guys, too!!November 6, 2013 – 7:37 pmReplyCancel

  • Jeff | Green & Purple Photos - Awwwww Lisa, I had to scroll to the comments section after reading. If not I’d cry myself. I cannot help but feel relieved that there are photographer like you guys who shoot straight from the heart. For a budding photographer like myself, it’s like a validation that you are doing something right and that it doesn’t hurt to be honest & pure & raw. THANK YOU!!! All the way from Cebu… I wish I can meet you soon!!! When it is my time to become somebody for someone, you guys need to be there and that’s the bottom line. And yes, my heart aches while typing this comment and it’s the same ache that will make it whole again in a few. I cannot Thank You enough. Really enough!!!November 6, 2013 – 11:12 pmReplyCancel