Friday, July 27, 2012

Maria + Henry - Super-fun Engagement session at The Bluffs

Maria + Henry are getting married at the end of August, and when I asked them what was really important to them about their wedding photography they said "our son Tyler - he's a character and we really want that captured". So it was only natural to include Tyler in the engagement session. What happens when you bring a very active 3-year-old to an engagement session? Probably the most fun we've ever had doing engagement portraits - we ran, flew a kite, skipped stones in the lake, blew bubbles, had a tickle fight, and played with trucks. It was such a great afternoon :)
this frame was Henry's idea - and what a great one!
Maria + Henry - after spending time with the three of you, we were totally charmed by what fun and loving parents you guys are, and what an awesome little guy you've got :) I think we have a new best friend in Tyler, and I can't wait to see all three of you again to photograph your wedding day!

Jessica + Norman

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Norman & Jessica's Destination Wedding + Photography Adventure (Part 10)

Part 10 - Sligo

{Need to catch up? Here's the beginning, and here's Part 9 where we left off..}

Norman had been telling me about Sligo pretty much since we met, so it was really nice to finally get there and see it for myself. He didn't exaggerate - the sand dunes at the beach are stunning, and it's just generally a lovely place :) Also, the surfing scenes from Point Break were filmed nearby which is an added bonus if you happened to have a huge Point Break movie poster on the ceiling above your bed as a teenager ;) (just to be clear - that was me, not Norman!). And as usual, we pretty much had all this gorgeous scenery to ourselves..

 I love this about my husband - he has pretty much left our initials in hearts on every available flat surface we've come across (in five countries so far..). We also built a tiny Inukshuk on the pebble beach like good Canadians do everywhere :) We walked all the way to the "end" and around the corner to sit in the sun and enjoy the view and the dramatic pre-rain sky..
 After our lovely walk down the beach, we went back to the town to do some wedding photos in the pub near right near the beach. We thought it would be very "Irishy" to have Guinness - this was my first (and likely last!) sip of Guinness ever so I'm glad it was in Ireland :) They had one table (below) where you could actually pour your own pints and save yourself the trip all the way up to the bar.. I can only imagine there have been a couple of shocking credit card bills that have resulted from this!
 I have to admit to not even coming close to finishing that pint, which seemed to please the guys at the bar that we left it with ;) 
Part of what I loved about our room at the B&B was the great gold frame she had on the wall (which you can sort of see behind me in this picture on the left..) - you may recognize it as the one I ended up using for our wall art piece that was a collage of 10 images from our wedding trip and party (right) and it completely fits in with our "real life" gold frames at home!

I loved our trip around Ireland :) We saw and did such an amazing variety of awesome things, and the people of course are so lovely and friendly :) I can't wait to go back! If you're planning on going, Norman would be very happy to offer suggestions..

After our 8 days of driving around the country, we headed back to Norman's sister Elaine's place for a few days of relaxing, visiting, and planning for the family party near the end of our stay. Our next stop was Alicante, Spain! Just to give you a quick impression, this was the view if you looked up from the breakfast table where we stayed :) How awesome is that?!

Stay tuned for our Spanish adventures, coming soon!

Jessica + Norman

Gown: Cabaret Vintage
Veil + fascinator: Oh Dina!
Photography: Jessica Lin Photography

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Shinsedai Cinema Festival - countdown to Japan trip!

As you may or may not already know, I've wanted to go to Japan for over a decade now. I can't entirely explain why, I just love Japan in my mind and it's been a dream of mine to one day go there. When Norman and I were talking about this 6 months ago, he said "let's go then" - and somehow something that I'd been putting off for years was something I was booking flights for as I dusted off my Japanese language CDs. {At this point I should admit that my whole life I thought I was a romantic-dreamer sort of person.. and then I met my lovely husband, for whom the notion of "can't" doesn't seem to exist. He makes me look like a pessimist. I guess that's what happens when you grow up in the land of Lepprechauns and Fairies :) }

Anyways - we've booked our flights, have so far learned how to introduce ourselves, count to 10 and discuss our hobbies. I've been devouring books about Japan, both memoirs by other foreigners who've visited and translations of Japanese literature (currently reading "Diaries of Court Ladies of Old Japan" - awesome!). We've been trying to talk to everyone we know who's ever been there. So even though I know that the Shinsedai Cinema Festival showcasing Japanese films wasn't planned especially for us, the timing was perfect :)

It was a four-day festival at the Revue Cinema and included 12 main films and a selection of shorts that were shown before the main ones. (Three of the "main films" where actually collections of shorter pieces as well, and one was a double-bill of two hour-long "Pink Films"). I'm sure there will be loads of proper film critics out there writing about these films, so I'm just going to mention what were my personal favourite moments from the weekend..

I got the Deluxe Festival Pass, and went to everything. Norman had a 5-film pass. Here's what we saw:

Ringing in Their Ears - this was Norman's favourite. It was half documentary about a Japanese indie band about to break out into major lable stardom, and half imagined stories about a handful of fictional fans of the band. It was preceded by one of the best shorts of the festival, Back. This followed two kids in reverse as they walked through the streets, with all sorts of excitement around them.

