rachel & jeff ~ Rye, NH

Jonas,

My fiance, Rachel, has urged me that “Sometimes you need to just throw it into the universe and see what comes back” – and now here I am writing to you.

Photography is so interwoven into the fabric of our relationship as the camera is almost always by her side. We are adamant about telling the stories of others and naturally we have been searching long and hard for someone to tell the story of our wedding. Our wedding is August 13th, 2011. It will be a humble celebration on a small beach in Rye, New Hampshire. There will be a full moon, pie, and good company.


It is the stories your photos tell that move me so much. Our wedding is a story we hope to share till the end of our days and perhaps beyond that. I sincerely hope that you will be the one to help us tell it.

That’s part of the email Jeff sent me last year. I went straight to Jac and told her, “I’m doing this”. I’m very much guided by gut feeling and there was something between the lines in Jeff’s email that spoke to me. No matter their budget, I wanted to find a way to shoot their wedding. It was always meant to be, but there have been hickups. A couple of months before the wedding Rachel emailed me in desperation, there was a chance they wouldn’t be able to leave Korea where they both were working as English teachers.

Luckily it all worked out and I ended up traveling from Brisbane, to LA, to San Fransisco and then on to Boston. I stayed with Jeff’s parents, something I’ve never done with any couple before and yet it never felt strange. Everyone welcomed me with open arms and I was part of the family straight away. I didn’t know what to expect of their wedding, but I knew I had met some truly wonderful people. I wanted nothing more than capture their story.

Make them happy.

Make myself proud.

To help me with that I brought along Nirav Patel, a truly amazing photographer. I think we both knew we were on to something special. The week before the wedding I had spoken at a workshop in San Fransisco about what I do and Nirav was one of the attendees. Trying to explain what drives me and what I want to express with what I do is sometimes hard to put into words. But after this wedding it’s all become clearer again.

Thank you, Nirav.

Thank you, Jeff and Rachel,

This is what drives me.

This is what I want to do.

Oh, the seagull. All day we had this seagull circling us. During the ceremony he was sitting on the rock wall next to the wedding party and when I was shooting my portraits he was looking down from the sky. After I shot the photo of Jeff and Rachel between the two leaning trees, I showed it to her and Rachel burst into tears.

She quietly told me that her grandfather had promised her he would always look after her.

– When I die, I will come back as a seagull, don’t you worry, he said.

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Today’s wedding wasn’t sent to any wedding blogs. A “not enough details” reply would have been a slap in the face and an insult to everything I want my wedding photography to stand for.

music credit: Bon Iver – Holocene (iTunes)

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  4. Just amazing… Not a random bunch of perfectly over-worked photos, stimulating every cell in the eye, but rather a set of clean and honest shots tied together to tell the story. Your style definitely opens new venues of thinking about wedding photography for me. Thank you!

  5. I get lost in these photos bro! I love your work and truly admire the feelings your story tells. Lately, it’s been a ritual going through these stories and it has been an inspiration. Thank you!

  6. crying… love this. love everything about it. thank you for reminding me why I do what I do. xox

  7. I usually cry at your photos halfway through but I started at the beginning this time after reading about the seagull. Then to see the picture of him in the sky with the bride and groom under the tree, astounding. And beautiful.

  8. Beautiful and moving. Seriously. Thanks for posting this – some wedding blogs and blog posts can ere towards the saccharine but this one, it’s from the heart.

  9. The photographic artist may as well get some information about the photos that you might like on the day, a wedding is an extraordinary occasion that assembles numerous irritated relatives and there is generally just this day to photo every one of them together. Numerous relatives will be originating from far flung places and the camera person must know to get these essential individuals.

  10. the images you got of the seagull circling around them must be SO special to the bride. lovely!

  11. Purely raw and real. Love it. And I must say I really like the fact that you didn’t submit this to any blogs. Thinking of rejection because of lack of detail is a serious insult to the “detailed” emotion you captured so soulfully.

  12. It can guide me to the art of photography can be inspirational again, thank you for all the suggestions and guidelines.

