Lindsay and Matt Married at Howes Memorial Chapel in Evanston

Lindsay and Matt’s wedding was full of International flair and cultural tradition. Their love for travel and learning was expressed through their details.   Guests arriving to the wedding, picked up small blue programs that looked just like a passports.  They were charmed during the ceremony by a guitarist playing one of Lindsay’s favorite acoustic melodies. Family and friends were introduced to a Afrocentric marriage tradition during the Yoruba tasting ritual, representing  four elements of marriage.  The ceremony shows that despite hardships within a marriage, represented as sour, bitter, and spicy, there is sweetness overall.

At the reception, a collection of Brazilian musicians created drum heavy beats for guests to dance too. Above the sambaing crowd, hung rows of white Mexican paper decorations, and  behind the dance floor, a dessert table was covered with an assortment of Italian cookies.  Chiwara figurines, a tradition of the Bambara people of Mali were the cake toppers.  Lindsay’s father hand carved the pair of antelope that represent renewal, abundance, and teamwork.

Lindsay and Matt brought their love for culture and travel to their wedding.  It was truly a distinct, unforgettable experience.  Congratulations to you both!

Also, quick shout out to my second Tom Root.  Thanks for all your help!

Cake: Janet Lee, Flour Cake & Pastry –
Makeup/Hair: Angelica Rivera, Tigerlilie
Luciano Antonio–
Geraldo de
Reception: Campagnola
Second: Tom Root

Photo Snowfari with Laurie

When I told my Dad yesterday morning that Laurie and I were going on a photo snowfari, he immediately quipped about it being a  a little cold for outdoor boudoir. Funny Dad, real funny.

While our shoots together these days are typically for Revealed, we try to make it a point to exercise our eye in other avenues.  With two feet of snow creating a natural softbox, we agreed a trip outdoors was in order.

I can’t deny I LOVE Montrose Harbor, so we opted to go there. Parents pushed their children down well-worn sled runs, dogs ran circles in the snow, and the light made it all feel magical.

Simply Cold.

It was cold when I woke this morning, but gold light filtered through the windows.

“I’ll take it,” I thought.

The frigid, finger numbing, skin burning, cough inducing winter air is unpleasant, but so long as the sky’s not grey–100 shades of grey, I can deal. I suck it up. I layer. I wear two hats, a sweatshirt, a jacket, fury boots, tights, jeans, double up on the socks, then top it all off with what my aunt calls the “El coat”–a puffy black number covering me from head to nearly toe during the winter months.  It may be fugly, but it’s functional.

Then I play a “get pumped” mix. Today’s included “Power” from Mr. West’s most recent release. I eat my words while listening to the song. A few weeks back I went off on a tirade about Kayne-“I’ve been with him since ‘through the wire,’ but I don’t think he’s that good anymore.”

“Well I hear this ones supposed to be the album of the decade,” Amanda says to me.

“He can’t sing!”

I still don’t think he’s a very good singer, but neither am I. The album…well….I might just be slightly, maybe, sorta kinda, hate to admit it, but if I’m going to be honest, addicted. I can own up when I’m wrong. I was wrong.

So, I’m pumped, dressed, armed with my camera, charged battery, and my arsenal of lenses. Off to North Ave. Here’s the thing about the winter, the days are SO short. In July, you’ve got hours and hours to shoot. Today the sun was set by 4:20;  my grand ambitions of shooting the Lake Shore then heading back to Gary were quickly adjusted. I’ll have to save Gary for another day. Till then…

This last shot is dedicated to my cousin Lizard. Merry Christmas.  I’ll make you a print. <3

It was a hot affair…literally, but tons of fun!

Come rain or high water, nothing could keep Lisa and Rob from  walking down the aisle and having an amazing party afterwards. Nearly seven inches of rain fell in the early morning hours of their wedding day. The downpour flooded the interstate and cut power, creating obstacle after obstacle for the couple.
How did they handle it?  With an amazing sense of humor and unwavering optimism.  They kept a smile even after learning their reception hall, the 19th Century Club in Oak Park, was operating on a single generator and would not be able to run the air conditioner – clearly the time to call specialists from HVAC repair from  At one point in the night, Rob said, “Well, it makes for a memorable story and interesting pictures.”
Gotta love their attitude!
Guests were all in good cheer, slurping down ice cream before it melted and dancing till they sweat…well…ok, maybe they were already “glistening,” but everyone still cut a run. It just goes to show how good energy is contagious! Thanks Lisa and Rob for bringing it, and of course, the fantastic Steve Koo, whom I photographed alongside for this wedding!

