A Los Angeles friend recently asked me how living in the bay area was treating me. Usually I respond with the expected, "It's great! I love it. *smile*" but this is one of those friends who I have always felt is worthy of a truthful answer. Living in the bay area is great, don't get wrong- I do love it- but like any thing in life, sometimes things are hard to let go of. Here is the answer I gave him.
"I feel as though LA sort of allows you to always feel a little bit like a 20-something no matter your age ... but when you move out of it, it's like a curtain is drawn behind you and adult-hood is your only option! I find myself missing the Meg who lived on Los Feliz Blvd, drank beer at The Rustic, saw live music every weekend, commuted to art school, flew to New York to visit her boyfriend who was recording an album, and worked in the photo lab. Getting older feels like heart break sometimes!"
In so many words, sometimes I don't necessarily miss LA but I long for what LA represented in my life. Freedom, fun, a world unknown, exploration, growth, experience... that moment when you are living for the present. When you are on the brink of something really really good but haven't yet fully grasped what that something is and just how big of a part it will play in your future. People who come into your life at those moments, I believe, are forever with you. Maybe not in a physical sense but most definitely in a spiritual one. My dear friend, and Glamour blogger, Rosemary and I were discussing this over lunch today. We were talking about this one picturesque hot summer day after work (these were the days of Conde Nast) when a bunch of us young kids from the magazine convened at Tim and I's apartment in Los Feliz for a bbq. It was sweltering hot- we had the fans blowing and ice-cold spiked Arnold Palmers to keep us tipsy enough not to melt. Chris brought some gluten free "rusks" for us all to enjoy from the local Nature Mart and we still laugh about it now. We all piled into cars after eating and went to see Tim's band play a show somewhere in Silverlake. It was a simple summer day in Los Feliz shared between work friends - but the memory of it is so sweet it makes my mouth water. None of us were at the magazine very long, for most of us it was just the space between then and now. The places we have all gone from that moment to now are nothing short of impressive. It's comforting to know that my profession seemingly brings me back into the lives of these individuals who watched me grow into the person I am today; that a quick e-mail to talk about our well- being is enough to keep us connected for life. It's easier to let LA go when I know I'll really always be there in some way.
It's hard sometimes to not let nostalgia take over my present state of mind but documenting love has a beautiful way of keeping you connected to your past. When you have friends turned clients, like Ben and Hutchi, it's a special blend. When I moved into my Los Feliz apartment Hutchi was my neighbor. Tim was touring like crazy so I was living with my cousin and Hutchi, having not yet met Ben, was living with a friend ... I remember drinking a lot of wine over at her place that year. :) I don't even want to count the years we have known each other but Hutchi and Ben knew me years before I even wanted to be a wedding photographer- they knew me when I started shooting professionally.. started lugging my gear up and down the back stairs, started meeting clients out of my living room. When they got engaged last year I squealed! I have been dreaming of photographing them for awhile and am so thankful that they trust my talent!
It wouldn't have been their engagement photos if we did not take them in Los Feliz. We wandered around the streets up in the hills, took images in and around our old apartment building, and ended our session in a field up near the Observatory. It was a really beautiful day in so many ways and I can't wait to photograph their wedding in Kentucky in June.
Maybe I'm just sappy when it comes to memories. I have always been one to document life. I kept pretty extensive journals and bins of mementos for my parents attic to house over the years and have never been good at letting things go. Or perhaps it's my profession of literally making a memory that makes it even harder for me to leave places and people behind. Either way, I am thankful that I still get to be a part of Hutchi and Ben's story. I am thankful that LA and I may not see each other on a regular basis anymore but we haven't forgotten each other completely.