When I am photographing a wedding, reunion or proposal people are the stars. Specifically, the bride and groom, the entire family or the fiancé to be. When I photograph a house, home or AirBnb, it is the structure.
This summer, I had two separate opportunities to photograph events at Olana State Historic Site. In each instance, the event itself was the star. I was enlisted to capture both The Olana Partnership’s annual fundraising gala – a Summer Party, and the site’s annual Summer Market.
The assignments, essentially, were to record the events in photos capturing some of the excitement and energy while not missing the attendees – particularly the VIPs. Easier said than done, I found, when the first event was on perhaps the hottest day of the year and most folks sought the refuge of shade deep inside a massive tent.
But Jonathan Ment Photography is not without skills … and experience.
I’ve photographed garden weddings so hot the brides wilted and the food possibly unsafe.
I’ve photographed outdoor weddings where the rain threatened to wash even the tents away and couples found themselves no choice but to embrace the mud.
I’ve photographed parties so windy, there wasn’t enough hairspray in the world to keep hair in place and out of faces.
When you’re working with outdoor events, some amount of just-in-case planning is a necessity. A little shade from the sun, a little protection from the rain, a little straw for the mud. That’s the reality.
The way most folks will cooperate with a photographer on special occasions always warms my heart. Just for an instant, whether connecting with a single subject, a small group or an entire family posing for a portrait,there’s a moment where everyone comes together and makes it a success.
At the Olana Summer Party, there were a few instances where that connection could be felt. The smiles are more genuine. The energy radiates from the eyes.
For the Summer Market, the day I was on scene with cameras was more sparsely attended than the day before and folks knew it – but that energy could still be conjured up.
A funny thing about working at this historic site, the former home and lands of 19th Century break out artist Frederic Church, is that the grounds should be the star. In other words, it’s 250 acres of ‘artist designed landscape,’ or at least those acres of 250 which have been restored or rehabilitated to Church’s design.
I can creatively capture architecture and its seasonal surroundings, but I do not stake out waterfalls for weeks waiting for the perfect shot or stalk wildlife hoping I will eventually go unnoticed and capture the uninhibited private moments of an active squirrel.
At least not yet… But I know a beautiful sky when I see it. I know how to include that backdrop to bring out the best in my human subjects.
I’ve always said I photograph “any subject, any time, anywhere,” so if you have a fundraiser you need photographed, a reunion you want recorded, a party, you need preserved … or a wedding you want to while away the years to come looking back at, let’s talk!
Thanks for reading,
Jonathan Ment, Photographer