Return to Bessie's Barn (Lee & Bre) [VIDEO]

On June 28th I had the pleasure of returning to one of my favorite venues accompanied by a good friend and 3 cameras. Ta'mone Williams graduated from Wartburg College earlier this year and has had a knack for videography and photography for longer than I have actually known the guy. I elected for trying a second shooter in an attempt to have less tripod shots, twice the creativity and someone to converse with during the down time of the wedding day as well as the long drive. 

We arrived at Bessie's Barn located just outside of Centerville, Iowa and everything was like I had never left. The last time I was in the venue was in December for the wedding of Haylee and Niles. The only difference this time was the absence of snow which was placed with warm humid air. We arrived and quickly met the bride (Bre) and her mother! We quickly ran through a list of questions and then started our day which was immediately greeted by mimosas thanks to our new friends. Yes mimosas take the edge of excitement off and are always delightful when starting a long day, trust me this isn't my first rodeo.

The couple had painstakingly decorated everything just as such a beautiful venue deserved, they didn't cut corners and had addressed every detail. They even had cheese wheels and glass bottles of soda on hand at the snack bar. Sure they were twist off bottles but at this point my glass for mimosas were endless. 

The hair and make up artists controlled the brides room as each bridesmaid went through the ropes of getting prepped for the glorious day. Each wearing a kimono like piece as they waited for their turn. The groom (Lee) patiently waited in his room, as he dawned his suit for the day, suspenders accompanied by a bow tie that would entice any fashion maven. He opened gifts shedding the occasional smile as he placed the new watch on his wrist replacing his old one you could tell he knew that in a few short hours he would finally get to marry the woman of his dreams. 

Lee opening gifts before the first sighting

Lee opening gifts before the first sighting

Luckily Bre had not yet written her letter to Lee yet so we were able to orchestrate where we would like for her to do it, considering both the surroundings and ideal lighting we led her to the second floor of the barn and  Ta'mone elected to utilize a corner lit only by a single window at waist level. Bre sat down and we started to film her as she wrote the final letter as a single woman to the man of her dreams. It was absolutely silent as she moved the pen against the paper assembling the note for Lee. 

Bre writing her letter to Lee next to a window located on the second story of the barn

Bre writing her letter to Lee next to a window located on the second story of the barn

They bridesmaids vacated the room as the bride climbed into one of the most luxurious dresses I have witnessed. Add in the fact that it was accented with a veil that featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress and the overall value of the dress and overall day is elevated to another level. 

The veil being placed on the bride featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress

The veil being placed on the bride featured embroidery from her mother's wedding dress

The first sighting was magical and the groom managed to not shed a tear. The two held each other for a long hug before starting wedding formals. Before wedding formals could start they were temporarily interrupted by the DJ who interjected that his name was Mike. The two just saw each other for the first time and the guy had to choose the least opportune time to give an introduction. It was quite comical and the wedding party had quite the chuckle as they witnessed the event from the second story of the barn,

The day was magical as was the evening but the real reason anyone is here is so that they can watch the preview video so without anymore delay you may watch the preview of their magical day.




Oh you are a photographer? (Come get offended)

Just picking up the camera when the neighbor two houses down tells you that her gynecologist has a friend that she went to college with who slept with a guy who has a son in need of family pictures and will pay you $25 to take photos equates to you being a photographer. Well then Truck stop food is fine dining!

Art is subjective and that will forever be a truth set in stone that can't be argued. So you can spend hours in a classroom or a book but it's the progress and hands on experience that get you where you desire. 

It's not a facade it is a reality. I just skimmed over someone's Facebook profile and see suddenly their new job title is owner of a photography establishment? You can claim to be a photographer or videographer all day however I refuse to delve an ounce of respect towards you and your desired "profession" merely taking what should be a hobby and turning out crap material to paying people and claiming it's greatness. There are fundamentals and tiers beyond just making a facebook page and spamming the fuck out of everyone to suddenly get likes and claim that eqautes to being awesome! I'll applaud you for your slight sense of determination but I won't share much beyond a golf clap. 

It's not something you can just buy a DSLR or video camera and set up a facebook page and instantly change your job section to "Insert your name here photography"  it is a fucking ART! If you feel the entire diatribe you are about to read was aimed towards you then step back and evaluate shit! 