Enter the Cosmos: Takashi Makino Special - This was a collection of three shorter pieces of "experimental filmaking". I'm going to be honest, I'm not THAT arty. I did fall asleep in part of the middle and last films, which were incredibly abstract and a bit psychedelic. I - more than once - wondered "how much longer?". But here's the crazy thing: watching something that isn't actually demanding anything from your brain as far as paying attention goes, allows your mind to sort of float around. At first it was my never-ending "to-do" list very vividly presenting itself. And then my mind wandered in a way that I don't normally have time to let it do. By the end of the movies I was a bit bored and a bit relieved to be going home - but after leaving, I felt really awake creatively.. it was sort of like exfoliation for whatever part of the mind is in charge of "possibilities" and "ideas", the part that gathers dust as we worry about paying bills and meeting deadlines. So these three films were not something I would say I enjoyed as films, but I would say I enjoyed the experience they gave me - which was a very unexpected and great one.

Ghost Cat & The Mysterious Shamisen - this was cool because it was an old (1938) black & white horror film, with all the women running around in kimonos.

Zero Man vs. The Half Virgin - really funny, loved the foreigner speaking bad Japanese (that will be us!) and a great ending. It was preceded by a short called Dark on Dark about a very busty woman going around placing her breast on men's heads to cheer them up - a good pairing :)

The Naked Summer - a documentary about butoh dancing. It follows a group of around 40 people at a butoh dance retreat, leading up to an awesome final performance where everyone wore not much more than gold paint and danced by torchlight. This was beautiful and was one of my favourites.

{in between these films I met my awesome friend Amanda for ice cream and a walk down Roncesvalles - this strip has changed a lot since I lived near it 7 years ago, and has some fantastic little shops and places for ice cream!}

From the Great White North: Yubari Fanta Special - this included three shorter films: Hole and Pole, The Student Wrestler, and Mrs. Akko and Her Husband. All were really good; I especially loved the humour of the first one (where highschool students are taught to overcome their enemies by out-pleasuring them), and the second one was also really funny (a documentary about the lives of student wrestlers and their lack of girlfriends).

End of the Night - I didn't really like this one as much as many of the others, although it ended up getting an honourable mention as the film that very nearly won the audience award, so obviously other people must have really liked it..

Battle Girls & Bondage: a Pink Film Double bill - both these movies were entertaining (the first one had a great low-budget mid-80's hilarity factor), but for me the highlight by far was the live performance right before the films. A dancer in a sexy-tized kimono wielded two gauze-wrapped fans in such a way that it literally looked as if she was dancing with jelly fish. It was so beautiful. There was also a short documentary about the history and making of Pink Films, which was really interesting and funny.

Hiroshima Nagasaki Download - this was awesome. It was a documentary about the survivors of the atomic bombs who are now living in North America, and also ended up being about the emotional and psychological journey that the filmmakers experienced while travelling around and interviewing their subjects. We both really loved this film, and it won the audience award. It was preceded by one of the best shorts, called On This Side, about an elderly couple struggling with illness. I don't think a single word was spoken from either character, but the visuals and the music beautifully showed a heartbreaking story. I cried. And then after the feature documentary there was an interview on stage with a Hiroshima survivor which was also nothing short of amazing.

Good For Nothing - also not one of my favourites..

Beyond Anime: The Outer Limits - this was a collection of animated pieces curated by festival co-director Jasper Sharp to showcase the vast variety of non-Anime animation being created in Japan.. a lot of it was a bit dark in theme, most of it was very good. Also due to the lack of subtitles it was another time during the weekend when I felt my mind was free to just absorb and enjoy.

{I actually went for a short walk after this screening and took some amazing photos in the neighbourhood :) Three of these images ended up being part of my 7-image submission to my first ever photography competition that was completed on Monday.. here's one of them:
Plus, I somehow had time to find the best kid's book ever (called "Go the F##k to Sleep") in a great bookstore on Roncesvalles, which I brought home with me because everyone should have a copy of this book.}

Tentsuki - I had a couple of moments when I wondered what the heck was going on in this film, and did it matter, and was I enjoying it even if it didn't make much sense..? There were some really beautiful shots though, so I enjoyed the watching of it (if that makes sense). And at the very end, I suddenly thought of Kafka. And how in the end none of his work really went anywhere or made any sense, but you somehow loved him in spite of it. That's how I felt about this film :)

Phew! It was a marathon that involved much planning ahead with snacks and meals, much stretching between screenings, much adding and subtracting of clothing layers due to the extreme heat outside and air conditioning inside, and much smiling :) I can't thank co-programmers Chris MaGee and Jasper Sharp enough for a fantastic experience and a great launch into the planning of our trip! If you missed the festival this year and have any interest in Japan or independant films, make sure to catch it next year!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Nathalie + Rich - Gorgeous Maternity Session

I first met Nathalie when she and Rich started dating, and she became my first ever client-who-turned-into-a-good-friend :) That was over a decade ago now, and lots has happened. They had a beautiful fall wedding almost 6 years ago (which I had the honour of photographing), they bought a house, and now... they're having a baby! We got together this past weekend to capture this exciting time for them :)

 Something I've always loved about Nathalie + Rich is how sweet they are together - how kissy and cuddly and fun and giggly..
I'm so in love with this last shot! 

