About Us: In Words Fully
Both Dave and I were born in our nations’ capital,
but thousands of miles apart.
Dave was born the youngest son in Saigon, Vietnam at the end of the war. His family had been thriving. When the communists took over, everything changed. As ethnic Chinese, there were additional disadvantages. Dave’s dad sought ways for his family to escape. With a determination I can’t begin to imagine, he managed to get all of his children and their families out of the country. On more than one occasion, he was thwarted by a corrupt system. No one’s journey was simple or easy. When they were able to leave, it was a hasty departure. Among the items they were able to take with them were just a few family photos. (Dave tells the story with depth and patience; it’s worth a listen if you have an hour for an unbelievable tale.) For his parents, it was a nightmare. But as a 6 year-old boy, there was adventure to be had. And fortunately the ending is a happy one.
Dave’s parents took this journey because they wanted a better life for him- a place where he could benefit from his own hard work. They were willing to risk everything for him to move forward, to find a place where Dave would be free to succeed. When they imagined his adult life, they envisioned Dave as a doctor, a lawyer, a scientist. And so he followed the expected path, ultimately becoming a molecular biologist and working on cancer research.
Finding the Passion
Something didn’t fit for Dave, maybe it was that 6 year-old’s spirit of adventure, but he knew there was something more for him. So he began his search…. He took classes in graphic design, he began to play more and more with his camera. He found his place in visual media, a new path as a graphic designer or a fine art photographer, letting the journey take him where it might.
Dave loved working with the people at the wedding, he loved the emotions, he loved having a front row seat to one of the most amazing days in a person’s life.
Then there was a fork in the road. A friend asked him to take photographs at her wedding. That’s when Dave had his Aha! moment. He knew this was the right direction. Dave loved working with the people at the wedding, he loved the emotions, he loved having a front row seat to one of the most amazing days in a person’s life. There was nothing more gratifying than knowing that the photographs he created would become cherished heirlooms in the history of families he worked with.
He jumped right in, full steam ahead and started our photography business in 2004.
Well, sort of. I did have a few things to say about it.
I was born to middle class parents, the youngest and second daughter, in Washington, DC. My childhood was anything but adventurous (I lived in the burbs), but was always happy. I was taught I could be whatever I wanted to be. So I had big dreams… to be an actress, a veterinarian, a lawyer, an architect, a circus clown, an astronaut. For the most part, these plans came and went.
I was also a Daddy’s Girl (still am, truth be told). I even had a shirt that declared me as such, which I proudly wore until I was 7 years old. My dad is an avid photographer, focusing his talents on nature and train (don’t ask) photography. When I was in the fifth grade, he gave me my first camera, right before a family trip to the Southwest. It was like he was entrusting me with a family secret, or passing the torch. I felt it’s weight and I loved it.On that first trip with said camera, I exposed more rolls of film than any child should be allowed to touch in a lifetime, let alone a week. When we got home, I couldn’t wait to see the prints. Looking back, they were pretty awful ( I was 10 years old and it was my first time after all), but I thought they were worthy of the Louvre. And so photography became a pastime, a creative outlet, a way for me to explore the world.
Fast forward to my first year out of college, I had become a teacher because I love kids and hadn’t really figured out what I wanted to be when I grew up. Seemed like a good fit for the time being. I was living with a roommate who was 10 years my senior. At some point, she revealed that she had been a wedding photographer when she was my age. Something clicked. A perfect mix, I loved photography and weddings are beautiful. So the idea that I could make a living as a photographer sat in the back of my mind, and life continued pretty much as it had.
Soon enough my friends started finding their special someones and started getting married. I was in 7 weddings and attended several more; I got to see the ins and outs. Of course, I also observed the wedding photographers. While watching, the idea that I might want to be one disappeared. I didn’t like what I saw.
Doing it the Right Way
Fast forward again. This time to Dave’s Aha! moment… Part of his plan was that we shoot together. “It would be fun.” I agreed but I had one caveat- we had to do things differently. I wanted to be a photographer who created beautiful images, respected the guests and cherished the meaning of the wedding. Dave said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
I wanted to be a photographer who created beautiful images, respected the guests and cherished the meaning of the wedding. Dave said he wouldn’t have it any other way.
So we began this adventure together. I went from thinking weddings were simply beautiful to loving everything about them. Dave went from thinking of wedding photography as an adventure to knowing it was his calling.
And the rest is history, as they say.