I first saw Francie and Stacey at a wedding I was shooting. During a wedding, certain things draw your attention, the elderly doing new dances, or children doing cute things. At this wedding Francie and Stacey drew my attention. I saw them both at the bar interacting with each other. The way they interacted made me want to capture this intriguing connection they had.
So when same sex marriage became legal in Michigan. I wanted to add same sex couples to my portfolio. The first people I thought of were Francie and Stacey. I contacted the bride and asked if the thought they would be interested in doing a shoot with me. I was told they would love it so I reached out. They hadn’t been in their relationship long so we made plans for a faux engagement shoot.
When we sat down to talk about their shoot, I wanted to be honest and forward with them. I had to ask them more questions, personal questions that I typically don’t have to do with a straight couple. For example, with a straight couple I don’t soften the skin on guys. Even if the man in that relationship stays at home, while she goes off to work. He still wants to appear masculine in the photos and the she wants to appear feminine and soft. I told them both I can’t make these assumptions with you. So instead of talking about colors, decorations, and dances. I felt as if I was getting to know them. To find that although she dressed more masculine that, Stacey would be the first to cry, she cared about her hair, and worried about how she looked before she left the house. To find that Francie, plays rugby, was the one to propose, and wears the more masculine of their wedding rings.
The “Engagement” Shoot:
The shoot itself, was a cold November morning we went to a park in Pontiac. They instantly exhibited the same cuteness, this playfulness, that they had shown me on that wedding night months before. Climbing in trees, kissing each other as if they may never be able to kiss again. After the sun became too high for good lighting, instead of leaving they took a walk together on the Francie and Stacey trail.
They came to my home to view the photos we had taken. Francie jumped on my couch and surrounded herself with Stacy and a lot of pillows. We looked trough the photos, this wonderful interaction between them popped up again. As their viewing concluded I told them “Call me when you get engaged.” The both laughed as if to say that’s a while down the road.
I received a Facebook message from Francie. “Hey Justin, how are you doing?” I knew at that moment, without her saying another word, they needed a wedding photographer. In less than one year from the time they laughed at my “when you get engaged” speech. Here they were ready to say their vows. On another cold November morning, we met at Rochester Park for their first look. Francie’s mother, Ina and brother Matias had even made the flight from Germany to see Francie take her vows.
As the day drew on the sun came out and It go a bit warmer. In a gazebo behind the Rochester Mills Brewery, Francie and Stacey said their self-written vows, their closest friends and family in attendance. It was short, it was simple and perfectly them. They remind me of a movie “What Dreams May Come” they would go to Hell to save one another, and if they were reincarnated, their souls would find each other all over again. I wish them both a long and happy life together.