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i love my job. ask anyone that knows me, it’s all i talk about, think about, etc. i love being with couples who are madly in love and being able to tell their story. i love making new friends with these people. i have grown so much as a person because of their stories, and finally feel that i have a real purpose. i work harder than i ever have in the past, but am also happier than i’ve ever been. i’ve taken part in small, intimate weddings, and huge, lavish ones. but at each wedding, i’ve learned the same lesson. that lesson can be summed up by michael’s story.

at last weekend’s wedding, i met michael. michael is a gentle man who came to north america in 1994 from vietnam. he grew up very poor, and said his mother would always go hungry so that he could eat. she wanted him to be able to move to the united states and live a better life than he could have in vietnam. michael worked hard and saved every cent he could, and eventually made his way to the u.s. he’s only seen his mother once in the past 15 years, and i could tell from the warmth in his eyes how much he loves her. he isn’t even able to talk to her on the phone, so that one visit is all the contact they’ve had. but he carries the only picture he has of her in his wallet and tells everyone he can about his wonderful mother. he told me that he is saving to visit her one more time while she is alive, but the most touching part was that he said even if he can’t make it there while she’s alive, he will still need to go to vietnam to pay tribute to her and to mourn. that picture in his wallet means the world to him.

at weddings, i see all kinds of people — introverted, extroverted, laid-back, perfectionists, positive, negative, you have it. but each of those people are there with those that love them. each of us, no matter what we do, have families and friends that love us.

i have only visited my friends and family in ontario once in the past few years, and i feel really bad about that. i’m hoping to go there this august, and tell all of them how much i love them. it’s important to me that i get to photograph all of them to keep for the rest of my life. because even though i sometimes forget to tell them, and even though we go years without even talking, they mean the world to me.



  1. Thank you for sharing Michael’s story. It was beauitful. And humbling. It reminded me to count my blessings. And the picture is tells does a wonderful job of visually portraying his story.

  2. I have tears streaming down my cheeks. Not only are you a phenomenal photographer, Kristel, but you’re a wonderful writer/storyteller, and you’ve got such a warm spirit.

  3. That is so touching! I am so in love with people who go through hardships, and I have met many too. When we get together next we should share stories. That picture is absolutely beautiful.

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