    Thanks

  13. This is far too beautiful. Am in love with the picture with the two of them standing under the tree. That’s is a piece of art! Thank you for sharing.

  14. Love it! Love it! Love it!
    I’m in the beginning planning stages and everyone keeps asking me what my theme or colors are. All I keep saying is that I want it to be outside and I want to enjoy the Texas Hill Country (what I call home) with everyone else. This makes me know how beautiful and relaxing it will all be!
    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!

  15. 你拍的照片太美了~我非常喜欢,婚礼的每一个细节,你的文字,你视线里所有人快乐的笑容和温馨的场面,还有每一个浪漫又唯美的地方~爱你。

  16. Dear colleague,

    I have encountered your wedding photos on the internet and I’m most impressed. I do wedding photography in Turkey and would like to compare our local prices with prices abroad. Would you mind to tell me your average price for a wedding and what is included in that price?
    Many thanks,

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  18. without fail, all of your work and the words you write tugs at my heart and brings tears to the edge of my eyes. i love photography and i have so much to learn and i’m happy to discovered you, your work and your values. more than your photographs, i admire the person you are and how much what you do means to you.

  19. moved to tears… Your work is absolutely beautiful. This album is my favorite, I felt every picture. Beautiful. Thank you for the creative inspiration

  20. Holy crap. I just cried my eyes out seeing this story. I cannot find words to share how amazing you are. Im literally speechless. Well done.

  21. What a moving story and beautiful storytelling in photographs. Had me sobbing with reading about her grandfather, and then seeing the image with the seagull…absolutely incredible. Well done, you’re a talent!

  22. These images moved me to tears, no matter what a wedding blog would think. The way you weave the earth into almost every frame, in every wedding, is incredible. Thank you.

  23. Oh lands. What love. Such raw beautiful love on display! Thanks for sharing their day and reminding what the celebration and convenant promises are actually celebrating.

  24. Once I read the story about the seagull I had to share immediately. I showed my family and it brought tears to my mothers eyes. Quite the story. You have such an amazing gift and you are an inspiration to me.

  25. Your photography heals me. You have no idea what you do to my soul whenever i look at your photos. One boy, one girl falling in love is the most important part. I’m getting married in a less than 3 months, have hired an insanely great photographer to capture what is, and always will be him and and I.
    Tonight I strip my wedding down to it’s base.
    Much much love to your beautiful art and story telling when no words can explain.

  26. Jonas, I don’t know you and I just came across your work and I feel so connected with you. You have given me a new perspective what I do and who I really am as a photographer. Thank you for sharing this awesome wedding with the world. Beautiful work, lovely people and amazing story.

  27. Beautiful work. The loved the whole flow of the pictures. A wonderful way you’ve have told/shared a beautiful love story. And truely you are an amazing artist and your work has inspired me alot ! Cheers . Keep believing and doing what you are doing !

    Spreading the love all the way from India :)

  28. I’ve cried twice while reading your blog today. So authentic, intimate, and filled with story. I love the way you truly care for the people you photograph and aren’t ashamed to show images that other photographers may not share or value.

    As a wedding photographer, I am humbled to see your work. Thank you for the inspiration.

  29. The most beautiful, poignant set of wedding photographs I’ve ever seen. These have become something of a touchstone for me and bring a tear to my eye whenever I look at them.

    Credit to Rachel & Jeff for having the courage to contact you. I can’t imagine them ever regretting that email. Credit to you Jonas for taking on the job and capturing their day so perfectly.

  30. These are amazing. I’m in floods and I don’t even know them. Jonas your work is a constant inspiration to me, thank you for sharing, thank you, thnak you.

  31. Just spent another hour looking through your work Jonas – as you’re a constant source of inspiration – best wedding photographer in the world – I have no doubt.

  32. Jonas, this album is beautiful. The music fits in perfectly with it, but some of the pictures have left me smiling like a fool inside the office. From the seagull on the wall to the spectactular picture of the bird flying next to the trees; Jen with her father, the couple dancing; even the friend with the microphone made me chuckle. I would like to congratulate you on this and wish you the best of luck for you have an awesome talent.

    All the best,

    Ed.

