Friday, August 30, 2013

Portrait of an Artist: Baritone VaShawn Savoy McIlwain In Black and White

Washington, DC may be known mostly for its occupant of a certain white manse at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, but it is also home to a thriving community of performing artists. When I first met baritone VaShawn McIlwain, he looked like a nice young man with a brilliant smile. And then I heard him sing and it was like someone turned on every light in the room. There is a buoyancy to his delivery that draws you in, and a depth that keeps you there. This young man is an old soul and I can't wait to hear more from him.

VaShawn, photograph by Shannon Finney, Washington, DC, August 2013

Sunday, August 25, 2013

The Dream Continues: The March on Washington 50 Years Later

Growing up in Washington, DC, I was always keenly aware of the history that flowed down our city streets and around every corner. Imagine opening up your social studies book and realizing that you had walked down the same street as the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the thousands who gathered 50 years ago for the historic March on Washington. This past Saturday, the streets of DC were alive once again, with busloads of students, churchgoers, activists, and curious onlookers gathered to remember and recreate that March on Washington. There were the union members handing out signs calling for more jobs; advocacy groups such as the National Urban League and their Young Professionals shouting out fun chants that preached positivity. There were the college students - from the historically black colleges and universities as well as from Berkeley College, a career-driven college with a sharp focus on employment after graduation. The black sororities and fraternities were there, as were the black churches, like Alfred Street Baptist Church in Historic Old Town Alexandria, VA, and preachers, such as the Rev. Marina Skinner of North Carolina. The day had the feel of a massive family reunion, with groups of friends, old and new, meeting up under the bright blue skies. The World War II Memorial acted as meeting place where one could take a seat by the fountains and away from that persistent cloud of mosquitoes that greets you among the trees alongside the Reflecting Pool. It was a very good day with families bringing their small children to experience history, and as the day went on, watching these little people asleep in their strollers, I wondered what their dreams will be:)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Remembering Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and the March on Washington

This weekend, Washington, DC is getting ready to commemorate the March on Washington. As we remember the March, I want to remember one of the men at the center of this gathering - the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. I am an alumna of Boston University's Graduate School of Theology, and knowing that I walked on the same hollowed ground upon which he did when he earned his Ph.D. in systematic theology from Boston University is humbling, yet energizing. And it makes me wonder if there is some current Boston University student who will be inspired to work for social justice.
Photograph by Shannon Finney, August 24, 2011, Washington, DC

Photograph by Shannon Finney, August 24, 2011, Washington, DC

Photograph by Shannon Finney, August 24, 2011, Washington, DC

Photograph by Shannon Finney, August 24, 2011, Washington, DC

Friday, August 16, 2013

Beach Blanket Memories: Good Morning, Spring Lake

Spring Lake, New Jersey has become a second home for my family. With its pristine beachfront, gorgeous homes, and charming B&B's, it's little wonder. I can't pick my favorite time of day in Spring Lake, but early morning is a strong contender. The stately homes that line the streets of Spring Lake are quiet, beautiful monuments to summer days that end all too quickly. And the sky - the early morning sky in Spring Lake is at its most intense, with blues that reflect the waters below, and streaks of yellowy-orange. 

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Beach Blanket Memories: Bright Blue Breakers Beauty

When it comes to the beach, any day is a good day, even when it's a cool, crisp day in early spring. I photographed this at The Breakers Hotel and Resort, that lovely iconic property that makes brides-to-be and golfers, alike, swoon. But, on this day, it was all about the blues - of the sky and of the water - and the bright snap of yellow of the flag mounted on the lifeguard stand. 

Photograph by Shannon Finney, West Palm Beach, Florida, March 2013

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Beach Blanket Memories: Sea and Shadows

As we approach summer's end, and the first anniversary of super storm Sandy, it's nice to think back to memories from summer's past, especially to those summers I've spent in Spring Lake, New Jersey. After a day on the beach, the setting sun marks the start of another favorite beach past time - walking the boardwalk. And while Sandy left its marks on the Spring Lake boardwalk, it can never destroy these surf side memories.

Photograph by Shannon Finney, Spring Lake, New Jersey, August 2010

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Getting Wed With a Little Help from My Friends: Foul Weather Friends (Yes, There's a Happy Ending:)

Neither snow, nor sleet, nor derecho with drenching rains, nor downed trees and power outages could keep this bride from having an incredible wedding day! Brittany and her BFFs braved the aftermath of a brutal storm to pull off a beautiful wedding day. With friends like these, I'd be all smiles, too:)

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Getting Wed with a Little Help From Their Friends: Bethany and Cam Go Back to School

For Bethany and Cam, the Duke Ellington School of the Arts in Washington, DC served as the backdrop for their wedding celebration, and their friends pitched in, doing everything from catering the wedding feast, baking the wedding cake, providing music for the ceremony and reception, and making this a too-cool-for-high school wedding day!

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Getting Wed with a Little Help From My Friends: Kate and the Delta Zetas!

For Kate's Old Town Alexandria, VA wedding, there was no shortage of well-wishers - from family and church members to classmates, you could feel the love. But, the most fun group of all were Kate's sorority sisters from Delta Zeta. Dressed in fun jewel-tone dresses, the ladies hit the dance floor with their newly-married BFF, proving, once again, that your big day is big fun when your friends are there to share it with you:)

Friday, August 2, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake: For This Cake Cutting, Any Ski Doo Will Do!

When Shannon and Chris got married, they incorporated the lush reds of Chris's family Tartan into every element of the wedding day, including Shannon's red sash, the flowers on the wedding cake, and, other accents. What they didn't plan on, though, was incorporating a little bit of Scotland into the cutting of the cake! As the couple approached the cake table and the guests assembled around them, there was something missing - the cake knife. Ever resourceful, Shannon noticed the ceremonial dagger, called a Sgian Dugh (and usually pronounced skee-doo by us non-Gaelic speakers:), that her groom had tucked into his sock. There never was a more handsome cake cutter:)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Let Them Eat Cake: Not Even A Wedding Cake Catastrophe Could Slow Down This Couple

When Kelly and Yves were planning their wedding day, I'm sure that the one thing they didn't anticipate was a wedding cake disaster, but that's exactly what happened when
the wedding cake they ordered never showed up at their reception. Luckily, the couple's reception venue, the Belle Haven Country Club in Alexandria, VA, was on the case. Their kitchen flew into action, whipping up a multi-tier cake on the day of the wedding - no small task!