Choose to Love

This is going to be a little weird, posting this with a bunch of nice wedding photos from a rather magical wedding, but I have an announcement:

I am no longer accepting weddings for the foreseeable future. I will focus entirely on families for the time being.

EDIT: As of July 12, 2014, I am returning to weddings in a limited fashion! 🙂 Click here for details.

I’ve had countless great experiences at weddings, met a lot of wonderful people and have witnessed some beautiful moments. I’m grateful for all of it; for both clients and new friends. But a thought has been growing in my head. A dream that I’ve had since I was about 12 years old. It has bubbled into the forefront of my brain and won’t let go: I want to travel the world and take photographs. I want to work with non-profits. I want to contribute. I want to see the sunrise in India, I want to capture village life in Papua New Guinea, and I want to use my talents to help tell the stories of those who are too impoverished to tell it themselves. I want to do this. I have to do this while the choice is still readily available to me. In order to do this, I have to let something go. I can’t do families, weddings and photojournalistic work at the same time, at least not to the level that I feel is needed. The wedding photography business is stressful, brutally time-consuming and can make you feel like you’re a car salesman. I love the heart of a wedding — the bride & groom, the love, the families — but everything else that goes around it has been difficult to manage when I can’t stop thinking about travelling around the world as a career! I will absolutely rock the weddings I am already booked for though, worry not! Now that I know I won’t be taking on any more, I can relax and focus my efforts on the last few that I will do, without worrying about booking more to keep the “wedding train” running. Quite a liberating feeling! And so I’ll enjoy these last bits of wedding magic, grateful for the clients who have trusted me to be their photographer, and thankful in the knowledge that every single wedding I’ve ever done has taught me something about photography, life and love. And now, here’s the wedding of Chris & Brooke, these two soulmates I showcased before! 🙂 (Note: Special thanks to the awesome Joycelyn Cabal for 2nd shooting on this one!)     Speaking of “magic” and “soulmates” — Finding your soulmate is a bit like watching a David Copperfield TV special: you know it’s cheesy and you know a lot of people think it’s silly — heck, you might think it’s silly yourself — because there’s a feeling that this sort of thing isn’t totally real, and that it might be too awesome to be true, but you also can’t help but be a astounded at just how perfect it is, or at just how smoothly David Copperfield can make you believe that magic is real. Although I’ve personally found his showy confidence while cutting a woman in half to be both amusing and a little disconcerting. Anyway… Questions beg. Do soulmates exist? What is love? How do we explain the deep connection two people can feel toward each other? What is my fate? Weddings? I pondered these questions endlessly. And then, five months ago, I found my own soulmate… my Syreeta. She’s the one I’ve been wanting to find for a very long time. The one, the end, the all, everything and more. My “other half”; a phrase you can only begin to comprehend until you’ve found yours. Because there is no way I would’ve given up on wedding photography and given in to my dream if I hadn’t met her. She has given me the strength and belief to do that. She has taken the foundations I’ve built for myself and planted walls on them — painted in the color of the clouds, because that’s where her and I live. Finding her has forced me to reconcile the meaning of things. The answers to those begging questions. One’s expectations of love and life are often very different from the truth of what love really is, and to me the truth of love is not “LOVE” itself, but the difference between what it is and what it isn’t. Love, and happiness and life, truly are all of those cheesy things you read about. It is magical. It is destiny. It is meant to be. But it also isn’t. Love isn’t simply something that just happens. Life and happiness won’t simply arrive at your door. Nor are these beyond our control. They’re definitely not as big a mystery as I once thought they were! A life of happiness and love is a choice, and the choice began within myself. I chose to become open to love. I chose to love myself, to live as myself and accept the fact that I am worthy of another’s love. Syreeta and I are “meant to be” because both of us meant it to be, by making a choice long before we met to let go of our old troubles and to love by deeply accepting ourselves. We both went through a rough time, followed by a period of incredible self-awareness and self-acceptance. We separately decided on a whim that we wanted to go to India to discover ourselves and have an adventure. And then we met, and all of these commonalities came together so perfectly that you’d think it might be a trick by Mr. Copperfield himself. It has been amazing. I am thankful for this blessed life I have. The closing of one door is the opening of another, and I can’t wait to walk through it with my love. Life is pure magic. A magic that I had always believed in, deep down, no matter how cheesy it was starting to sound; no matter how wrapped up in day-to-day things I got. But I chose to believe in it. And when the time came, I chose to love.     I quit! 🙂 – Jim

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