Below is a great article by Borrowed & Blue about my friend, colleague and amazing photographer, Jessica Lewis from Santa Barbara. She mentions us working together on a wedding way back in 2002 and wanting to work together again. I’m in, Jessica!
Everyone loves a story about a girl starting from the bottom and working her tush off to the top, and Santa Barbara wedding photographer Jessica Lewis is the real thing. You will love her story, but more than that, you will go crazy for her photographs! Full of natural light, her images really tell a story, and more specifically, the story of a moment. If her images make me, a stranger, feel all warm & fuzzy inside, just imagine how they make her brides, grooms, and their families feel.
What led you to wedding photography?
In 2001, I walked into the high-end wedding photography studio of John Barber with a small budding interest in photography and saw a huge mural photograph of a beautiful bride in a huge gorgeous wedding dress, and I was in awe. Then I sat down and started looking at gorgeous $2,000-$4,000 wedding albums, again in awe of this man’s work. Then a girl walked out, asked how she could help me, and I said I would work for free on days I was not working at my other job. She told me to go back outside and come in and ask for a job. This was the beginning. I knew within a year and a half or so of working at the studio & going to these beautiful weddings and taking a 101 photo class at a small community college in the OC this was the job for me, but I could never figure out how to make my photos look anything like John’s or Melissa’s…. So it was time to go to school. I started Brooks in early 2003 and I graduated with a Bachelor’s Degree in Photography with my major in Digital Imaging.
What do you love most about being a wedding photographer?
I love the excitement & emotion of the day. I love it when a mother looks at her daughter just after she puts on her dress, or the way a father looks back at his daughter just after he gives her away. The quiet nerves of the groom, and the look on his face when he sees the woman he loves looking like herself, but in a way he’s never seen her look, always stunning, and always both are less nervous once they have seen each other. I love the first dances, especially the father-daughter dances; as a married woman that was a moment that I remember well from my wedding and often I tear up during it still (but I always keep shooting!). These are moments in time that are gone in an instant. This is the most important day of your lives, this is the person you are going to spend your life with, and this is the celebration of it. I believe in weddings big and small, and I believe in photography, and when the two meet it can be magic… or a mess. The person you choose is very important.
If you weren’t a professional wedding photographer, what would you be doing?
I’d be only a mother to my son, and take lots of photographs of him. Photography is it for me.
What has been your most memorable wedding to date?
Shannon & Patrick, my first wedding at San Ysidro Ranch, a beautiful wedding venue in Montecito, CA. Shannon was six months pregnant (but this was not a shotgun wedding) and their love story was very special and very beautiful, but theirs to tell. They had 10 guests & the groom went surfing before the wedding. He wiped a tear from her eye just after they walked down the aisle. I have that photo in an album. It was just beautiful. 🙂
If you could choose one famous photographer throughout all space & time to spend a day shooting with, who would it be?
I have worked with Elizabeth Messina, John Barber (probably the two most brilliant photographers I’ve had the pleasure of working with, and I would not trade that experience for anything), and many other great photographers, as I worked for a lot of photographers second-shooting professionally while in school…. but at this very moment, I would love to work with my friend Melissa Mullen of Melissa Mullen Photography again, and rewind it to a wedding I was second-shooting with her way back in 2002… We had so much fun back then! I think about that often at weddings.
If you only had three words to describe your photography style, what would they be?
Artistic. Timeless. Clean.
Can you share three of your favorite images with us from weddings you’ve shot? Tell us why they are your favorites.
Shannon in black & white because it’s just gorgeous and simple and clean.
Danielle’s dress & overlooking West Hollywood. The color is perfect, and the moments are created but the real feel and energy of the day.
Because it’s just that moment when she literally swam into her dress.
What are 3 countries that you’re dying to visit and why?!
Ireland because I have family history there and I love old places with history. All of Europe (maybe Germany); again, history makes me want to visit. The last place I have been to once: Venezuela; the reason is personal 🙂
What’s your favorite dessert shop in Santa Barbara?
I live in Ventura County so I’d have to say Buttercups in Oxnard Shores.
What’s your favorite book and why?
The Red Tent. It just is.
hope ya’ll take the time to read this interview with my Jessica.she is a phenomenal photographer.many cherished moments will be lost with her passing.thank you so much”Racheal”for posting this. i hadn’t seen it before
I miss her! Such a beautiful person
Melissa I was looking you up to get your phone number to call you & then I got involved in reading all this. I loved reading it. It brought Jessie closer to me. We’ve always been so close – I think you know that. I know how much she loved & respected you & I know that you are missing her too. Life can be so, so hard. I hope your life is going well for you now. I sen you much, much love from Jesssie’s grndmother, Barbara Lewis
Wonderful article. She speaks so elequently and heartfelt. Such a blessing that there are insights to her soul left behind for her son to read one day and know her better by. Such a trajedy. Thank you for sharing this.
Thanks for this wonderful sharing Melissa. We miss you too. P.
It’s such a great tribute to all her hard work. P.
Sorry for your lost!!