What do you say when your best friend for 22 years asks you to marry them? When Jim asked Audrey on her front porch swing, she first replied, “I don’t know!” [spoiler alert: she said yes!]
While we took a few portraits of Audrey on that same porch swing, she gave us the back story: She and Jim met at a church dance, and through years of active involvement in the church, they became best friends. When they decided to get married, it was because the rest of their lives would be that much more meaningful as husband and wife partners. They made a pact: they would help each other get to Heaven.
Audrey's daughter and daughter-in-law helped her prep for the day and kept her smiling.
The wedding was held at their home church, the beautiful Holy Child in Bridgeville, and the ceremony was a celebration of Audrey and Jim's long relationship and their new beginning. As friends and family filled the church (to the extent that Covid precautions allowed), I was moved by the sense that these two people were so loved and so appreciated. My favorite photos from the ceremony document quiet moments of worship, unexpected laughter, and tears of joy.
Jim and Audrey took a moment to thank friends and family for their support before dinner and dancing began at The Club at Nevillewood. The bride looked around the room and feeling so much love and light reflected back, commented, "this is what Heaven must be like."
Around sunset, we snuck away to take advantage of Nevillewood's stunning balcony views.
Then everyone hit the dancefloor, and partied into the night!
The party kept going the next day! The newlyweds hosted an all-day picnic, outdoors at Fairview Park in Bridgeville. Throughout the afternoon, friends and family dropped in to congratulate Audrey and Jim.
I love seeing a couple truly revel in their day, surrounded by loved ones, relaxed and present in every moment. Audrey and Jim will always remind me to be thankful for today and choose the happiest tomorrow.
By: Melanie Groves
Like so many couples, Christina and Andrew postponed their 2020 wedding plans. A year later, they held a small, intimate ceremony with their family at Mount Saint Peter Catholic Church in New Kensington, followed by a sweet and low-key picnic at Deer Lakes Park.
Christina and I met when she was working as the Curator of Architecture and Gardens at The Frick Pittsburgh. I learned right away that she is as warm as she is smart and creative, and we became fast friends. It was an incredible honor for Steve and me to photograph their wedding, and so special to be there to witness it.
A fitting setting for a bride with a background in architectural conservation: the cathedral was constructed in the 1940s using salvaged marble, steel, and other materials from the Richard B. Mellon Mansion (as it was being demolished) and features stunning architectural details.
The church altar is surrounded by four marble columns from the Mellon vestibule, and the canopy above was created from bronze railings. Read more on the Pittsburgh Tribute-Review website.
My favorite part of the day was watching Annalise (Anni for short) see her Mom and Dad get married and join them in the ceremony. So amazing!
After the ceremony, Christina, Andrew, and Anni joined their family in Deer Lakes Park for a picnic to celebrate the wedding and Anni’s second birthday. It was a great opportunity to capture some family fun in nature—one of Anni’s favorites!
Can’t wait to party with these three again!
I have a confession to make...
I've been shooting weddings for a couple of years now.
I know, I know. You know me as a guy who (mostly) publishes pictures of the best city in the world—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. But hear me out. Back in 2015 (okay, so maybe more than just "a couple of years..."), a coworker wanted me to shoot her daughter's wedding. I said 'no' SOOOO many times. It's one of those things—if you haven't done it before, you can't possibly have had any experience shooting weddings, and I was REALLY uncomfortable with the thought of trying to capture a day that was so special and meaningful without knowing even where to start. Where do I stand to get the best shots? What do I deliver? Prints? Digital files? How much do I charge? So many questions, and no experience to rely on to help answer them.
But, as fate would have it, my coworker was relentless. She wasn't taking 'no' for an answer. I WAS shooting her daughter's wedding. I gave in—but only this time. And I was going to do it on my terms. I WAS bringing a second shooter (my lovely wife, Melanie), and she WAS going to help me make sure everything was documented.
This is Beth, the first bride we ever photographed.
But this wedding was going to be the only one, right? Well, not quite.