Not only did we have a great time shooting this maternity session, but we then met up a couple of hours later to go see Ghostbusters in Riverdale Park! It was such a great evening, and we can't wait to meet and photograph Nathalie + Rich's tiny newborn in a couple of months :)

You guys are awesome!

Jessica + Norman

{if you're expecting a tiny new addition to your own family and would love gorgeous maternity and newborn portraits of your own - email us now for more information! We also do gift certificates and registry - inquire for details!}

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Happy Times at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition

Just a quicky post today to pass along some of my favourite finds at the TOAE (on July 6-8, 2012 at Nathan Philips Square) - the show was amazing and worth braving the weather to walk around it! We met so many great artists, and all of them also turned out to be really lovely people :)

I'm pretty sure if I'd had an infinite budget, I still could have spent it all! With a far-from-infinite budget, we made a very hard decision and chose this little beauty by Charlene Serdan to come home with us:

It looks awesome in our kitchen in this old golden frame we had!

Here, in no particular order, are some of the artists I loved the most:

Mark Gleberzon - had these amazing multi-media pieces full of vintage finds, really beautifully put together. He also has a gallery in Cabbagetown that I can't wait to check out..
Soyeon Michelle Kim - makes beautiful whimsical dioramas that reminded me a bit of my Alligator Pie book from when I was a kid..
James Wardhaugh - glass artist, beautiful colours and nice clean shapes
Adam Colangelo - makes these fantastic "quilted" pieces out of copper - amazing textures in the turquoise and orange pieces
Silvia Taylor - arabesque-inspired shapes in glass, with copper fused onto them
Julia Hepburn - fairytale-ish (and somewhat dark) little sculptured scenes in boxes
Pamela Mingo - awesome paintings on archival maps of Toronto, using really beautiful colour combinations
Pauline Thompson - at first glance her worked seemed deceptively simple, but the longer I looked at the  layers of "scribbles" ("love" and "joy" written millions of times) the harder it was to look away...
Will Ruppel - amazing glass pieces, especially loved his little sprout with all the roots showing underground (and we had a lovely chat with him and his mom - all artists should bring their moms to shows with them!)
Patti Harris - has been collecting vintage watch-makers cases, and filling them with vials of treasures and themed collages in the lids (also had a lovely talk with her about art)

We also had the pleasure of seeing lots of artists we've already met at other shows, but always love to see again :)

Tanya Kirouac - does beautiful encaustic paintings, layered with secret bits of music and full of garden imagery
Lori Klassen - juicy and sensual paintings, mostly of women, flowers, and fruit
Maureen O'Connor - amazing photographer, really beautiful and graphic images of beautiful derelict and abandoned spaces
Charlene Serdan - another great photographer, soft and dreamy images of flowers and farm scenes (and the artist responsible for the lovely magnolia image we bought a print of, above)

Anne Renouf - lovely semi-abstract landscapes and seascapes

Suzanne Ernst - photo-based multi-media, her whole booth feels like an ideal daydreamy Sunday
Clayton Haigh - amazingly textured glass pieces
Laurie Skantzos - beautiful paintings that I can't even describe full of life and colour (looking forward to photographing them in the near future!)
Michelle Mendlowitz - gorgeous ceramic pieces with awesome hits of bright orange to surprise you

It was such a great day and I smiled all the way home :) The world seemed suddenly like a much more beautiful place than it had seemed only a day before - I love how great art can do that to you, can lift your heart and put a skip in your step :)

Thank you so much also to all the lovely artists who were so generous with their advice about transporting, packing, displaying, and protecting artwork for outdoor shows - I am currently knee-deep in preparation for my own first show at the Queen West Art Crawl at Trinity Bellwoods Park this September 14-16! A special thanks to Suzanne Ernst for the advice to "just go ahead and apply" in spite of my doubts about being "ready enough" :)

Jessica + Norman

Friday, July 6, 2012

Tiny Sweet Newborn Olivia Jane

A couple of months ago, we met up with Caroline and Graham in Kensington Market to do an awesome graffiti maternity session - they are really such a lovely couple and a pleasure to photograph :) So it was with great anticipation that we waited for the day we got to meet and photograph their beautiful new addition to the family.. introducing Miss Olivia Jane:
 It was a hot day when we came to visit, but this tiny girl was very co-operative through multiple changes of outfits and locations (I think this purple dress with the orange bows was my favourite!)
 Caroline made this amazing quilt (above) with the help of Graham's talented Aunt - I love the little owls! One of the best parts about photographing newborn babies is watching the new parents' expressions.. I love these next shots :)
 How perfect is she!?
Thank you Olivia for being an absolute princess, and thank you Caroline & Graham for allowing us to share in this special time in your lives! We can't wait to see what she'll look like in a few months.. :)

Jessica + Norman

{If you are expecting your own perfect new addition to the family and would like to talk to us about creating memories of this priceless part of your lives - email us now for more information :) }