  33. I’m just amazed with all your photographs, they are true and honest. Pure beauty, perfect from color scheme to the composition. As a photographer myself I’m somewhat jealous (in a good way ;)) but also inspired.
    thx ;)

  34. Wow – I am sat here bawling my eyes out. I think this might be the most honest wedding I have ever seen… if that explains it? And your work – just mind blowing!
    It’s not like looking at photos – it’s just like being right there where all the magical moments happened….
    This is true art and only in my most daring dreams am I that good at my job…

  35. The seagull did me in…

    I have really been trying to find myself as a photographer this past year and to decide if I want to go from hobbyist to professional and what that is going to entail and what that is going to mean and what I need to do to make it happen.

    I feel lost in a sea of mediocrity and for this reason I hesitate.

    My worst nightmare is to be just another mediocre photographer.

    People like you inspire me more than you could ever imagine.

    Thank you.

  36. I don’t want to read all the other comments. I am so touched, impressed and proud. Touched – because you really made me feel a part of this wedding. Impressed – because did NOT remove the butterfly under the lace (I will never do that again!). Proud – because I am a wedding photographer and I put my heart in every image. Thank you for reminding me.

  37. Amazing work, you can really see and feel the story. I came to this page from the other. Your words ring with so much truth. Thank you.

  38. Hi Jonas. This is my small, tiny tribute to you and your magic, to your world and your light, from a tiny wedding shooter like me that lives in Spain. This comment will dissaper in the middle of a huge mountain of other souls that vibed with you. This comment will soon be forgotten, but it does not matter: here is my tiny little glipse of light for you, my token to thank you for showing us the light in you, for sharing your insides and outsides. Now my tiny tribute is also in you, no matter what, and that makes me feel alright. Mission accomplished.

  39. I never get emotional over weddings. Ever. I have to say though, I had a lump in my throat the whole time I was scrolling through these photos. Beautiful man. If I can one day be able to capture the things and the way you do it. I will be a very, very happy man. Thank you so much for sharing this.

  40. beyond beautiful jonas… your words and the moments captured! the seagull story bought tears to my eyes… you should be so proud!

  41. amazing. and don’t even worry about the blogs, this will get seen and displayed in it’s own right without the help of the blogs. Beautiful story told perfectly.

  42. First off I have to say this is the most beautiful post!

    Also, it is sad that these would even be rejected from wedding blogs because of the lack of detail… and you’re totally right people spend too much time focusing on the details more than they should. I suppose that is why our weddings photos get rejected from blogs, we actually spend our time focusing on the reason that “this day” is even possible.

    boy + girl all the way! <3

  43. Damn Jonas. You used that song. THAT song. I’ve been obsessed with it for a while now wanting to do exactly what you did with it. Absolutely perfect.

    And you’re right, of course. A wedding is about the souls of two people coming together in a symbolic union. When you’re at a wedding, it’s always clear that the details are no where near as important as the two people shining in the center of a circle of friends and family. I know when I get married (again) it’s going to be less is more. And I really hope you can be there (though it might be a boring shoot with no details.) : )

  44. I have to tell you – I look at so many photography blogs every day in my Google Reader, and today this post absolutely JUMPED out at me. It is the perfect blend of funny moments, artistic photos, beautiful scenes, and honest photos. I absolutely love it. Thank you for sharing your gift!

  45. these are amazing. i don’t even know this couple and yet and i feel as if i do simply by gazing at their photographs. such emotion. the moments you captured are priceless. the shot of the seagull circling the two of them by the trees made me gasp. the shot of her dancing with her dad and her groom looking on made me smile. the baby with the bra shade made me laugh. each shot evoked a different emotion. well done. well done.

  46. I have been studying photography as a hobby for less than a year and truly it is stories like this that you have conveyed that just render me speechless. Spectacular!

  47. As many already said – fantastic photos, amazing story and yes, I teared up. This is beyond talent, this is true love and devotion. Thank you for sharing.

  48. If you got a “not enough details” comment from a wedding blog… That would crack me up! I see so many details in the people and surroundings!! Beautiful, beautiful story, couple…everything.

