I can’t imagine a shoot that better exemplifies Paul and my journey as wedding photographers as ShaunaRae’s epic “Trash the Dress” shoot in Philadelphia’s Wissahickon Creek. ShaunaRae booked us for her wedding 2 years before the actual date. While there are wedding photographers who believe that it’s best to keep a professional distance from their clients, I’m overjoyed when our couples “friend” us on facebook, and ShaunaRae is a perfect example of why. Wedding photography is deeply personal. Over those two years, every photo she liked, showed me a little more of what she wanted. I feel like I got to know her and her family and the things she was most passionate about. Her star-wars, vintage themed wedding, which was featured on Offbeat Bride, was one of my favorites. I couldn’t have been more happy when she called me less than a year after her wedding for a Trash the Dress shoot.
We love shooting in the Wissahickon, and have done TONS of engagement shoots there, so we know some great little spots. I had been thinking of doing an Ophelia shoot in the Wissahickon with a model, when I thought there may be a way to merge our Ophelia ideas with ShaunaRae’s Trash the Dress shoot. She asked about smoke bombs which we LOVE using. Unfortunately, they don’t get a drop of color on clothing and we really wanted color on the dress, so we combined smoke bombs with Holi powder, which we’ve been playing with in photo shoots for several years. I knew that ShaunaRae’s current unicorn hair was a deep purple, so I got smoke bombs and holi powder in colors that would compliment her hair as well as the cool blues and greys of the Wissahickon.
I also knew from our facebook friendship that I could go dark and creepy with ShaunaRae. I know that she’s ballsy and emotionally open and introspective. But the Wissahickon was cold, and with an hour and a half of shooting time, we decided to keep her as dry and clean as possible in the beginning so we’d have some pretty shots before the total destruction. I think that’s the sweet spot in a Trash the Dress shoot. Using a portion of your time to get the shots that can’t happen on a wedding day due to timing, or a fear of getting the dress dirty, or the venue location is pure gold. It turned our shoot into a story about color and finding the beauty in destruction and of survival, all common themes in our fine art work. Trash the Dress shoots are so much fun, but it’s more important to me to find the beauty within them and create unique artwork that’s just as worthy of hanging on a wall as a wedding photo. I can’t wait to order a huge metal print of ShaunaRae covered in power, surrounded by smoke. And I CANNOT thank her, or any of our clients enough for the trust they put in us.
All photos by Lori Foxworth and Paul Cofield of Black, White and Raw Photography