2017 Year-in-Review from City Love Photography

When referencing the year 2017, a lot of people prefer to use the phrase
"dumpster fire."

And while I would heartily agree that the state of our world continues to contain within it
a staggering amount of awful, I am as always buoyed by the presence + persistence
of our most human needs:

to connect in a genuine way with others,
to be our vibrant + undeniable selves,
and to share the moments bitter and sweet with the ones we love.

Even amidst the less-heartening parts,
2017 to me was filled with this positive energy.

 

Bec + Amos slaying the dance floor in January at the Green Building in Brooklyn

Hannah + Noah mugging with their hysterical family at MyMoon in Williamsburg in April

 

In 2017, I photographed: 
17 celebrations of marriage
two baby showers
a 40th SURPRISE birthday party (she was really surprised!)
a proposal (she was also surprised!)
and a bar mitzvah
(he was not surprised, as he was totally prepared for his big day)
as well as engagements, events, and portraits

I spent time in Chicago, Saratoga Springs, Cleveland, Quebec City, Montreal, Los Angeles,
San Francisco, and Copenhagen, as well as my main squeeze, NYC.

 
 

All of these marvelous people and places I am grateful to know and photograph;
each wedding, celebration, event, person, place is a whole universe of beauty, complexity,
and perhaps most importantly: quirky fun.

 

Nate during the most intense + fantastic rendition of Paradise by the Dashboard Light
I have ever seen at The Garrison in Garrison, NY

 

Thank you for hiring me to photograph the people you love,
and the memories you want to hold onto forever.

I'm grateful for another year of doing this work,
photographing your marriages and milestones,
laughing with you until our stomaches are sore
and spending time with your wild + wonderful communities. 

Hope you enjoy this look back on 2017 that is not at all dumpster-fire-etic.

And if you know anyone getting married in 2018 or 2019
who is looking for a photographer for their unconventional and awesome wedding,
please share this post with them
and encourage them to drop me a line
over at the Contact page!

Here's to many more adventures in the new year...

xo,

Alexis

the garrison ny wedding photographer

Alison + Nate on their wedding day in February, featuring Alison's rad Phantom Tollbooth tattoo

prospect park wedding photographer

Hannah clearly not having any fun at all on her wedding day as she prepped at the William Vale

green building wedding photographer brooklyn mod cloth wedding dress feminist jewish wedding

Aideen + Niall came all the way from Dublin, Ireland, to elope in NYC in August

Elena surprised Alex with a freakin awesome song at their wedding in September.

And one final leap for 2017:
the groom's brother literally backflipping for joy
during the backyard wedding of Emily + Oz in September

Rebecca + Amos // Fun, Feminist Wedding at The Green Building

I loved how intentional Bec + Amos were about their winter wedding celebration
at The Green Building this past January.

At its core, their wedding was about the two of them (fun, funky fresh, feminist),
their union (based on mutual trust, admiration, and a love of emojis),
and sharing their joy with their community (on the dance floor).

All of the details were meaningful and present because they fit in with their central philosophy
as a couple. The awesome Amy from Modern Rebel & Co was there to make everything flow smoothly, and things did get fantastically, wonderfully weird.

Congratulations to Bec + Amos,
and here's to all the wonderful, wedded weirdos out there! 

xo,

A

P.S. I love working with intentional, wonderfully weird couples! For more information about working together, get in touch over at the Contact page
 

Venue: The Green Building // Hotel: The Dazzler // Planning: Modern Rebel & Co
Rebecca's Attire: Modcloth // Florals: Wyld // Catering: Night Kitchen
DJ: Scratch Weddings  // Make-up: Anny Chow // Second Photographer: Erika Koop Photography

 

City Love Travel Essay: San Francisco, Oakland + Los Angeles

I've been low-key obsessed with California since I was 12 or 13. That was the summer that our family took a trip, which found us Buryks skipping around to the La Brea tarpits and Grauman's theater, up the coastal highway to the aquarium at Monterey (seals sunbathing on rocks, Clint Eastwood's house), then over and down the absurdly mountainous hills of San Francisco, by foot, trolley, and car. 

I remember that dry heat, the rocking curves of Route 1, and thinking: someday, I want to live here. At that time, I wanted to be an actress, so it all checked out in my mind. First, I would conquer New York, and then Hollywood would follow close behind.

