PRIDE MONTH 2019
Did you know that June was LGBTQ+ Month?? Although life is extremely busy at the moment with moving from California to Florida, (literally in the airport as we speak) we are now officially in July, But I HAD to get this blog done none the less because it was so important to me to show that Memories Exposed Photography is a HUGE supporter of the LGBTQ+ community! I was raised to never see the difference in skin color, sexuality or physical appearance. Granted being born and raised in Oklahoma I wasn’t “exposed” to gender identity changed individuals or same sex couples so I didn’t really know what was what but I was simply taught to just LOVE and that’s all I needed to understand.
Of course throughout my life I met individuals who were gay. They were my teammates, co-workers, friends, they were just humans! But when I moved to California back in 2011, I truly got to witness and experience what it was to live in a world of acceptance and celebration of the LGBTQ+ community and I honestly feel so blessed to have had those experiences because just loving someone for who they are (as I always have) is not enough. We should all understand the culture of one another and California gave me that. I use to think just focusing on the different races and their culture was important but so is learning the LGBTQ+ community because it is the only way to start erasing the hate out there. People are afraid of what they don’t understand but how can we understand what we refuse to learn??
So what better way for me, a photographer, to support same sex couples, marriages, and individuals of the LGBTQ+ community than to post some of the beautiful and amazing souls I have had the blessing of capturing?!? I wanted to put this post in a blog format so that hopefully those who are still “on the fence” of acceptance or however they want to sugar coat it can see through my photos that #loveislove. That my clients souls are happy being who they are and loving who they love.
Henry and Viet are a married couple that live in Northern California and came down to Joshua Tree (in Southern California) to do a styled shoot as Henry himself was just getting into the photography world. I drove up with my photography mentor Dakai so that we could capture Henry and Viet since they had never been to Joshua Tree. With a tad of direction, their shoot soon turned into almost like a natural, impromptu, romantic date. Lots of laughs, smiles, and embracing, It all was perfect.
Embracing who you are both inside and outside is what Boudoir Photography is. I owned a boudoir studio in California (will be opening one up next year in Florida) and helped so many women embrace and recognize just how beautiful they really are. As a woman, we can easily loose ourselves in life as we play our many roles: wife, mother, career woman, etc, and it is important to be reminded that we still got it!
Danielle was a client of mine that puts on a uniform everyday while serving in our U.S. Navy and has to pull her hair back in a bun and wear minimum make up if any at all. She not only wanted to do this shoot for herself but also as a surprise to her girlfriend who lives on the other side of the United States. I got to know about Danielle and her girlfriend because it was important to me to understand their relationship to make the shoot personal for them. Danielle SLAYED as you can see below!
I’ve also had the opportunity to participate in a huge, annual event for the LGBTQ+ community held in Los Angeles, California. I AM SO EXCITED to share this event and photos as I didn’t write Blogs when I did this event back in October 21, 2017 to share it in this context.
The event is called TRANSNATION ELEGANZA GALA and is presented by St. John’s Well Child and Family Center in Los Angeles California and supports their Trans Health Program specifically. Influencers in the community as well as celebrities come out to support and raise awareness of the success and struggles currently going on in the LGBTQ+ community. The night starts off with a red carpet (as shown above) and I took all the photos as headliner guests such as, Laverne Cox (star on hit Netflix Show “Orange is the New Black”, Candis Cayne, and Laith Ashley just to name a few.
Everyone then headed into the event venue, Cicada Club, after the red carpet to check out all the performers such as DJ JD Samson, Miss Peppermint, Shia Diamond and Gia Banks who kept the party going until 2am to help raise money for the St. John's Well Child and Family Center's Transgender Health Program, which is an independent 501(c)3 community health center that serves one of the largest populations of transgender patients in the country with primary medical, dental, and behavioral health care, as well as support for the community's unique socioeconomic, legal, and advocacy needs.
Writing this blog is just making me all kinds of emotional because it is reminding me how much love I have seen shared between ALL of my clients and had the opportunity to capture it all! The photos above are from a in home family session I did with Ashleigh and Porchea not too long after they bought their new home. The couple decided they wanted to start a family and used the benefits of artificial insemination through a donor and was overjoyed when they found out they were pregnant with baby Hendrix… HOW CUTE IS HE?!?!
They have hired me to do their couples shoot, maternity shoot, and because I lived in California and they were in Oklahoma, they waited on me to do their lifestyle newborn session with their new addition to the family. I LOVE repeat clients. I get to almost grow with them on their adventure of life. It is pretty awesome.
As ya’ll know weddings are my EVERYTHING!
I have been very fortunate to capture the love of many same sex weddings but wanted to just share a couple quickly for the blog. The first one up is Marlou and Cary who had their special day coordinated and designed by Event Planner Just Joie at the winery at Europa Village (@europavillage) in Temecula, California. These two started as all lovers should…as best friends. They have been friends and known one another for over 10 years before they became wife and wife. They love spending their time traveling the world with one another and it was so awesome to see all the photos they had taken and captured along the way that they shared with everyone at their wedding. I love seeing people taking photos AND cherishing them as it can be so easy now of days to take some on our phone then never print or preserve them.
Cary’s wedding dress was from Pebbles Bridal in Woodland Hills (@pebblesbridal) and fit her amazingly! Marlou was dressed in a fitted suit and the pair together looked absolutely stunning! Everyone who witnessed Cary’s undeniable beautiful smile and the way Marlou looked at Cary knew they were witnessing a love that was going to last forever!
The below shoot was awesome because it was in Iceland! Yes the country Iceland! It was my first time there and it did not disappoint! I went in October 2017 and shot a planned engagement shoot of a couple from San Antonio, Texas but also got to capture the below photos of my friends Dakai and Matthew who have a different kind of bond and love. They are best of friends from Utah and have a connection that I would say goes past sexuality. It is much deeper and one not needing explanation because you can see in the photos alone just the joy and comfort they bring to one another. I absolutely love more candid sessions like theirs because it really shows the embrace and emotions my clients share.
Ally is another one of my boudoir clients that is beyond PROUD to identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. This shoot was awesome because she is a also a huge advocate of body positivity and acceptance. My boudoir clients are of all sizes and I’ve always been proud of that because sadly a lot of photographers look to shoot only a “specific look and size” for their portfolio but I LOVE it when a woman embraces who she is and Ally does that in many aspects. You can literally feel her confidence through her photos!
I love black and white photos and decided to do all of Ally’s session in black and white because she just totally rocked it and it looked timeless.
I could go on and on with not only how awesome my clients in the LGBTQ+ community but I have to jump on this plane to Atlanta then Florida so I will finish the blog with Wes and Shane’s AMAZINGLY BEAUTIFUL and EMOTIONAL WEDDING shown below that I just had the pleasure of shooting with photographer Sarah Campos a couple of months ago (May 2019) at the BRICK venue in San Diego, California.
I was with Wes most of the morning as him his friends got ready for the big day but could not wait to meet Shane later during the First Look because I could literally FEEL THE LOVE Wes had for Shane as he spoke about him and became emotional thinking of how their wedding day was finally here. Once we captured the first look, I found myself crying with them.
You could tell they wanted nothing more than to call one another husband and husband.
The Ceremony was beautiful and not short of tears throughout the room. The Reception was full of life and dancing thanks to the talented DJ Dime Piece. Wes and Shane was on cloud 9 you could tell!
Thank you so much for reading this blog Again it meant so much to me to share my beautiful LGBTQ+ clients and their stories with as many as I could. I have lost followers on IG and FB when making posts like this, but that won’t stop me! I LOVE THE LGBTQ+ COMMUNITY!
Please share with friends and family <3