Shawn + Roni - NYC Proposal and the Real Deal

Friday, March 7, 2008

What do I love about my job? Is it the fact that I edit pictures at 2 AM or is it that sometimes I lose sleep because I am dreaming about the next shoot? No really though, the reason why I love my job is because of the beautiful people that I meet and how so many of my clients allow me to be witness to the most intimate moments of their lives.

Here's an example:

Shawn called me one evening last year and told me that it was time for him to pop the most important question of his life to his girlfriend Roni. Since I'm getting pretty good at the interview stuff, after a couple of questions I knew that Shawn was truly ready to pledge his life to Roni forever.

Over the next few months, Shawn and Tempest Bleu (my trusted planners!) brought the plan togehter. I arrived in New York a day early so that we could do a dry run of the proposal. We had more funny moments than one can imagine. For now on when I visit New York, Shawn and I will have a check list:

Wallet - check

Money - check

Keys - check

Parking Space - check

Metro Card - check

Cell Phone - check

Manual on how to walk in New York Subway - double check (inside joke)

Anyways, we made it through the day and made sure that all of our helpers would be in place for the proposal.

The day started at The London NYC where we enlisted the help of Gordon Ramsay's (Hell's Kitchen - Fox TV) Restaurant to enact the plan. Roni thought she was coming to meet a photographer (me) to pick up a few cook books from the restaurant. Little did she know her boss was all in on the plan and convinced Roni to wear decent shoes for the short walk from her office. Shawn had reserved an intimate dining area in Ramsay's place for the actual proposal. As soon as Roni walked into The London NYC, she was pretty puzzled and kept asking for the cook books...even though Shawn was standing right in front of her! It was hilarious!! Trust me.

The upcoming slide show will tell the story much better than I can but I will try my best. Remember, I tell stories with my camera.

So after their lunch Shawn had an entire day planned for he and Roni to visit some of their favorite places around the city. I told Shawn before the day started to act like I was not there and not to worry about me getting the shots - that's why he hired me, right? Well, I think both of them were running (literally) on pure adrenaline. Roni is no stranger to physical challenges since she was part of Road Rules on MTV - Season Five. But I wasn't thinking of running through New York in 20 degree weather! These two took off running into Grand Central Station and I looked like a deranged paparazzi photographer running after them. Another hilarious moment but great fun.

After they recorded their story for the Library of Congress (talk about make it last forever) at StoryCorps, we were off to Toys R Us to ride the Ferris Wheel. Once I took the elevator just at the right moment as the two were reaching the top of the wheel and I snapped a few shots though the clear windows of the elevator shaft. Next we visited the Old Navy Flagship Store where they both worked when it first opened. The day ended with a gathering of family and friends at Billie's Black in Harlem.

I could teach a week long workshop on this one shoot, but most importantly I am so happy for this couple. The look of love is awe inspiring. When these two even catch a glimpse of one another, the love shows.

Congratulations Shawn and Roni. Thank you for allowing me to share my gift with you and I look forward to hearing about the wedding plans that Roni will put together (Shawn, I was witness to that statement!).




Unknown said...

Where do I begin to Thank You! Your words and images are amazing! I am so glad that you where there to document this monumental moment in our lives. I’ve seen thousands on images and photographers and I must say you have truly perfected the art of storytelling through photography. Being a native New Yorker (from Harlem) in the photo industry I was a little concern as to whether an Atlanta photographer could keep up with our intense running around the city and still be able captures the key loving funny moments. And not only did you get those moments but you captured us, and the essence of our relationship. So, again I Thank You!

Now would you please go and enjoy your own WEDDING! Congratulations!

Natarsha said...

Wow! It look like so much fun! They look sooo happy!

George said...

Shawn and Roni,

Here it is 2:45 in the morning and I have to work in a few hours. It’s been a busy day and I had wanted to visit your website all day long but never got around to it. So as I laid in my bed, I remembered you guys… remembered that you were out there waiting on my visit. So I climbed out of bed and fired the ole computer back up. Boy does she take a long time to reboot at 2:00 in the morning (smile), but I digress.

I looked at all those beautiful pictures, they brought back a lot of memories. Memories of when love for me was new, and the world was there to be conquered. That was some (25) years ago, and though a few things have changed, that love is still embedded within me. I say this so that you can get a sense of the beauty and power of this journey you are about to embark upon. Trust me, there is nothing greater.

I wish you guys all the best. If the beginning is an indication of things to come… then you will be just fine. Shawn, take care of my darling niece… “Roni E” And Roni, you take care of my man. My glass is raised to you both. I believe in love… and clearly, you guy do too (smile).

Love you!!
Uncle G,

Anonymous said...

Once again beautiful pics. When I saw the name I thought -- no, it could't be. Then I saw the NYC. Then I saw the picture and I thought "I KNOW HER!!" Of course, I only know Roni from seeing her on tv, but I remember the way she carried herself and the relationship she had with her mother. I am so pleased to see that life is treating her well and she is happy.

Roni, best wishes to you and your husband to be. I wish you all the happiness in the world.

To Mr. Knight -- thank you for sharing your gift. It touches people in many ways.

--Miss D.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to let you know that I admire your work and you are an inspiration to me.


Chari said...

Beautiful pictures!!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is delightful.
I feel like I was there.
I'm honored to know that I will have the privilege of pronouncing Shawn and Roni "husband and wife!"
Kim Kirkley