Chasing Unicorns :: A Birthday Guest Post by Mystery Man

by wendy

Hi everyone. It’s Wendy’s birthday and I wanted to give her a day off.  We’ll be returning to our regularly scheduled outfit posts tomorrow :).

So much has happened since my last guest post, but I wanted to share with you one of our most memorable moments since that time.  It was the photoshoot for the first look in our Luisa Via Roma Style Lab session we shot earlier this year. The Luisa Via Roma Style Lab event is truly one of a kind. The company and family make everyone feel extremely welcome and the city of Florence is magical. As we had the honor and fortune of being invited back, we really wanted to prove ourselves and lift our photography game this second time around.

Whenever we shoot photos, Wendy and I always strive to create the most beautiful images possible. In many ways, we are always chasing this notion of a “perfect image”. To be honest, I’m not even sure if a perfect image even exists, so maybe that’s not the best term to describe it.  It’s more like we know it doesn’t exist, akin to a mythical creature such as the unicorn.  But we chase after it anyways.  The adventure in chasing after the unicorn is what’s so exciting, and we were hoping for an exciting chase in Florence.

One minor oversight we had during our first Style Lab was that we didn’t scout our locations at the right times and ran into sun issues when we shot. So this time, just as Wendy was finalizing her outfit, I dashed off to scout a nearby rooftop. We knew the rooftop could be very tricky in the afternoon. If sun was out at all, it would create very harsh shadows making it incredibly difficult to pull off a good shot. But I went up there and was met with this glorious view of the Duomo and an overcast sky. It was the best setting we could ask for.

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So I quickly headed back to the store and caught Wendy right as she finished putting on the dress and finalized the accessories. She looked absolutely beautiful. Stunning. In Italian, I believe the appropriate term is “Bella! Bella!”

As we headed up the mechanical elevator to the roof, I was getting increasingly nervous. So many little things could prevent us from pulling off a great shot. Maybe the sun would sneak out or maybe another group had gone up and claimed the space. It was also a very cold January in Florence, so I wasn’t sure how many shots we could take before Wendy risked catching a cold. But as we walked outside onto the rooftop, the first sign that something magical was about to happen fell upon our ears. We heard the beautiful sound of a choir singing.

In the time I had left the scout, apparently a children’s choir had assembled outside the front of the Duomo and starting performing. It was absolutely enchanting. If you had given us some glasses of Chianti, we probably could’ve stayed up there and made a whole afternoon out of it. But unfortunately, we didn’t know how long the sun would stay kind to us, so we had to move quickly.

We started to shoot and Wendy looked amazing. Due to the structure of the roof though, the walls were a bit high and hogged a good part of the image.   And when I previewed the shots to Wendy, she even said it before I could.

Wendy: “The wall.” I nodded.

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So we tried several different angles and positions to minimize the wall, but none seemed to work. The wall was being a very stubborn wall. I kept trying to devise a better angle when I heard Wendy say:

“What if I stand on the ledge?”

Now first and foremost, let me just say that while Wendy might not be afraid of heights, I most definitely am. I am deathly afraid of heights. Enough where even seeing other people close to edges makes me incredibly  nervous.

We’ve taken photos in the past that appear height-scary, but usually it’s more of an illusion and far more safe in real life than in photos.

This time though, we were about five floors up and that wonderful choir below looked very, very small. The ledge wasn’t super thin, but for someone like me, it was far too risky. Before I could say anything though, Wendy was already taking off her shoes.

Wendy: “Let me just take off my shoes.”

MM: “Uh…, I dunno. We’re really high up.”

Wendy: “I think it’s safe. The ledge seems wide enough.”

I looked over the edge again. There was a gutter to the building, but that gutter would mean absolutely nothing if she slipped.

MM: “Yea, I don’t know…”

Wendy: “I’ll be fine.”

I could see in her eyes that she really wanted to try it.

And this is what I really love about Wendy. The reason she wanted to get up onto the ledge was that she wanted the best picture possible. Even with the stunning outfit, the professionally done hair and make-up, the Duomo as our backdrop and a choir serenading us, there was a way to push the image further and she wanted it.   I could see in her eyes that she was chasing unicorns.

MM: “Ok, well let’s get you up there and if you feel really stable, we’ll take a few quick shots, then that’s it.”  I gave her my most serious look. She nodded.

As I looked through my camera to compose her on the ledge, I was having a near heart attack. As if that wasn’t enough, she then asked if she could toss the dress, which prompted about ten more “Are you sure??”‘s from me. But she was confident and reassured me she was ok. She tossed the dress and then we snapped this image.

And all of a sudden, it just felt like all the stars aligned. As if all the work and effort we had spent into learning and crafting images had paid off and had been built up just for that shot.   As if we finally caught a glimpse of the unicorn.  I showed Wendy and she knew it right away as well.  I can’t tell you how much we enjoyed taking this picture.

We couldn’t help taking more photos, but as we did, everything almost… faded away. We forgot about the cold, the choir, the Duomo.

It was just Wendy and me, shooting photos together.  Just a boy, taking pictures of a beautiful girl.

I’m at a loss for words to truly describe that moment.  It was a wonderful feeling.

To our readers, thank you so, so much for all your kind words, for your support and for believing in us. Thank you dearly for helping us make that moment and many, many more possible.  We are forever grateful for your support and that we can share our journey with you.

And to Wendy, Happy Birthday baby!

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Thank you for being born. Thank you for having the courage to chase your dreams. Thank you for constantly striving for perfection.  I am so very happy and proud to chase unicorns with you.