Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Trash the Dress: A Post Wedding Session in Ruins

When Kristin and Dave got married, it was March.  The weather was cold, the trees were bare and the last snowfall had just about melted.  Kristin put so much effort into her look and the formal photography session was cut short because of the cold.  I suggested to them that we go out again when the weather was warmer and do something fun.

Mike and I have always been fans of old buildings, forgotten spaces and history and Dave has been exploring abandoned buildings with his best friend, another Mike, since they were kids. When Dave met Kristin, she found it as fun and exciting to explore these places, so she joined along for a few trips. When they told me about the places they had been, I said we should use that as the theme for their shoot. I just love taking a bride and groom all dressed up and lovely to a place that is so non-traditional and, in some cases, dirty, grungy or wet for a wedding attire shoot (see our last Trash the Dress Session with Marissa + Justin).  I couldn't resist getting the shots of her dress and her shoes before we began.  How creepy cool do those shots look?  By the way, if you haven't read the other posts on Kristin and Dave, Kristin made those sparkly shoes herself. Anyone want to place an order? They're phenomenal and they lasted the wedding day and this shoot and are still going strong. Great job, Kristin!

Mike Bowman, best friend, best man, co-photographer at their wedding and photographer for an awesome website, Desolate Places, was going to come along for the post shoot and be our connection to some of the places we would go.  When the time came to go, Mike couldn't make it, so I reached out to one of our friends that I knew would be into the theme of this shoot, Cheryl Bolton-Reuter.  Once she was on board, the five of us set out to choose some cool places to go.

The first stop was an abandoned warehouse that Kristin and Dave have been to with Mike.  Totally cool, but also falling apart dangerous and completely creepy (dark areas where someone could come out of the darkness after you creepy, but there was also plenty of light to be found on the outside).  Here are some stills from our film.

Though we could have spent all day there, we had a schedule to keep, so we moved onto our next location, the streets in the city of Beacon.  Dave and Kristin are friends with the owner of The Beacon Cafe, so made a quick stop there in our travels to do some urban shots.  While there, Kristin and Dave were serenaded by a famous opera singer from China.  What an unexpected treat!

With other places to go, we headed out to our third location, The Cornish Estate. It was quite a hike to get there (a real hike, not a figure of speech), but once we saw it, we knew it was worth it!  We were quite surprised to find that there was a crew there clearing away vines and grown in branches as part of a restoration project. We are so glad that people are taking the initiative to clean up and restore these local treasures. Among the volunteers in the crowd were Thom Johnson, who is also a member of the group restoring Bannerman's Island (He wrote a book about Bannerman's Island and has been seen on the show Off Limits telling the story about it) and Rob Yasinsac, who wrote the book Hudson Valley Ruins (along with Thomas Rinaldi). We have been following Rob's work for a long time, so it was quite a surprise and a genuine honor to meet both him and Thom while we were out that day!  We own both of their books and highly recommend them to anyone with an interest in abandoned places and historic architecture.  Here are some of the stills from our stop at the Cornish Estate.

The beautiful red rose bouquet was provided by Morgan's Florist in Poughkeepsie.  Thank you to Steve for supplying these gorgeous roses to us at the very last minute and for the tips you provided to us for keeping them fresh as we worked with them all day long.  They lasted for days after the shoot and made my kitchen smell and look great!

Kristin had a series of outfits with her that day.  In fact, the back of my truck was jam packed with dresses, shoes, accessories and other fun stuff in addition to our gear.  Sadly, we only had the time for one costume change that day.  While at the Cornish Estate, she made a few changes.  The first change was to add a pop of red with some red sparkle shoes and her wedding dress.  After a series of shots, she changed from her wedding gown into her mother's wedding gown, which she wears as a costume when she attends the Renaissance Fair.  It was fun to see her run around and play in her mom's dress. I'm a big fan of the long draping sleeves (my wedding dress had those too, just not nearly as long).  What a great reuse for a wedding gown.  It was so great to see it get some love!!  Thanks to Kathleen for letting Kristin wear your beautiful dress.  Below are shots of Kathleen wearing the dress 35 years ago and then Kristin wearing it this year in the woods.

Heavy rock walls with a dirt floor and no ceiling, a true ruin.  This is such a beautiful place.  The restoration group is trying to save this structure so it doesn't fall into complete disrepair like many of the old buildings in the area.  Like others, this is a site where kids like to go to drink and party, leaving their trash and destruction behind.  We hope their effort will save this structure from further disrepair so we can all continue to enjoy these marvelous structures.

Here is the Trash the Dress Film from our adventure with Kristin + Dave.

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Again, we could have spent hours at the ruins, but we had one more stop to make.  My Mike is a big fan of all things automotive and locomotive; classic cars, trains, big steam engines, or any other engine for that matter, etc... We find every opportunity we can to ride on, photograph and visit trains (we did a great trip to The Grand Canyon by train in an old Pullman Car).  When Kristin and Dave said they knew where we could find some abandoned train cars, we jumped at the chance to go.  Here are some of the stills from the video we shot while at the trains.

Not thinking it was possible to secure a florist in time to make flowers for our shoot on such short notice, I got my craft on to create the flowers in the photographs above and below.  If only we had more time to organize some additional props, I would have brought more than the flowers and the Bride's Magazine Kristin is reading in the train shot.  We shot so much footage that day that it was impossible to get it all in that one clip.  Maybe when I have some time, I can look through the footage and edit a part two.  Of course, there's always hope for an Anniversary shoot with all the other outfits Kristin didn't get to wear!

What a wonderful adventure!!! We were so happy to be take part and are so thankful to Kristin and Dave for being so willing enter dilapidated buildings, trek into the woods and sit on rusty train cars to do this shoot with us! Kristin, you looked as beautiful as you did on your wedding day and Dave, you really came out of your shell! Below is his impression of Jack Nicholson.  "Here's Johnny!"  We had so much fun spending the day with you and exploring new places and making new memories.  I wish more couples were so brave to go out after their weddings to do shoots like this.  It is a completely different experience from your wedding day.  It's more relaxed, a lot more creative and you end up with the most phenomenal film and photos from it.  It's liberating, freeing and expressive.  It's true art! Don't just take it from me, here is what Kristin had to say about her experience.

Speaking of art, please check out this beautiful post by Cheryl Bolton-Reuter with some of the great photographs she took with us that day.  We're so glad you were available, Cheryl!  Thanks for coming along on this adventure with us!  It's always a pleasure to have a like-minded and creative photographer along with us on these shoots!

For more from Kristin and Dave, you can check out Kristin's Bridal Prep and Kristin and Dave's Preview Clip.

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