Beth's mom (you know, the coworker who just wouldn't let me be the photographer I WANTED to be...) loved the photos she got. Now the flood gates opened. It seemed every other day she had someone else she was recommending our wedding photography services to. Between her and a few others, the word got out in our immediate circle of family and friends, and we began shooting a wedding here and there, but we were still not advertising that we did this. No, the photo business was to stay much more focused on photoshoots that were way less stressful.
In fact, maybe I'd just keep shooting pictures of Pittsburgh. Yeah—that's what I'd do. Those buildings aren't moving and I can take a billion photos of them without worrying what they thought of the final images.
Friends. Family. Friends of family. Family of friends. Friends of friends. People were apparently liking the wedding photos that the new wedding team of Melanie and I were shooting because we kept getting asked to shoot more weddings, and we have never once advertised this service. Ever.
Since this past June, we have shot several different wedding ceremonies, rehearsals, receptions, picnics, and parties. We have a wedding portfolio now.
We have decided to do this, friends. We're all in.
For those of you who know me, you know that my wife works at The Frick Pittsburgh in the curatorial department. As such, she gets to work with some awesome folks who are art handling specialists. One of those art handlers is Duncan MacDiarmid, a sculptor at heart. Last year, the Society of Sculptors (whose current President is Duncan) organized the first-ever SculptureFest, bringing together local sculptors for a day of public exhibition. The idea caught on, and last week, Sculpture Fest 2 took place at the Millvale Riverfront Park.
By the way, the Society of Sculptors has been around since 1935 and is the only organization in Pittsburgh exclusively promoting sculpture and the artists who create it, so if you’re reading this and you are a sculptor, make sure you check these guys out!
This year’s SculptureFest concluded with a grandiose sculpture fire, aptly dubbed “FireTree.” The idea was hatched by Duncan, along with Society of Sculptors member Saige Baxter, who soon moved on and followed other career opportunities. Throughout the rest of the year, Duncan built a large metal sculpture, destined to be filled with flammable content and fireworks. Yes, fireworks.
SculptureFest and FireTree were celebrations of life and all things good. At the top of the Firetree sculpture resided a metal “sun;” a reference to our own sun that provides heat and energy for the Earth and its residents. It was also a celebration of artistry and creativity. From the obvious—the sculptor-artists—to the musicians and even the attendees (anyone care to paint Duncan’s car?), the day was replete with something for everyone.
I attended Sculpture Fest, as well as the FireTree celebration, and below is my chronicle of the event, organized by subject.
From Earthview Studios:
“All of them (his sculptures) show a mastery of technique elevated by the artist’s pervasive authenticity…” - Mary Thomas, Art Critic, The Post-Gazette, Pittsburgh, PA
Duncan’s childhood was spent in Philadelphia where he later studied architecture and then received his Master of Fine Arts from the University of Pennsylvania. For many years, Duncan worked primarily as a figurative sculptor with a focus on portrait sculpture. He has created public and private sculptures for libraries, churches, and universities in bronze, terracotta, and polymers. His recent work has ventured into mixed media with sculptures that comment on human perceptions of the natural and man-made environment. Duncan lives and works in Pittsburgh on a hillside overlooking the Allegheny River.
Duncan surrendered his car to be painted by attendees of SculptureFest. All ages provided “content” as his car gradually morphed from gray vehicle to vibrant canvas.
Many sculptors showed up to exhibit their work, showcasing the variety of mediums by which sculptures can be represented.
Bridging the gap between the artist exhibition and the FireTree event was a band called Grand Prismatic. Bringing an instrumental component to the event, this band provided an obviously well-rehearsed and polished show.
Following their performance and continuing the artistry of the event, a group of African drummers took the baton and continued throughout the rest of the evening, providing improvised accompaniment to the FireTree event.
A labor of love for the better part of a year, Duncan’s FireTree cornerstoned the evening with a celebration of life and art by fire.
As with most events, I stayed until the bitter end, capturing the details of the aftermath of the event. The Millvale Fire Department was on hand to help put out any residual smolderings, and I do believe they may have just been having a bit of fun putting out fires that were non-life-threatening for a change. They even offered to “hose down” Duncan’s car so that he could safely drive it home. In the end, the event was a wonderful success, and I personally look forward to what may be in store for future years.