Imani Travel Dates 2017/18

 

“to travel is worth any cost or sacrifice.”

-Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love

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     I find that I keep saying this over and over as this year heads towards it's end, but it just becomes more and more true. I have travelled more this year than I ever have in my entire life. Definitely not my entire life combined, cause I've always been a bit of a restful (not restless) adventurer. When I was 19 I was so sick of Art school that I decided one evening in October that I would be studying abroad in Spain in January. The sign of a homebody? Nope, not me. 

     Sometimes I think about where I got this travelers heart from. I usually claim it's all the Sagittarius in my chart or the fact that I moved a little bit when I was young. But ultimately I think it's because I've never quite felt at home here in the United States. You see, my family is super foreign. My father was born in Manila, in the Philippines, and my mother is the only person in her family to be born in the U.S., everyone else, including her older siblings were born in South Africa. 

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     That makes me first generation on my dad's side and second generation on my mom's. I grew up with grandmothers that had thick accents that to me, sound like home. I was surrounded by foreign languages: Tagalog and Xhosa. Languages I can more understand than speak, but that also bring a sense of comfort to my sometimes seemingly displaced heart. They were especially spoken when the adults in my life wanted to talk about us children right in front of us or about something too adult for our American grown ears. 

     On my dad's side, my grandparents, aka Lolo and Lola, never had bread, ever. Naturally, instead rice was served with every meal. Lola made traditional Filipinx food for every party or event, that would, in true Filipinx fashion have no less than 100 people. I would attend Filipinx cultural school on Saturdays and learn traditional dances and customs. And on my mom's side we'd use Xhosa phrases for things instead of English ones, and we didn't quite celebrate Christmas. And at the end of every band concert or group event, including graduations, all the women in my family would belt out the Tribal call of the Xhosa people louder than any of the other parents' cheers and applause. 

     I reflect on my upbringing often and how it shaped me into the citizen of the world I came to be. My Lola took me to the Philippines when I was 10 and it changed my life completely. (I mean how could it not!?) Aside from Canada, I had never been out of the country before. Which, if you're from Detroit like my family is, doesn't quite mean the same thing since it's within view across the Detroit river. That first international trip sparked in me the first of many adventures and lessons in respect to travel that I am so grateful for. 

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     And maybe it's because I grew up in somewhat of an in-between, in-between South African and Filipinx, in-between an immigrant up-bringing and an American one, in-between two divorced parents, but I feel at my most alive and most at home when I'm discovering something new. A new place, city, friend or country. I travel to document love stories, but also to feed my soul. All of this to say, that I will be sharing more stories (travel and love story) and photos from these adventures along the way that I'm blessed enough to document. I also love meeting new and old friends during my travels. If it's for an elopement, portraits or just to connect, please reach out! 

               Travel Dates 2017/18: 

  • December: LA, Fiji, Christchurch, Oahu

  • January: Detroit, Washington D.C. 

  • February: San Francisco, Seattle

  • April/May: Paris, London, Scottish Highlands, Barcelona, Madrid


 

Rachel + Adam // Columbus

 

I stayed with my two good friends Adam and Rachel in Columbus for a wedding I was shooting not too far away. (more to come on that wedding soon, hint: it involves treehouses) I'm always grateful when I get to shoot weddings in new places that also connect me with close friends and grant me the pleasure of further adventures. 

During my trip, just a few days ago I photographed Rachel and Adam's anniversary session and delivered their photos to them today on their actual 3rd anniversary. Their home is so them, so warm and happy and special. Every year they get photos taken together in their home to reflect and document their journey as a married couple. I am so happy I got to be around for year 3. Maybe it'll be me again as their photographer in the future as well. : ) 

featured pet babies: Clooney and Marlow. 

Stephanie + John

Stephanie and John decided to choose a more simplistic and quaint approach with their wedding day. They picked an amazing restaurant in downtown Raleigh for a venue, and got their families and just a few friends together to join them on their super chill and intimate wedding day. They also chose to get ready together, which was a total treat to photograph. There is something so wonderful about documenting a couple getting ready together before they officially get married. John putting on socks while Stephanie finishes with hair and make up. John offering to help Stephanie put on her necklace in the mirror, and zip up her dress. It's truly about those small moments that hold so much meaning, and you can't help but smile inside. Overall the day was full of love, laughs, a few tears, relaxation (yes, relaxation) and amazing food. I felt so lucky to capture and be a part of their intimately loving universe, and seriously cannot get over their photos. As the first wedding of the season, the bar is SET. 

Venue & Food: Second Empire Tavern and Restaurant 

Hair & make-up: Lula Makeup 

Officiant: Kayelily Middleton 

Florist: North Raleigh Florist 

 

Iceland

Evan and I went to Iceland about a month ago.

  • It was amazing. 
  • I thought we were going to die multiple times. 
  • We had some of the most delicious Indian food I've ever had. 
  • Also, the most amazing and inexpensive smoked salmon I've ever had. 
  • It was definitely worth the hype. 
  • Some of the most astounding and epic natural beauty I've ever seen in my life.
  • And some of the most intense winter weather we've ever experienced. 
  • I would definitely go back......but only in the summer. 

#1 Lesson learned: Mother Nature is Boss, ALWAYS. 

All images a mix of iPhone, digital & medium format film. 


Kim + Zach

Kim and Zach were the definition of fun. I've truly enjoyed every wedding I've shot for the most part, but this one in particular was just so much fun from beginning to end. So Kim and Zach went to the same elementary school up until 5th grade, (crazy right!) and as fate would have it, the met again later in life. Aside from being each others' romantic partners, Kim and Zach are such good friends. It's so clear when you see them together. They laugh, joke, play and their energy is simply contagious.

My favorite moment was during their post ceremony portraits, they were laughing with each other and joking about being so hungry. It was so real and honest. We get so wrapped up in the day that it is so normal for the newlyweds to never have a bite. I can happily say they both did eat, but it's really in those moments of humanity and authenticity that the wedding hoopla fades, and you're just a hungry couple dreaming of carbs.

Kim and Zach also had an amazing community around them. Their friends and family were amazing, loving and genuinely happy for them and their love. The best part is the were not shy about it! An undoubtedly spirited bunch they were, and the photos do not lie. hehe. It was great. Photographing happy people is such a lovely thing for which I am so grateful. All the love and happiness in the world to Kim and Zach!

Check out their photos below: They got ready in the South Street Inn and were married in the Jefferson Theater in the Downtown mall.