One Year

Justin and I, our wedding 5/25/08

Unbelievably, Justin and I celebrated our one-year wedding anniversary yesterday. Both our wedding,
and this past year, have been wonderful whirlwinds. And, they are only one part of our story.

Stories are at the heart of my work. Photography is, to me, a powerful tool in storytelling. It is not,
however, the only tool. The real stories of people's lives go beyond a single day or event. They are made
up of images, but also of words, both spoken and written. Our wedding photographs offer a glimpse into
our story. But there is also so much more.
I know I haven't written a ton on this blog. But I am going to today. I want to tell you our story.
Justin and I met in 1995; I was 19 years old. We overlapped for a single semester at a blustery East
Coast university and reveled in our shared loves of biking, photography, and the outdoors. We dated for
6 weeks; then, he graduated and moved to California to start his career. Eight months later, I transferred
to a university 10 minutes away from him, and we picked up our relationship. It was dizzyingly romantic
and tumultuous.
Over the next two years, we talked about marriage in a theoretical, dreamlike sort of way. But we
were young; marrying the first person one fell in love with seemed, if not impossible, unwise.
In 1998, when I was 22, we decided we needed to date other people. It wasn't long before we both
went our separate ways, ending up in different states. Over the next four years, we saw each
other just once. I kept my e-mails to once a year, on his birthday. I tried to grow up and move on. But
my memories of him, of our time together, stubbornly remained in my heart.
In 2002, I had a vivid dream that Justin had gotten engaged. In the dream, I visited him, and he
introduced me to his fiancee. I did my best to act happy for him, but after a few minutes, I burst into
tears. I woke up completely distraught.
The dream was so powerful that I spent the next day trying to track Justin down. I wrote him an
e-mail, hoping a casual tone would hide my sudden awful knowing that I'd lost something deeply
important to me.
To my surprise, Justin wrote back immediately. He was planning to be in the Bay Area the following
weekend, he wrote, and was wondering if we could meet up.
We did meet up that weekend, and spent a blissful day at the beach. We made dinner together. That
evening, he told me I was the only woman he could imagine spending the rest of his life with.
Of course, that's not the end of the story. In fact, the relationship had to make it through two separate
long distance stints, before Justin eventually proposed.
The point is, when I think of our marriage, I think of our beautiful wedding. But I think just as much,
if not more, about all the little moments along the way. This is why I ask all couples I work with if they
would like to record their story, to be shared at their wedding, and/or to have for the rest of time.
For me, those moments of exuberance, of dreaming, and even of loss and disappointment, are what
made our marriage. Those moments are what make me thankful every day to finally be able to say,
"I am Justin's wife."
Justin and I, 1995