  49. thank you…

    this is the most beautiful story of the day.
    so clear and pure so humble and brave
    so saint and blessed

    hungarian greetings to my favourite wedding blogger from vienna

  50. thank you…

    this is the most beautiful story of the day.
    so clear and pure so humble and brave
    so saint and blessed

    hungarian greetings to my favourite wedding blogger from vienna

  51. Had to see this after reading her letter to you. WOW!!!!! Completely breathtaking, stunning! What a touching story and how awesome that that seagull made sure to get in such a beautiful photo…and you didn’t even know when you snapped it! Just beautiful. I’m in tears!

  52. I love Rye Beach. I spent a summer there on a missions project, and it’s one of my favorite places in New England. I LOVE the image between the two trees. Even more, I love that you were able to bless this bride and groom who didn’t just want a photographer- they wanted YOU. They wanted the Jonas Peterson experience, and it looks like you went above and beyond any of their expectations.

  53. The picture with her dad and the bride. And her, the dad och the grome. WOW.

    It´s just better than amazing.

  54. Truly the most touching set of wedding images I’ve ever seen. I feel tearful and moved and joyful. Reminds me to strip it all back to why I became a photographer myself. Reminds me why being a wife is so important.

  55. I’ve never commented before (although I LOVE your work), but this wedding was just so moving, I’ve had to come back to look again and again. WOW! You’ve captured it with so much heart.

  56. Breath taking pictures man, I’ve been waiting to see these shots for some time now! Enjoyed the earlier about stripping away the details, and remembering the reason for it all.

  57. love all that this stands for. and that emotion that you just know even in reading someone’s words, knowing it’s something you want to be a part of. burst into tears about the seagull. i will miss my papa dearly on my wedding day and i hope he is there…even in the presence of a gull. love all you said. and so happy nirav was there. what a pair.

  58. I just wanted you to know that my wedding photographer Tonhya posted the article you wrote on your blog about details and I wish you wrote that 10 months ago when i got engaged. I had a diy detailed wedding, and thank the LORD my fiance kept me level headed and I didn’t go too crazy and kept it PERSONAL. But this wedding is the most beautiful wedding i have ever seen. and your pictures of the couple against the sky and trees are magnificent. I really enjoyed looking at your blog today. I appreciate your work, opinions, and creativity.

  59. BEYOND epic. so incredibly beautiful! details schmetails…who needs ’em when you got luuuuuurve?! nice choice of song too! i’d love to feature on hi-fi :)

  60. This is a triumph in documenting emotion. I don’t think I’ve ever been quite as moved by your work as I have now. I want to write to John Berger and let him know there is a ‘new way of seeing’.

  61. That seagull story is absolutely unreal. What is even more unreal is that you captured it in the photo of them standing in between two trees. The most powerful story is real life, and you captured it so beautifully.

  62. Du har länge varit min favoritfotograf och det här var helt klart det bästa jag sett! Du har något som man inte kan lära sig, det är något du har i dig. Helt magiskt!

  63. Truly amazing, this is one of the classics. Thank you for sharing your hearts thoughts and what you see past the camera lens.

  64. Först träffar orden där de ska och sedan bilderna… rakt i hjärtat! Tillsammans helt oslagbart. Men bilden med träden, brudparet & fågeln säger ändå allt. Så bra!

  65. No wedding blogpost has ever evoked this much emotion from me. I cried. I actually cried… and it filled me joy. Thank you, Jonas. This is beautiful.

  66. Jonas,
    i saw this post yesterday and just chalked it up to another great job by you… I did not read the post i just looked at the pictures. Today i read the post… stopped.. hit play of the Bon Iver song and began to scroll down and i teared up a bit… not because i am a softy or anything but because this is what photography is suppose to be.. this is honestly storytelling at its best.. it is what all photographers should strive to do… its not a job its not something we do to make a living but something photographers should love to do and to be honest if you put your heart and soul into it this what should come out… bravo Jonas bravo..

  67. stunning. You inspire me to stop looking at what everyone else is doing and shoot true to myself.

