Even before I met Grace and Kevin, I thought it possible that I already loved them. We’d exchanged emails before our first meet to exchange ideas. Grace quickly shot back a few awesome themes, but it was “Wes Andersen” that caught my fancy. I was excited, then immediately frozen in terror at the thought. Those are some mighty large shoes to pretend to walk with, but we decided to move forward with a Wes-Andersen-themed engagement session.
The most pressing question before us was, “What the heck IS a Wes-Andersen-themed engagement session?” None of us knew. Google mostly provided examples of couples recreating iconic scenes from his films, which wasn’t appealing. Did we shoot this tongue-in-cheek or serious? How much did we incorporate props? Did they find clothes that echoed Wes Andersen characters, or their own personal sense of style? So many questions I’d never considered for a photoshoot before. I wanted something that brought to mind Wes Andersen while keeping my own style and eye, while also keeping Grace and Kevin happy with the outcome. Finally I decided to imagine what it would look like if Wes Andersen directed a romance, in the same way that SNL imagined a Wes Andersen horror.
Over the course of several weeks we contributed to a Pinterest board for theme colors, costumes, and film screen caps we adored. For my part I did loads of research into the films, Wes Andersen and his inspirations, composition, use of color, use of propping, types of equipment, and use of space. Somehow I resisted the temptation to buy any of the anamorphic lenses on Ebay. Even armed with data, I was no more confident that I had any idea what I was doing. We settled on a location, Discovery Park, Grace’s favorite park, and the site of Kevin’s proposal, but I was instantly stumped again since most of Wes Andersen’s films are set inside, with “Moonrise Kingdom” the exception. How was I going to shoot an outdoor engagement session without it ripping off scenes from “Moonrise Kingdom”?
In the end, things kind came together like magic. Grace and Kevin were game for everything I suggested, even laying on scratchy grass or shooting with me until after the sun set. The only thing they (kinda) put a stop to was my suggestion that we meet at 5 am. They were fantastic, quick with suggestions, easily posed, and naturals in front of my camera. In these photos, it’s clear how comfortable we were with each other. I’m really proud of how these photos came out, and while I would never presume they are even anything like Wes Andersen’s work, I hope you can see his inspiration. Enjoy!