Kate and Matt found each other through a chance encounter at a bar. After a few years of back and forth, and Matt battling cancer and surviving it, they were able to move toward their happily ever after. When Kate contacted me for a couples session, I was intrigued as it was not a typical request. Most couples book engagement sessions. But this was a session to celebrate them and their love during a trip to Napa from the midwest. When I peeked at Kate’s instagram and got to know a bit of their back story, I knew I had to document these two beautiful souls. I am so grateful for this opportunity. We met at the North Block Hotel and drove down the Silverado Trail to the Frog’s Leap Winery. These are a few of my favorite medium format film images from their session. My hope is that the album of images I am creating for them will be a treasure for them and a wonderfully cherished memory of the summer they spent in California. I wish you both a lifetime of happiness Kate and Matt! You are meant to be and what true love looks like!
* Black and White Images on Kodak Tmax 400 and Color on Kodak Portra 160
Their story in Kate’s words…
Matt and I met in Dec. of 2007 at a local bar in Columbus. He was funny and charming, but just having come off a not so great relationship, I wasn’t interested and wouldn’t give him my number. Matt was pretty persistent in getting to know me and found me on Facebook (this was when Facebook was still relatively new) the next day and preceeded to ask me out every week for about 6 weeks until our schedules finally synced.
We went out a few times, but the relationship didn’t really take off, not for any particular reason, but I think just because of where we were in our lives. A few months later Matt ended up moving to Cleveland for grad school, so it made sense anyway that we didn’t continue dating.
Fast forward two years and it’s the fall of 2009, I’ve continued to date unsuccessfully and contemplate why my relationships never work out, and suddenly Matt Hare enters my mind. “He was a great guy, why didn’t I give him a better shot!?” I asked myself. Apparently, timing is everything. The next day, I logged on to Facebook and the first post in my newsfeed was Matt updating that he was back in Columbus. “Fate!,” I thought after just having thought of him the day before.
I reached out to him to ask if he’d want to get together. He said he’d love to, but that he needed to let me know he had recently been diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, a rare blood cancer, and was back home in Columbus undergoing chemo at The James after spending 7 weeks in the ICU at The Cleveland Clinic. I was completely shocked, I had no idea he was sick. I really hadn’t had much experience with cancer, so I didn’t know what his diagnosis meant, what to say or what to expect. However, the fact that he was sick wasn’t going to keep me from reconnecting with him.
We started talking on the phone and texting the next day to arrange the details of getting together, and from then on were literally in constant communication from morning to night every day until we got together. I think during that time is when I really starting falling for him because he had the best attitude despite what he was going through, and he had the most awesome sense of humor. I found myself endlessly inspired by his positivity and laughing till I cried when we would talk. A week later for our first, second date, we had a 3-hour breakfast. I remember sitting there talking non-stop to each other and just thinking to myself, “I’m going to marry this guy.” After that day, we were inseparable. In late December of that year, after 8 rounds of chemo, and weeks of physical therapy his cancer went into remission.
Prior to his remission status he was planned to have a stem cell transplant in January of 2010. The idea was that if the chemo didn’t put him in remission, the stem cell transplant would have a much higher success rate. Of course, he already had achieved remission, but we went forward with the transplant as a precaution. That was 3 more weeks in the hospital, plus several more to recover.
We got engaged in April 2010, 3 months after his transplant, and were married in September 2011 and have been having fun and loving life ever since! While cancer played a large role in our beginning, we don’t let it take the focus in our everyday lives as we move forward, but we forever grateful for the perspective it has given us. And that perspective is something we truly remember and carry with us every day.