  68. Absolutely fabulous…I love your style…so different from the norm and a great way to tell the story of a couples big day. Love it!

  69. Jonas this is exactly why I blog, because there are true love stories out there, ones that transcend all the fanciness and frippery, creating their own details that we as readers cannot peel our eyes away from. You tell their story beautifully, both in words and images. And yes I did cry. Would have been proud to blog this wedding.

  70. You have done something amazing. What Zoe said about this blog bringing tears to her eyes. It’s a first for me too. I don’t know how you do it, but you have something I have never seen before. A gift. Treasure it. Thankyou so much for sharing this moment in time.

  71. Too many favorites to name out of all these. Your work is inspirational. As stated by most others here, it’s because you capture the emotion. Combine it with capturing the exquisite simplicity of nature and you are, undeniably, my favorite photographer.

  72. Such a beautiful story which you and Nirav so beautifully told. My favorite part, though, is what you said at the end. Weddings aren’t about details or publishable images, but about two people who fell in love coming together and celebrating that love. Your photography is an inspiration not because of your technical or editing skills but because of the emotion that you capture in every frame.

  73. This is truly beautiful. I felt an emotional connection to this wedding. Not just the wedding itself, but the idea of photographing such an event. You were able to connect the aesthetics with the emotion in a way I aspire to do so, myself. This is what it’s all about. This is why you are on that list (you know the one) This is why deserve to be on that list.

  74. Jonas, this is probably the best wedding I’ve ever seen, so many beautiful images, so many beautiful moments, and you can’t help but get emotional when you read about her grandfather and the seagull.

  75. I recently met my online photography buddy Nirav while in San Fran, and he was telling my husband and I about this day of shooting with you and I couldn’t wait to see the photos. The story, the photos…true magic. You inspire me and the way I shoot photography. Thank you for sharing this :)

  76. There is so much perfection in this post. In what you captured. In this wedding. What a truly united couple. And although I do not know them – I am so happy for them. So happy for their love, for their appreciation of life and most of all- for their passion in photography. They chose well ;)

  77. Had to stop checking your site at work… like many others, your story telling can bring me to tears. Thank you. We are very lucky indeed.

  78. oh god i just don’t know what to say anymore. i have never really read the story until tonight. i saw this post this morning and scanned through the images. and thought “bah! could Jonas Peterson be any greater?, i mean seriously’. then for some reason this blog just beckoned me back in here again (maybe because of the few comments in the FINDer’s fb page) and have given it my full attention. if your blog is a book of inspiration this will be my choice for a front and back cover.

  79. This post is just amazing. Moved me to tears. There are some simply perfect pictures there, they are a lucky couple to have pictures like that to remember their day. I hope you get a photographer who will do just the same.

  80. This%20is%20one%20the%20most%20beautiful%20wedding%20post%20I%C2%B4ve%20ever%20seen…..your%20words%2C%20the%20images%20and%20the%20music%2C%20all%20of%20it%2C%20you%20must%20be%20so%20proud%20and%20they%20so%20happy%20%C2%A1%C2%A1

  81. This is one the most beautiful wedding post I´ve ever seen…..your words, the images and the music, all of it, you must be so proud and they so happy ¡¡

  82. i’m so glad this is what you want to do… you are so obviously meant to do this. tell these stories, i mean, in the ways you do.

  83. Amazing… just shed a tear and I don’t even know them. WOW I am in awe… your talent is something that can’t be taught but definitely an inspiration to others. I wish you were my muse!!!

  84. Efter att ha läst de andra kommentarerna så behöver jag inte känna mig ensam om att vara en obotlig romantiker, tårar rann :) Väldigt underbara bilder!

  85. This is such a beautiful wedding. So very beautiful. The portrait of Rachel and Jeff between the trees took my breath away. This is why your blog is special – it doesn’t need details, just real life. Congratulations Rachel and Jeff!

