I took my first photo class when I was 15 and I don’t think I have gone more than a week or two without taking photos since. I think I was still in high school when I made a vow “I will never shoot weddings, high school portraits, or babies.” For dumb some reason I have decided to stick to that vow despite being offered plenty of high paying wedding gigs. Meanwhile my friends are off photographing weddings on tropical islands for thousands of dollars. So it’s probably a dumb move, but I won’t sell out! (What’s that Igor? You won’t sell out? You are shooting a fucking cigarette ad tomorrow you asshole!) That being said, two of my four closest friends got married in May and while I didn’t actually work the wedding I did take some photos!
I have four best friends (Barry, Jamie, Sam and Tom) and I met them all in the same 5th grade class room more than 20 years ago. I didn’t think any of them would get married much less two of them in the same month, but it happened. Tom got married in Oxford, Mississippi the first weekend of May and Barry got married in Richmond, VA the last weekend of May. They didn’t invite each other to their weddings but Jamie, Sam and I traveled to both, having exciting adventures along the way.
Barry’s wedding happened on a farm near Richmond and was not quite the adventure that Tom’s was. I grew up in DC about 90 minutes from Richmond and I lived there for five years so the thrill is gone. That’s not to say that Richmond isn’t an underrated city, I just would have no problem never going there again, ever. Highlights of the weekend included seeing my parents dog, watching Barry do karaoke in what must have been the tamest bachelor party ever, and getting an old tattoo touched up by my old pal Katie Davis. The wedding itself was on my friend Jeff’s farm and was very lovely. My old friends the Atkinsons and the Ex-Patriots played music, there was swimming and a bonfire and I didn’t even have to wear a tie. Fantastic.
Tom got married in Oxford, Mississippi which sounded like a terrible idea but ended up being pretty awesome. Turns out the closest airport to Oxford is in Memphis and Jamie, Sam and I got to spend a pretty amazing day in Memphis. I am generally not one for touristy stuff but I am a HUGE Elvis fan and somehow I had never seen Graceland so that was #1 on my list. We ended up packing an unreasonable amount of shit into one day. We hit Graceland first, then got some of the best BBQ ribs I have ever had at Cozy Corner then we hit Sun Studios. After that we headed down town and saw the famous duck walk at the Peabody Hotel. When we got there there was like two hundred people there to see some ducks which I thought was insane, but honestly it was underrated. Watching ducks take an elevator is one of the greatest things ever. We then walked down to the Mississippi river and then walked down Beale Street before walking right into FedEx Forum where the Memphis Grizzlies were about to play the Oklahoma City Thunder in game six of a playoff series. We ended up getting tickets for $33. The whole thing was pretty amazing.
The next day we headed to the wedding but we first stopped off at Graceland Too which is just a guys house. It is open 24 hours a day seven days a week. If he doesn’t come to the door when you knock, just knock louder. It’s an intensely surreal experience and so worth the $5 entry fee. Paul McLeod is an incredible character and will talk your ear off about his entire life basically. You will learn a lot more about him than Elvis but honestly he is nearly as interesting as Elvis. The whole thing reaches a terrifying note when he pulls his gun out of his pocket, but try to enjoy it. I know I did. I can’t wait to go back.
That night we partied at some sort of awful Ole Miss campus bar and spent the next day checking out the town of Oxford. I got to see William Faulkner’s house which I didn’t actually have any desire to see, but it certainly lived up to those expectations. At least the woods around the house were pretty. The wedding was also on a farm and was beautiful as well. Much more formal but everyone got wasted and the food was fucking insanely good. Maybe the best catfish I have ever had. I also ate half of a pecan pie out of the tray like a savage.
The whole point of all this story telling was that I have some wedding photos to post. Really they are just photos of our wedding adventures with a few wedding photos thrown in the mix. I realize I didn’t even take a photo of Tom and his wife together. I mean I instagramed them but that doesn’t really count. Whatever the case I have a bunch of photos for you to look at and they were all shot on 35mm film if you care about such things.
So click here to see my 35mm “wedding photos” from Tom & Barry’s wedding weekends.