I can’t think of a better place to talk about something ‘done brilliantly’ than in this space. I would not be where I am right now – having just published a groundbreaking book about gay and lesbian wedding photography and enjoying an outpouring of visual submissions to my site, GayWeddings.com—without the help of Two Bright Lights. So I’m inspired to write what might be considered an open love letter of sorts.
When my straight mom first founded our business in order to help same-sex couples back in 1999, we had very few images of gay and lesbian couples to use on our sites (then TwoBrides.com & TwoGrooms.com), let alone couples willing to share them all over this emerging new virtual world known as the Internet. Today, however, my Two Bright Lights submissions page is teeming with fabulous submissions of all sorts of same-sex engagements and weddings from all over the country (and a few beyond our borders as well). And, even more amazing, those same weddings are also being submitted—and accepted—at mainstream wedding sites.
When I first joined Two Bright Lights as an Editor, I didn’t have many expectations and wasn’t sure what kind or if any submissions I might receive. Within the first few weeks, however, I received two beautiful lesbian weddings, one from the East Coast and one from the West, which told me that a whole new world was unfolding in the wedding space.
One of the weddings was submitted by a New England-based studio called Authentic Eye Photography, and featured two brides, one of whom would go on to create a same-sex wedding blog of her own. But, it was the relationship I developed with the owner of Authentic Eye, Thea Dodds, through Two Bright Lights which would result in a first-of-its-kind collaboration.
When Newsweek contacted me in 2010, looking for images of gay and lesbian couples as marriage equality became a reality in Washington, D.C., I sent them to Thea, knowing that they would love what I consider to be the signature image from that first wedding she submitted to me. They did and her work was included in their piece in print and online (in its emerging new brand, The Daily Beast).
That brief conversation and networking opportunity inspired Thea to contact me to pursue an idea she had been mulling over: that weddings are changing and wedding photography education needs to change, too.
In the course of photographing several same-sex weddings, Thea had realized that the training resources and traditional wedding pose books were insufficient. Same-sex couples and the unique details of their engagement poses and wedding celebrations were not included or taught anywhere in mainstream photography circles. Nonetheless, the demand for good wedding photographers has risen along with the increase in the number of same-sex couples headed to the altar, City Hall, and Chuppah to tie the knot. So, together, we set out to change all that.
The end result: our new book, Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography, which was just made available nationwide! The collaborative process has been wonderfully fun and a highly satisfying journey (and we’re only getting started!). We enjoyed connecting with photographers at the Two Bright Lights bootcamp in Washington, DC and in Baltimore and hope that we’ll find additional opportunities to connect with the Editors and Photographers in the Two Bright Lights community. For me and Thea, we already know what Two Bright Lights as ‘done brilliantly’ for us; we can’t wait to see what it will ‘do brilliantly’ in the future!
About Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography
Written by Thea Dodds and Kathryn Hamm, and published by Authentic Weddings in January of 2013, Capturing Love: The Art of Lesbian & Gay Wedding Photography is currently available nationwide via Lulu Press. The first-of-its-kind guide features a stirring forward by WeddingWire CEO Timothy Chi and will be available in print and as an electronic version in nationwide release in March 2013. The authors will be making several appearances in the coming months to promote Capturing Love, including appearances by Hamm at the Catersource Conference & Tradeshow in Las Vegas, NV on March 10-11, and at Princeton University’s LGBT and ally alumni event Every Voice on April 10-13.
About Kathryn Hamm
Kathryn Hamm, is the President of GayWeddings.com, the leading online boutique and resource dedicated to serving same-sex couples. Since its founding in 1999, GayWeddings.com has supported thousands of same-sex couples and LGBT-friendly vendors. Kathryn writes, speaks and consults on the topics of why same sex weddings are meaningful and why marriage matters. Though she and her partner, Amy, exchanged vows in a memorable ceremony on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in 1999, they are not yet legally married and will celebrate their 20th anniversary together in March, 2013.
About Thea Dodds
Thea Dodds, anaward-winning wedding photographer, founded her firm, Authentic Eye, in 2004. She also co- founded the internationally recognized non-profit Greener Photography in 2008. Her work has been featured in various publications, including Newsweek, The Lakes Region of New Hampshire, Kearsarge Magazine, Vermont Vows, and NH Magazine’s Bride. Thea and her partner, Bryan, live on a 10 acre farm in New Hampshire with their two young children, Kyra and Aubrie. They are not legally married, but Kathryn reminds them regularly of the advantages that a legally recognized union can offer.