  86. Beautiful. I am in awe of your ability to simply capture beautiful images throughout the (obviously very long) day… and it feels so organic and meditative. It’s how I aspire to shoot yet I constantly find myself shooting how I think I SHOULD shoot rather than getting into a place where I shoot what I’m moved to shoot. Your work really feels like it’s from the heart. xj

  87. Wow, dina bilder är så vackra, nu sitter jag här och storgråter. Tack för att du delar med dig, du är så skicklig!

  88. Truly stunning work! Your photography totally warms the heart and I cry every time I look at your beautiful images! So inspirational!

  89. It is these stories you tell that keep me coming back. Beautiful and heartfelt. I’ve been following your blog for a couple years and you have truly inspired me.
    thanks.

  90. This series is my new “Favourite Jonas Peterson wedding”. I love the pureness of all this. Of everything you say & capture. You have an exceptional talent to capture the moment & frame it with love. Thank you for this post. So much.

  91. Thank you Jonas for capturing my friends’ wedding. I only knew Rachel and Jeff a short time as I met them at the end of their contract in Korea. But I adored them and do miss them. Thank you for making their day that much more special. And thank you for actually making me bawl like a little girl from reading that story! I honestly think they had the most beautiful wedding I have ever seen, and I am so lucky to have felt I was there through your photos.

  92. Applause for your last words, it’s the same that happen to me in some weddings.
    You are one great story teller, really, very good story teller, Jonas, love your eye, never is only a question os style.

  93. What a magic pair you and Nirav are. What a journey. Makes me wonder what Seth & I’s wedding photos might have looked like 9 years ago if someone had taken as such care to tell our story as beautifully as you’ve told Jeff & Rachel’s.

  94. You are truly amazing as always, but this must be the most emotional pictures you’ve taken so far! I’m in tears!:)

  95. This is a wedding that deserves to be seen, and a story that needed to be told. Thanks to you, Rachel, and Jeff for sharing it with us.

  96. Probably one of my most favorite wedding photo sets ever, no exaggeration. The image with the sea gull in it is incredible! Love your work, Jonas.

  97. i hope that the tide turns + blogs become more about the story + less about the details. thanks for calling them on that… someone needs to. weddings are about so much more than bunting, mason jars + cupcakes. epic storytelling!

  98. Such beauty, Jonas. Those portraits are truly breathtaking, your best work yet I think. And I had tears from the moment I read the seagull story until the last image. I can’t even imagine how much these images must mean to Rachel and Jeff.

  99. Jonas, never before has a Wedding blog brought tears to my eyes – looking at those really intimate images – the softness of a shadow on the wall, there for a moment, then gone – the glimpse of the couple in their vast surroundings……you have an utterly amazing gift Jonas…and, that beautiful moment between Father of the bride and his daughter dancing together, and then seeing the next one of the groom looking on – it took my breath away..my goodness. Thank you, thank you x

    and the sea gull – I’m welling up again!

  100. Teary eyed and touched as always by seeing your work. If Oprah Winfrey still had her show I’d email her telling her about this amazing man who can elicit all the beautiful moments from one day and leave them with the couple to sherish for the rest of their lives. She would have hunted you down and done an episode of you and your work, whether you wanted her to or not. And we all would have loved it.

  101. I think I held my breath the whole way through. One of your most amazing, and that seagull shot is going to have stories told and told through the generations. How special is that.

  102. Jonas, Rachel and Jeff… this day changed everything for me. I can’t begin to describe how amazing it was to be there and experience the love you two share for eachother and to watch Jonas make smores for the first time :). I will never forget this day. I love you both (and of course you too Jonas) and I’m honored to have spent this incredible day with you. Jonas thank you so much man. I could write you a novel on how much you inspire me my friend, but I know how well you do with compliments so I’ll leave that to my mom ;).

  103. I cried the moment I read your intro paragraph. This is a beautiful wedding. I love the seagull. The tree photograph is unreal-incredible. Thank you for sharing the touching background information in this post.

    Ali

  104. I choked up reading your words. I choked up viewing the images. Thanks again for your heart and vision Jonas… also to Nirav, good hearted fellow himself.

  105. What a wedding. Blessed with so many emotions in one amazing location. You’re good, but you already know that – but I’m still super impressed at how many genuine “wall hangers” you have in this one set. Probs the best wedding I’ve seen all year.

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