Bride looks up at wedding dress while getting ready

Wedding Rings

Groom looks out window into sanctuary after the ceremony has supposed to start
Father-of-the-bride and bride prepare to procede down aisle

Bride and Father of the bride walk down the aisle

Flower girl looks around during the wedding ceremony

Bride smiles during the ceremony at husband

Bride hugs man

Bride smiles alongside groom after they were just married

groom checks iphone after ceremony

Detail of brides dress

Bride holds veil so it won't blow away while crossing street
Waitress' open windows at the 19th century club in oak park
Table place card detail
table setting at reception at the 19th century club in oak park guest escape heat of reception outside on patio of the 19th century club Little boy looks at brides flowers cute Couple feeds baby ice cream at reception at the 19th century club in oak park Guest use photo booth during reception at the 19th century club in oak park Bride and grooms first dance at the 19th century club Groom dances with grand-daughter during reception at the 19th century club in oak park Guest and bride dance at reception 19th century club in oak park Guest and bride dance at reception at the 19th century club in oak park
guest dance at reception at the 19th century club in oak park Little girl cools off by fan

Darlene + Andy=L.O.V.E. & Marriage | A Thai/Korean Wedding

Darlene and Andy’s wedding was a beautiful combination of different cultures.  Their ceremony was sincere and traditional, complete with the exchange of vows, lighting of the unity candle, and kiss to seal the deal. Immediately following their procession, they moved to a room prepared in advance for a Thai customary Water Ceremony where family and guest blessed the couple.

It’s been over a year since my last trip to Thailand, and I’ve missed the people and rituals.  I was excited to learn from Steve Koo, whom I photographed the wedding with, that Andy was Thai.  Both sides were warm and welcoming, but once I said “Sawadee Kaa” (hello) and wai’d to his father, I suddenly felt like family.  For the rest of the night I heard “Chok dee” (good luck) and “Saib bai dee mai kap” (how are you?) from all directions. It was almost like I’d returned to that beloved place I’ve missed so much.”

Darlene beams while having her makeup done.

I love  the lace.

I love the glasses!  

Things were going so well…

And then…. The wedding party was nothing but sympathetic.

Darlene played a song for everyone while her Dad watches in the background.  

Darlene’s Doppleganger. Her mom gave her the socks  with a famous Koren starlight printed on them for a present.

Flowers for the Thai ceremony.

Receiving  a blessing.

Pieces of Panama, part 2.

On a Saturday morning a few months ago, I woke to find a missed alert on my phone from a friend and fellow photographer Laurie.

I dialed my voice mail expecting to hear a message continuing some portion of the conversation we’d had at dinner the night before.  To my surprise, the call was regarding something altogether different.

“Hey Maggie, it’s Laurie.  I talked to Johnny tonight and he said you could come to Panama with us.  We’re thinking about going in the next month or so and we’d really like you to join us!”

I thought about it for about 30 seconds before calling her back to tell her  I was on board.

Johnny, Laurie’s husband, was the point person for our travels. We laid down a few specified a few spots of interest (the canal,  countryside, and Caribbean) and he did the rest. A week before our departure he even showed me the excel spreadsheet coordinating our days’ activities in clear color-coated blocks of time. His enthusiasm for Panama was contagious, especially with the constant promise of hammock time on the beach.

I could only spare 5 days for the trip with my schedule, but I feel like I got a real taste of the country.  The people were warm and laughed easy.  Johnny’s family was wonderful.  His mom made a number of tasty meals for us, delighting my palette with tamales, a sweet yogurt drink, fresh fruit, and other treats I snarfed down.  To our delight, Marco, Johnny’s cousin spent three days with us. Marco knows a lot about Panama and was really patient with my constant queries about “that over there,” or “the history of this spot.”

The photos below chronicle a lot of our adventures, from our morning hike at the Smithsonian owned island, Barro Colorado, to our day at the Caribbean.

With Laurie, Johnny, and his family as my guide, I was able to see SO much of Panama… I had such a great time, and am already looking forward to the next visit.

Passenger’s reflection on the boat ride to Barro Colorado Island.      

The canal

A shared laugh.

The Jungle

Bus Station.


Our boat driver to the island.

El Cristo Negro

The little Chinese owned Panamanian spot. Delicious.

The marriage of Jamie + Phil

I’m blown away when I pause and consider the privilege I’m given each wedding I document.  I fell in love with photojournalism while flipping through pages of National Geographic. Amongst articles featuring Inuits in Canada, or barracudas in the deep blue, famous photographers like Steve McCurry and Joel Satore presented pieces from across the World documenting special rights ceremonies. No matter what you call them, how they’re officiated, or what hemisphere they’re held, marriages are universal ceremonies between two people–a pinnacle point in their lifelong story, which I’m grateful to witness and document.

Phil and Jamie were quiet when I first met them. They were reserved, composed, and polite.  During their wedding they were moving.

Emotion filled the air; tissues touched corner’s of eyes and sniffles were muffled behind cupped hands.  From the people in the back row to the photographer crouching in the corner (me), I wager not a single person was left unmoved.

Thanks to Steve Koo for bringing me along as a second, and to Jame and Phil.What a beautiful ceremony.  Did I mention we had a blast at the reception?