Wedding: Johanna and Mark

October 26th, 2007

Slideshow of “Official” Wedding Photos
Photographer Kim Reed’s Blog
Gallery of Tim’s Wedding Snapshots
Gallery of Tim’s Dad’s Wedding Snapshots

Inside the Phipps Conservatory, on an uncharacteristically warm October day, the humidity was intense. We wound our way through the flowering plants, past the visitors shuffling toe-to-heel, and the Chihuly glass installed amongst the foliage and pools of water. (at left: me stealing one of Kim’s shots)

Johanna and Mark’s planning was impeccable. Everything was on time–early, in fact–leaving room for extra photos. I enjoyed watching both Kim and Abie work as well as their easy-going and upbeat manner. If you like their style (see their photos here) I would, as a photographer, recommend their services. I found it pleasantly surprising to be on the other side of the lens and thinking “when did they get that shot?”–just like some of the clients I’ve worked with have said to me. (at right: kim and the couple)

Johanna and Mark, inspired by the style of Rainier and Eva’s small wedding in the Woodland Park Zoo Rose Garden followed by a reception dinner at Canlis, wanted two things: good food and good pictures. The idea being people would remember the celebration with the culinary delights and when that faded there would be the images. The restaurant, one of their favorites and only a short walk from their Shadyside apartment, is a hip, three-story Asian fusion place called Soba. That was easy for them. The photography was a process of website selection and one interview: Kim. They liked her immediately. (at left: holding in the laughter at portrait time)

Getting the officiant was a whole different story. Although I don’t think either of them really practice, Johanna is Lutheran and Mark is Jewish. My sister isn’t converting to Judaism and isn’t concerned about her kids growing up Jewish which meant most rabbis wouldn’t consecrate their marriage. Even the GBLTQ rabbi was unwilling. There is a substantial Jewish community in Pittsburgh (and Catholic…it’s like the Mormons in Salt Lake with a temple on every corner) but apparently there are only two ‘freelance’ rabbis in Pittsburgh. One is an ass and one costs 3-4 times as much as the others. What’s so complicated about an interfaith marriage? I guess everything except the love part of it. (at right: my dad with the bouquet)

So after pictures and a brief ceremony, replete with the glass-crunching “mazel tov” moment, we headed to dinner. Because I didn’t “work” the wedding (Johanna told me I was supposed to enjoy it) I had a chance to feel useless, but also an opportunity to watch Johanna and Mark. And drink wine. (at left: me and jess)

Johanna left Seattle for Pittsburgh at 18 and I’ve really only seen her on holidays. It’s been a struggle to move beyond the combative sibling rivalry and transition into a friendship. As siblings, we are both incredibly stubborn, controlling, and have a tendency to patronize; furthermore, our family is not prone to emotional intimacy. (at right: the fathers)

I recall a conversation three years ago, after her winter holiday visit, when she called me with a very “I’m going to get things done” sound to her voice. She had a written list of grievances from the holiday; in the past I think she would have written me off but to her credit she took advantage of my fumbling for self awareness. Swallowing my pride I agreed with every point, explained myself, and made my apologies. Then we made a deal to work at being closer friends, not just siblings. (at left: cutting a very cool looking, and tasty, cake)

Over time I’ve grown to know Mark better, but this long weekend has, by far, been the best. I have seen his family and now have a context for his story. I also know why it took him so long to agree to marriage; they have both successively been grad students or unemployed. Mark wanted some security and stability before he could commit to someone else. I can respect that. (at right, Johanna and Jessica, our youngest sister)

But above all else, I have appreciated his humor; yes, it’s sarcastic and yes, at times it pushes boundaries. But so does mine. He is a goof ball and I now see
that in my sister too. She’s still a planner, she’s still got a list of reasons for why or why not, but in watching them trying to be serious during their portraits or even the ceremony I could see the twinkle in both their eyes and the creases of smiles held tight in feigned seriousness. They are much more comfortable laughing. (at left: my dad toasting)

I can’t really remember my toast; it was the first wedding toast I’ve ever given and I’m sure it was weak in its improvisation, but were I to toast again that is what I would want to say. After more than a decade of being off somewhere else, I see more of who Johanna has become, with whom she has done it, and the laughter they share between themselves. (at right: more laughter)

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  1. Kim says:

    hey tim.

    great shots! it was a pleasure meeting you- hope to work with you in some capacity in the future.



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