You can say "Isaac surely there are exceptions?" and my response is yes! A hyper local example is a young man who I am friends with on Facebook and he manages to crank out movies constantly and is crafting his trade, I am more than willing to go out of my way and give him some plugins and keyed up materials so he can progress further and do even more! This young man manages to express his passion even if he is shooting half the time in his parents house or using the same friends in all of his videos he goes from writing scripts and plotting to editing and producing. The kid has heart, so when he uses a simple HD camera you can pick up at Walmart it doesn't matter because I fucking enjoy watching his creations. Do I need to pat his back and tell him good job? Nope he knows the direction he is headed and he is truly talented he knows who he is. I didnt go out of my way to shake his hand at Gamestop two weeks ago for no reason. 

The next thing is people walking around and claiming to be a photographer or videographer yet don't even understand their own devices to the full potential let alone the specs they were equipped with out of the box. I'm sorry but when you just pick it up once a week I can't give you the fortune cookie you feel you deserve. Sure we all have busy lives but you should breathe and live what you claim is your profession. Do you go out of your way on a weekend to enjoy a coffee and fire up a star guide to calculate where the sun will break the horizon despite being 25 degrees out? Do you attend events and workshops with other eager people with a wealth of knowledge and opportunity to collaborate? If you answered no then you probably feel your shit is golden and nobody is better than you!

News Flash - That's not the proper mentality to approach any trade or service with. Find what suits you and make it yours, that doesn't mean someone else wont do it as well, it's about niche categories and what works. In no way am I here to squash your dream but maybe try and enter a few contests or build a portfolio before you go slanging photographer or videographer titles around. Break out of your element before you fill the mold that turns into nothing but an empty void. Cut business cards, build a network, shadow someone else do something fucking amazing. Spend hours on blogs and discover mentors whom despite never meeting have the ability to influence you visually and mentally. 

I'll be the first to admit you have to start somewhere but some individuals are approaching things so aggressively and for the wrong reasons. I can hear your name and just understand you're not in it for the passion and love. There is a huge line between taking a picture and being able to create a portrait which is something everyone must grasp. If it wasn't the case then I wouldn't be buying gear left and right and would just film weddings with my S4. However that will never be acceptable with the current technology. While it is relevant technology is a plagued with misconception, you can rock a film camera and have a blast with the hundreds of options of film and the color rendering that sometimes digital fails at but it's a multifaceted playing field. Just because you're a trust fund baby and receive a state of the art camera doesn't equate to walking around with the instant title of photographer. Have you even heard of the rule of thirds? Are you aware of the history in photography, do you go to the library just to research historic pieces, participate in high school and college classes, and just live and breathe the passion at every moment feasible?

Need a better perspective? I love food but can't cook beyond a grilled cheese or a box of hamburger helper but that doesn't mean tomorrow I will buy a nonstick pan and call myself a chef. This happens to applicable with so many occupations and fields, I can't change my oil so I pay someone who properly can, yes I immerse myself with car fiends and friends who live and breathe it but that's because it is what they love and all they breathe.Art will forever come in many forms and multiple mediums but don't come to the table and wear the badge that it's what you're about when you don't know the dials on your camera or the middle names of any individual in your black book of sexcapades. 

Don't walk to the table and devalue what myself and so many others live and breathe when you can't find your way out of the paper bag you arrived in. Hopefully this brief moment of truth finds the proper people and many others realize that this in no way was to tear anyone down. It just sucks beyond belief when someone tells me 

Jane Motherfucking Doe will shoot for X amount of dollars can you give a better offer?

No I will not stoop to that level, if you want to come over and edit your own wedding video and or photos and realize that it's painstaking then go for it but Jane Doe won't arrive at your wedding or event with half of the knowledge, ability to adjust and comprehend at even half the caliber that myself and so many others would arrive with. If I lose more clients so be it, I'm not going to tarnish my talent and ideals just so I can take a loss when I know the hours after the event takes. I'm writing this at 4 am because I just got done sending out photos to clients, filling in calendars and responding to inquiries. Let alone I have two shoots to finish editing and wedding videos to finish in time for the holidays.

Is this bragging? Fuck No it's merely displaying that it's a tedious process and walking out snapping 15 photos and calling it good won't suffice to someone who has previously worked with an individual or entity that knows what they are doing. Your ass will get burnt and you will be more torn down than if you had just been patient and completed the steps properly now you're stuck with bad relations and the word of mouth is the fastest way to clients and damage. Perform and act wisely because things are harder to build upon being torn down.

