Hannah White Photography » Cedar Rapids wedding photographer

During a psychology seminar in college, we took a variety of tests that assessed strengths, interests, personalities, etc. One particular test burned into my memory — the VIA Character Strengths, where I discovered that unlike my classmates’ strengths of kindness, leadership, and the like — I possessed the strength of “appreciation of beauty and excellence,” not necessarily a strength to bring up in an interview.

At the time, I was a Toms-wearing, social cause-bearing hipster and felt that helping orphans in third-world countries must actually be my true strength. I felt embarrassed that my inner self seemed a bit shallow and narcissistic. I didn’t shed that embarrassment until I became a photographer and began to marvel at, and capture beauty for my work – not just physical beauty, but also the unexpressed, nonverbal and emotional beauty so tangible on a wedding day.

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We moved to our house in October 2013, so last spring was the first time we had discovered the Magnolia trees in our front yard. I would drive home from work everyday and marvel at their pink hues and how the light would illuminate the blossoms. I promised to take my camera out, but long after they finished blooming I realized I only had a couple pictures on my phone. I mourned the loss of those pink flowers and that I hadn’t taken an evening to photograph their petals. When the trees recently started blooming again, I watched for the perfect evening right before a full sun dipped under the horizon and carefully photographed every angle and flower I could reach on my tiptoes.

My heart aches for beautiful moments, things, patterns, and words. When you crave its presence, beauty becomes visible during the pain and pleasure, the evening and morning, the mundane and extraordinary; it humbles me by revealing itself.

“We need beauty because it makes us ache to be worthy of it.” – Mary Oliver. 

 

 

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I always struggle to find words that describe walking into a home where a newborn has just taken residence. Every parent must understand the spectrum of emotions that flood your heart and soul when you bring a new baby into a home, your home, and realize life has forever changed. But as a non-parent and typically somewhat of a stranger only there to capture life in an hour or two, it’s a scary and radical honor to step inside.

There is always a fragile peace that blankets every newborn session. It’s a peace I crave and fear, that exudes warmth and overrides a cry. It shouts in the quietest voice and demands reverence to the life that needs you to survive.

Thank you to Macoy and his family for letting us sit in your home, and sharing with us your new life.

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It’s that point in the winter when I need to believe that it will be green and colorful outside once again. Hence, the therapeutic blog post of a fall wedding we absolutely adored.

// After having coffee with Nancy and Courtney and hearing about their plans for homemade beer and wine, a roasted pig, & outdoor reception, it quickly became one of the weddings Greg and I were most looking forward to in 2014. I too often meet with couples and hear about their wedding details, anticipating what I will get to photograph and underestimating how they will affect me as I get to know their story. I would be lying if I said the best part of Nancy and Courtney’s wedding was the gorgeous florals or perfect light for photography. While it was a glorious wedding to shoot with lots of handmade details and beautiful backdrops, witnessing the impact these two have made on so many lives and their selfless and radical love for each other, was truly the best part of their wedding.

Courtney is a surgeon resident at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Nancy works there as a chaplain on the burn unit. To say they have an intimate appreciation for life would be an understatement. These two have such a profound respect for humanity and this world. I was so moved by how their interactions, their words, and care were filled with admiration and service.

When two lives such as theirs join together, I’m not sure that anything could stop them from being a changing force for good in this world.

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