If you know me, then you know I believe in the divine. On some level, I believe the Universe connects us to that which we need at the moment we need it. Our lives are roadmaps and it’s kind of laid out for us with twists and turns but the decisions we make, the opportunities we jump at, the experiences we have help shape that road map as it unfolds. Some things, maybe most, are meant to be, for some reason or another. Maybe that’s a white privileged, western hippie kind of way of thinking…..but nonetheless, present day it describes my mind and my heart. The moments where you feel this divine connection in your life are the moments that make you stop breathing for a second; the ones where you’re overcome with emotion and there’s nothing you can do but blink away tears; the ones where you don’t stop thinking about it, and you can feel the memory in your chest, like it’s planting itself there on your heart……
On a beautiful day in Wayzata MN, I happened to have the opportunity to shoot alongside Trish Allison Burtzel, a fine art wedding and motherhood photographer based in Minneapolis. I showed up in Wayzata MN at Hotel Landing, a boutique hotel right near Lake Minnetonka, and knew pretty much nothing about the bride/groom.
A few minutes into the ceremony I realized I went to high school with the groom. We graduated together from a high school in central Wisconsin, so the chances we’d both be in Wayzata MN today were….slim? And then later in the day, as we were preparing for the dinner at 6Smith, an artisan inspired meat and seafood restaurant, I started connecting with parents of the groom and other guests who upon hearing my name, opened their arms wide and told me that they HAD to hug Dan Kummer’s daughter.
My late father has been gone 3 years (at the end of this month) after a 22 month battle with a glioblastoma. In the community I grew up in, before he was a videographer he was a physician’s assistant and it was in both of those jobs that he met and worked with so many people. It’s one of those things where you don’t realize the legacy someone leaves behind, the imprint they had on people, until they are gone and you start hearing them talk about it openly…..that’s what happened with my father. I always knew he was a good man, but whenever I meet someone who knew him and they realize I am his daughter, it’s like they feel compelled to tell me how much they loved him and how special of a man he was.
I shed a few tears at this wedding after hugging the family members and close friends of this groom. On the way home I cried. I just knew, in my chest, that the Universe had brought me together with Trish and this particular wedding (of all the 39 weddings Trish photographed in 2018, this one brought an opportunity for me). I needed to meet people that loved my father and for a night, I needed to feel a sense of belonging amongst those from my old community. It’s funny how life works like that……
A few weeks after the wedding I posted a black and white photo of Sam and her father hugging (you can see it below). My caption read “I don’t have the luxury of embracing my daddy like this anymore…..” and some other meaningful yet sappy shit about how every time I see a bride with her father, I want to scream from the rooftops that this could be the last time she embraces him or celebrates a special moment like this and I want her to cherish it. Sam messaged me and said that the photo made both of them cry because for 2 years they didn’t know if he would be around for her wedding. I didn’t know this at the time, so it made this connection all that much more special.
Steven & Samantha, I was so honored to be able to photograph your big day alongside Trish. And thank you Trish for this opportunity! xoxo