I will also throw in the mix that I don't do it for the money, and it seems that so many people feel it's a get rich quick scheme when in reality it's an expensive trade that isn't a hobby. Sure you can have Jane Doe do your event but will she roll up with versatility? I could sit here and mention 100 things that add up to being costly, then include travel and other expenses and you will see it's not entirely for the money. Personally it's capturing the moments others fail to grasp. It's meeting new people and forming relationships and watching people enjoy their special day, or help capture one day that will forever be memorable. Far too often people end up thinking if they invest in an entry level unit that they can turn a $600 investment into $60,000 a year. You deserve to be hit the face and realize investments and fundamentals. It's a business not a hobby, there are so many things that you have to understand and grasp before things start going your way. 

If I have managed to offend you then I'm sorry as I haven't even broke the surface. I honestly should make a video rant and outline everything that I want to discuss but I've spent an hour just pulling small things together. I think since I love animals I will become a veterinarian in the morning.  

I truly hope you walk away and feel that I am an absolute asshole or an insensitive prick because if you walked away feeling like that's reality then you misconstrued this entire blog entry. 

Be modest and reasonable, I dont give a shit what you charge or do but when you fuck up a couples wedding that is the turmoil you have to live with. So don't say multiple people didn't warm you because they thought it I just took the time to deliver the message. 

Have a wonderful day!

-Isaac

 

Note:I will be spending the next few days in Minneapolis so expect to see some new photographs and new scenery! Stay Warm!

 

Nomad Sculpture - Des Moines, Iowa

What do I do?

   Recently I've found myself having to tell more and more models and potential clients that I am unavailable. Until now very few people have been aware of what my actual occupation is. I would love to say that I travel the United States and photograph for high profile businesses and boutiques however those days remain in the distant future. So what do I do that requires me to travel some weeks in excess of 1,000 miles per week? 

    It started a year ago this week, I parked in a bank parking lot during the early morning hours on an extremely cold day and entered a vehicle driven by somebody who I had previously never met. It was the most sketched out thing I had ever done in my life but this individual was an employee for a company I knew nothing about yet was heavily intrigued by. So there I was with a complete stranger as I shadowed what it took to be a private investigator. Yes a P.I. not a police officer but someone who remains in the shadows and continuously utilizes the mask of anonymity to deliver the facts to the client. 

   So it's now a year later and the past 10 months have been absolutely amazing. I've had the opportunity to travel to a variety towns of under 200 people to large thriving cities that are filled with a working class that is beyond familiar with road rage and the last thing on their mind is where you are from as long as they get to where they are going.  

   I still live with my parents, at this point most of you will finally understand why that is reasonable. During the average month I am home maybe 7 days at most. So why pay or rent a place to call home when I would never be there? I'm currently picking away at my student loans and just enjoying this rare opportunity. One year ago after leaving radio I had no idea what I would do, but I was certain it wouldn't be radio. Managing two stations was truly eye opening and it was way more high strung than what I had encountered during my high school and college radio experiences.

   For the past ten months a majority of people were under the impression that I was an intern for various zoo keepers. When I checked into small towns on my Foursquare application several people started messaging me noting that there were no notable zoos within hundreds of miles.  When that fell through I led people to believe I was chasing my dreams as a comedian, to my surprise the announcement was well received and multiple people informed me that they looked forward to getting high and watching me on Comedy Central. Personally I feel I am hilarious without Marijuana but I can't be the decision maker for every individual. 

   So here I am finally doing something I love that is never the same, I wont delve into the specifics of my occupation but I am indeed a private investigator for a company that will go unnamed. I will continue to film and photograph at every opportunity, I've been slacking on video but I will turn over more amazing pieces as time allows. I am able to accommodate most requests if I am given enough notice to avoid conflicts with my employer. 

    So to answer your question no I have not fallen off the map, I've simply disappeared into working habitually so I can conquer student loans and continue building my arsenal of equipment to further embrace my side profession of photography and film. It became more than a hobby when I found myself bringing my personal equipment on trips and going out in the early morning and evening to capture the stories my eyes wanted to tell. 

   The past 50,000 miles have been life changing and I look forward to the next 50,000!

Where I have been