 
LA Wedding Photographer
 

It's been over a decade since then, and although I haven't lived in California for more than a month at a time, the state and its cities (and humans, of course) have wended their way into my heart and internal narrative. I've gone for conferences, and to visit friends. I went for my first wedding anniversary trip with my husband (plane tickets count as a paper gift, right?) And I went for a month long physical theater program that I affectionately refer to as "clown school," the summer I quit my desk job and committed to live a life of creative pursuit and human connection, paving the way for City Love Photography to exist.

That summer, California was there for me, shaping indelibly what it means for me to be creative, ambitious, ever curious and free.

I blame the palm trees. 

 
2017_LA_Wedding_Photographer-2.jpg
 

This past trip was vacation, pure and simple. A chance to reconnect with dear friends, see San Francisco, Oakland, and Los Angeles, and to support my former client (and now friend!) Hala Alyan on her book tour (I'm basically a literary groupie).

In Berkeley and Oakland, I was blown away as usual by the mellowness of the energy. SF looms large and frenetic, while East Bay plays it cool and calm. In NYC, I rarely stop to consider the natural world; in Berkeley I stared at the pink flowers above for a solid ten minutes, wondering how in the hell such a color could exist in nature. East Bay tickles my hardcore hippie heart, something that doesn't always surface out here in New York.

 
Berkeley Wedding Photographer
LA Wedding Photographer
 
Berkeley Wedding Photographer
 

On campus, Berkeley was abuzz with graduation and move-out day activities. The shopping on Telegraph is quirky and includes such delights at the Mad Monk Center for Anachronistic Media, so how could you not love it?

 
Berkeley Wedding Photographer
Berkeley Wedding Photographer
 

Of course, at some point I hear, "Hey, take MY picture!" and turn to see the gentleman above posing for me. Clowns: they follow me everywhere, especially in northern California.

I laughed, and snapped the photo. 

 
Oakland Wedding Photographer
 

I mean, there's just clearly something about the East Bay sense of humor that appeals to me deeply. A LOL lawn gnome, set against a plant that echoes directly his little lime green hat?! I walked past this to and from my AirBnB in Rockridge every day, and wondered what kind of amazing people lived inside a home so thusly decorated.

 
Berkeley Wedding Photographer
 

In San Fran proper, I hopped around the Mission, Dolores Park, and the Castro. I bought amazingly fragrant chocolate at Dandelion, noshed quiche from Craftsman and Wolves at the park whilst people-watching, and made sure to visit the fantastic Dog Eared Books and GLBT History Museum in the Castro. 

I can't ever get enough of the Bay Area. 

 
Craftsman and Wolves San Francisco
Craftsman and Wolves San Francisco
Dandelion Chocolate San Francisco
 
 
Dolores Park San Francisco
San Francisco Wedding Photographer
 
Castro Harvey Milk San Francisco
 
The Castro San Francisco
 
The Castro San Francisco
 

When it came time for the LA portion of my trip, I was mostly looking forward to seeing friends. I'd been to LA twice, and as a New Yorker and person who primarily understands and appreciates cities by walking, I had some hard and fast opinions (read: jaded hangups) on this "Los Angeles" place.

 
Los Angeles Wedding Photographer
Los Angeles Wedding Photographer
 
Los Angeles Wedding Photographer
Los Angeles Wedding Photographer
 

(Photos Above: When your best friend, Jessie, secretly makes you a dinner reservation at the restaurant of your shared favorite reality television program [yes, SUR, yes, Vanderpump Rules], and you ask her to smile for a photo, but first she insists on hugging a honeysuckle bush...you know she's a keeper.)

 
Hollywood Stars Los Angeles
Lizard in Los Angeles
 

I was so pleasantly surprised to find myself enamored by LA. Having great friends in a place certainly contributes to warm vibes anywhere, but this visit to LA I tried to stay open-minded and know it on its own terms. I found it to be a place where the unapologetically laidback meets the unapologetically ambitious. I was struck by the amazing landscape of mountains meeting desert meeting ocean, and the small-but-cool downtowns at the center of every neighborhood, each one unique and with its own quirky character. 

The "city" as a whole is not walkable by any stretch of the imagination. But for the first time, I was able to get over my New Yorker-ness, and I could definitely see why people love LA. 

I was tickled to feel in myself, in my deeply chrome-and-sunset-over-the-Hudson heart, a pang of missing the place and wanting more as my plane sped off the runway at LAX.  

Los Feliz Art
 
Los Feliz Art
 

So here's to getting out and about, to finding new selves in new places. 

To reconnecting with old friends, to keeping our circle of community ever-widening.

And to falling in love with a city as it is, and not as we expect it to be. 

California, you're a total babe. Hope to see you again soon.

xo,
A