Sarah and Dylan reached out to me last Fall for their wedding at Hartley Botanica. Being from the East Coast like me, they wanted a venue lush with greenery, a more common sight from the other side of the country. It’s one those things we miss out here in LA like good pizza and bagels from mom and pop shops. Hartley Botanica is as green as it gets. There’s grass, bamboo, and trees abound. We’re not talking about palm trees either, but real branchy trees towering above, full with green leaves.
Also, working in Hollywood, I was flattered that they picked me for my eye and my coloring. The film industry and I had a history back in the day. Though it is in the past, cinematography and photography are intertwined disciplines and there’s no doubt my work continues to be influenced by motion picture.
Though they must see countless vendors every weekend of wedding season, when Bel and Karen of Hartley Botanica saw my arrival, it was as if we had just seen each other last week, rather than last year, and they ran the whole day as smoothly as any previous wedding I’ve photographed at this venue. That’s when you know your coordinators will be looking out for you, the couple, as well as vendors like me. A well-fed photographer is a happy photographer, and a happy photographer is one who finds inspiration (wonder if Anthony Bourdain would agree?).
This Cicada Club wedding was one I looked forward to for the longest time! Perhaps due to my New York roots, I am a huge fan of old, historic venues to balance out all of the sunny, outdoor weddings. Tucked away in Downtown Los Angeles, the Cicada Club opened its doors in 1928 and is adorned with wood tones, gold accents, and art deco styling. Due to the moody and dim interior, lighting is a challenge and reminds me of a clean slate to work with. The challenge is almost like setting up in a photo studio.
To remain faithful to the styling of Jennifer and Jordan’s wedding, I approached this wedding no different than any other, adding some of my own lighting without overriding the ambience the couple and lighting designers created. I want couples to look back and see what they remember, not an entirely new scene I created with flash.
While I’m sure next year holds many amazing weddings at sunset or overlooking the ocean, I also look forward to photographing many more historic interiors like the Cicada Club!