Finding a wedding photographer is one of the most challenging things I faced during the wedding planning process. As someone who formerly worked in wedding planning, I had seen such an array of photography. Maybe it’s my picky nature, or good luck, but after six months of looking actively for a wedding photographer, I met my friend Emily.
Emily Keating is the daughter of renowned photographers Edward and Carrie Keating. Upon meeting Em for a style consult, she asked me what I was busy with. I admitted to her that just before our meeting, I was sitting down with different wedding photographers. Then, the heavens themselves seemed to open as she showed me her parent’s work. It occured to me that I had seen their work before in the Times, I’ve always loved the VOW’s section funnily enough. Carrie & Eddie were really a godsend for me. So many of my photographs are heavily staged, and planned. For my wedding, I wanted to see the entirely of my real joy. Not the staged stuff. What I love the most about their work is how organic, and yet still strikingly beautiful it is.
Below, you can find the detailed Q&A in my heavily biased opinion of some of the best photographers of our time.
LFS: How did you and your wife Carrie meet? You’re both so talented. How long have you been married?
Eddie: It was tennis, we met at a tennis league. My friends needed a fourth, at 125th and 1st ave. We played tennis, and you know, we’ll be married 30 years in October!
LFS: What has been the most memorable part of your career thus far?
Eddie: 9/11 on the second night, standing on top of a pile of rubble, looking down at the search and rescue that was going on. That was the most moving. I just took it all in, and I couldn’t believe that here I was, at the greatest terror attack in our country’s history. Standing on top of this pile, where I wasn’t supposed to be, and I was virtually one of the only journalists that was out there. Standing on top of the pile, above all that on September 12th, at midnight, that was the most moving moment.
LFS: Of course I also have to ask you about VOW’S. Can you tell me a little bit about founding the section in the Times?
Eddie: I wanted to make VOW’S very different than what people typically booked. Wedding photography up until that point had looked like the photos of your parents, or your parents parents. But after a year of working the column more interested in a more personal photos. (VOW’s) transformed the business of wedding photography. People started wanting what they saw in the column, a more earthy, journalistic take on their wedding day. It took around 5 years. So photojournalist started getting into taking wedding photos and then it just snowballed. Fashion photographers, lifestyle photographers…and so the column basically opened the doors to millions of photographers that would never have thought of photographing a wedding. David Griffin the former photo editor at National Geographic said that VOW’s “Changed the entire game of wedding photography”
LFS: Why do you choose to shoot film over digital? Is black and white film still important?
Eddie: Film is still so important, I like the grain, I don’t like the photographs that look exactly like what you’re looking like in real life. I like that film brings out the texture. Digital is too smooth and hard, the grain softens things, it makes it pleasing to the eye.
LFS: When did you start photographing and how did you get into it?
Eddie: I started at 7, my parents bought me a film developing kit and a couple rolls of film. Then I buried it, and I got back into photography at 25 when I was at Columbia studying American Literature. I got a tax refund of $400 and some change, so I thought I’d buy myself a present. I had no intentions whatsoever, but I walked out of the canvas store downtown on 33rd and stood under the awning, and I had this epiphany. I just knew I was going to be good at this. It was something great, and something came over me. Within 24 hours it was a done deal. I’m going to marry that girl- I’m going to be a photographer. So here I am now, 37 years later.
LFS: Carrie, what’s it like working side by side with your husband? I love watching you guys work together, and I feel like it’s really a special way to spend time with one another.
Carrie: I love watching Eddie, I think we work well as a team. Sometimes two photographers together get in each other’s space.We know how to dance around each other while working. We also see enough of a difference with moments. I like the fact that we are both different enough to really cover a situation. I like working with him. It’s a great way to be with your husband.
I love shooting color too, it’s economical but I love film more for sure.
LFS: What’s the moment that’s been the most memorable?
Carrie: It’s definitely the book that I just put out. Street! I was really lucky when I got assignments from magazines. I was even getting black and white assignments back when I was shooting for People in the 80’s, and it was incredible. It was touchy feely, moving stuff. I think the most rewarding thing for me has been that I’ve been able to be a mother and a photographer, even though I was a mother late. My 20’s were amazing, I had great assignments. I would drop the kids off at school, then go to work at the Times where I was a freelance photographer. I introduced Eddie to the editors at the Times.
They gave me a day beat. I was given a few hours everyday to go out into the city and shoot whatever I wanted. The pressure was on because I had four hours to come up with an incredible photo. It so inspires you to go and kick ass and just do it. It’s the best, and that’s the way I treat all of my work. You have to do an amazing job. You have no choice, just go out and do it.
LFS: That’s incredible. How did you balance being a mother and work at the same time? Did you ever decide that you didn’t want to do both? Was it challenging?
The kids would ask me: “Mom, what did you do today?” And I’d tell them: “I was in Harlem.” Then the next morning, I’d get the paper, to see if my photo made it, and there it was. A big floater image by Carrie. It was the best. It was very satisfying. I think it was the best period of my life too, where I could do everything. There were a lot of stories I was really proud of, but that was a time period I was most proud of. A lot of women photographers don’t have children. I never wanted that to be, and I never considered that an option. I never wanted to sacrifice anything. Eddie and I were engaged after two, maybe three months. We got married, and then a month later, I was pregnant. I always think to myself I wanted to have it all, I can do it all, and I did. Yeah and my kids turned out pretty damn good, right Belle?
LFS: Yes, I kind of LOVE them, and love that about you. I love that you’ve kept bettering yourself and your craft. So many women after they marry and have their families lose their love for their craft. Have you ever thought of giving up?
Carrie: Both my parents were so supportive, so incredibly supportive. I try my best to do exactly the same thing with my girls. I never thought to myself that I was done. One strike was to create the book, and I did! To bake a pie was on the list, and I baked a pie. There’s no way I could ever give it up. I’ve never questioned my-self in that regard.
Note: Carrie has an incredible book out now on amazon.com called Street. If you love New York, photography, or simply just beauty in general you’ll love this book.
*This is not a sponsored post, I’m just a big fan. 🙂