Do you have days when you feel like your life is so blessed because you’ve got the friends that you do? I am constantly being reminded of that, in big ways and small ways, and definitely when I get to have quality girl time with these special people in my life.
My friend, Marta, is one of those people that are truly special, and make me feel special. Actually, she is one of my best friends during my undergraduate years. We hit it off from the start, something about her vivacious personality, passionate viewpoints, and pragmatic approaches to life drew me in. She’s got the best laugh, the real “laugh with your whole body” types, all her pearly whites shining. We got along so well, we lived together for our entire undergraduate life. Through her, I learnt how to cook better, appreciate classic country music, have a sense of humour about things gone wrong, that studying can happen outside of your room or library, that singing out loud strengthens your soul, but most of all, how to be a true and loyal friend. She did that last part by leading by example. You see, Marta came from a family of nine children and she’s the youngest, and the age gaps between siblings are sometimes longer than a few years. She learnt very early on how to take care of herself and be independent and yet, whenever trouble brews at home, she’s on the phone, mediating them through the thick of it and out the other end. It’s not any different when things happen between friends at school, she would be THE person everyone would confide in and seek comfort and advice from. Present company not excluded :). I just happen to have easy access to her because we were roommates!
After our university years, I would visit her often at her work or hang out for meals and tea time. When she told me about her nursing school plans, I wasn’t all that surprised. It suited her personality to a “T”. Big heart, people person, strength of character, empathy. That is probably the part of her life that I am most unclear with as we both had busy and erratic work schedules, with her shift work and my field work rotations out of town. Nevertheless, we still kept in touch. I remember a few years ago, during a camping trip, I received a call from her. Her voice sounded strained, which was unlike her. When I got back home, we met for a heart to heart. There were big changes that needed to happen in her personal life and she was at the helm, shaky but ready. I knew that this was my turn to just be that listening ear and loyal friend that she’s always been for me. We talked and it didn’t take long for her to formulate a plan. Add courage to that list of characteristics to my dear friend.
Our connection grew close once more in the last year or so. I came out of my baby fog and joined her in her love for photography. It is so fun talking to someone about a similar passion and hobby. Her images have always inspired me, and a few that will always stay in my mind are from her trip to the SW United States and the canyons (yay for her display at the PhotoHaus Gallery), as well as her street photography images from the Downtown Eastside and her submission for the National Geographic Scholarship. She continues to inspire me with her travel photography and how she sees beauty in this world.
So I think it is only fitting that she would meet the love of her life, Gordon, through photography. Well, she might tell you a different story (check out their engagement blog here) but I believe that their mutual love for cameras and dogs and children are a few of the many things that allowed the universe to bring them together. It didn’t take them long to decide “for better or for worse” is their journey of choice, and to mark that recognition, they adopted a dog named Fred. I was so thrilled and happy for her as I listened to her talk about Gordon, how wonderful he is, how much he compliments her, how much fun it is to live with someone who just understood her, and how he shares in her love for Fred.
As you can image, I was absolutely humbled by her and Gordon’s request to photograph their engagement/family session. They needed some images for their announcement and I was more than happy to jump at the chance to meet Gordon and photograph their little trio…sorry Zoo (Gordon’s turtle) didn’t get to come. We stalked the weather network (ok I did!) so we can squeeze in a non-rainy session at Granville Island. I am excited for our session but I was also really excited to finally meet Gordon. I have already met Fred and Zoo so really, she’s saving the best for last. When I saw Gordon and Fred, it was like meeting an old friend and I couldn’t help but give him a big hug. Right away he teased me about doing a session with two photographers and how I might be a little nervous about it. Well Gordon, up until then, I didn’t give that much thought but now, there they are…my nerves. Thanks! However, between their witty banter, gentle bickering like an old couple in their 60s, and silly jokes and hats and ideas, it felt more like hanging with friends than a session. I may prompt for a smile or a kiss, but it’s what they end up giving that makes the shot! We chuckled the whole way through…oh Fred with the balloons tied to his back for a good hour before he realized something was there – it’s priceless and a barrel of laughs for us!
Finally, I’ve decided that they’ve been overly gracious with their time and effort so we left in search of some yummy pho for dinner. It was such a lovely way to wrap up a session with friends. Marta, I am so truly happy for you and Gordon: for finding each other, for finding Fred, and for the journey of life that you’re about to dive into as husband and wife. Thank you so much for asking me to do this. My heart is full from your love and trust.
Here are some of my favourites from this very special session, with three very special people!