Before we get to the Big News part of this post, I just want to take a time-out to say how thrilled and excited I am to get to write a post for Hart & Sol Photo. It might or might not be the case that I basically yelled these ladies until they gave in and started a photography business. But it’s definitely the case that Hart & Sol Photo started with essentially zero money and a whole lot of faith in APW sponsorship and you guys. And you repaid that trust over and over and over. But what has been truly amazing for me to see is how Hart & Sol Photo has repaid your trust in them with a tireless dedication to their artistic work and building their business in an organic and meaningful way. And now, a year later, their portfolio is totally different, and totally awesome. Their work is growing so fast you can’t quite figure out how it’s happening. And that’s amazing.
And heck. As you know, I like the women (Maddie & Monica) behind Hart & Sol Photo so much that I hired one of them to be my right-hand editor on APW. And, I’ve worked with them in real life. Maddie recently came with me to shoot my excellent hair stylest (Wes!) and when she gave me the pictures, I was totally blown away. Her work has grown so fast and so hard that I didn’t even know what hit me.
Which brings me to the big news. If you’ve been paying attention (even just to this post) you probably noticed that things were changing for Hart & Sol Photo. Up until now, Hart & Sol were a Tri-State Area based operation. But then in November, one half of H&S (Maddie) moved out here to San Francisco. Well! I’m delighted to be the one to get to announce that Hart & Sol is going bi-costal. That means that both the East and West Coasts can get the Hart & Sol artistry, humor, awesomeness, and affordable pricing. That. Is. Amazing. Bay Area: you’ve been warned. Awesome is now in your corner (and LA: Maddie will totally travel to you for the cost of a flight). Now, let’s talk details. (Oh! And the West and East photos are the photos taken by the respective West and East photographers, and you can roll over the pictures to see who took them.)
From Maddie: When I first heard the news that my husband had gotten a job in California, my initial thought was, “OMG how am I going to tell Monica?!” (Which, by the way, is not the appropriate response when your husband has awesome news, FYI). Over the past year, we had worked so tirelessly to create an amazing brand, and you guys rallied so hard around what we were doing. You were excited about our vision, our art, and our partnership. And you made this company something awesome. So when we were faced with the challenge of splitting ourselves up over a few thousand miles, we felt it would be a complete injustice to the faith you put in our budding business to call it quits right then and there.
So we have exciting news.
Monica and I have decided to franchise our business and will now be offering services on the East and West Coast. Today marks the official launch of Hart & Sol West and Hart & Sol East, and we could not be more excited to share the news with APW first. And while we’ll technically be running our own mini Hart & Sols on either coast, we are still very much partners (there are weekly conference calls), and you still very much get the Hart & Sol experience when you hire one of us.
And, since we could never officially call ourselves separate, we are still available to shoot a select few weddings together if you book early!
I’m not one of those people who has had a camera in her hands since forever. But I am the kind of person who was always looking to take pictures of people in love. Actually, my poor mother has this 24×36 print in her hallway of some random couple sitting in central park that I took my freshman year of college and gave to her for Christmas because I just LOOOOVED it so much. (You’re welcome, Mom). So. I’ve stopped pretending that I’m not an emotional person. I am. I mean, not disruptively so, but still. I care. A lot.
Because I’m so, ahem, in touch with my feelings (I’m a Cancer, I can’t help it) my goal as a photographer is to take whatever you’re feeling at a given moment during your wedding and translate that into a picture. Sometimes that means fuzzing things up a bit. Sometimes that means giving it to you straight. But I won’t be satisfied until you can look at a picture I took and be transported back to your wedding day. Because it’s like Meg says, “You’re not going to remember what your wedding looked like. You’re going to remember how you felt.”
From Monica: When I think about our new business venture, I keep coming back to the idea of mitosis. We came together and created the brand that is now called Hart & Sol. And even though we’re now operating on separate coasts, and while we’re still obviously distinctly different people, we can’t help but carry the DNA of the other with us when we shoot. So, whether you’re booking Hart & Sol East in NYC or Hart & Sol West in San Francisco, you’re still kind of getting both of us. And we think that’s pretty awesome.
A few years after he passed, I was gifted my grandfather’s massive amateur photo archive. As a total photo nerd, I was in loss of words and feelings when it came to losing him. I sifted through about twenty boxes of color slides and unfolded an unbelievable photo-prologue to the couple who I would lovingly come to call, “Granddad and Grandma,” back when they were just William and Beverly.
The first couple of boxes held images William took while enlisted as an army cook during the Korean War. The photographs were not Time Life material by any means, but a slice of life as he lived it… rough, dirty, on the ocean, on edge, in the unknown, and… away from his new wife, my grandmother.
The second half chronicle his return, William and Beverly reunited, looking young and svelte. He traded his tattered uniform for a pair of fantastic horn-rimmed glasses and she wears a dress I am pretty sure I thrifted at the Salvy sixty years later. They are glamorous and hip, a pair of Madmen extras… and just as romanticized as I could continue to pine on, but I slowly realized that the William and Beverly in these photographs were real—the same grey haired miniature enthusiasts that smelled of coffee, expensive dryer sheets, and untreated lumber.
(So why am I telling you this story?)
I’ve never been a hopeless romantic, in fact, I’ve been rather realistic when it comes to love. So let’s get real: I want to create your photo-prologue. I want to supply you with a stress-free wedding vendor experience (Do those exist?) that leaves you with photographs that will usher your granddaughter into a whole new respect and love for you.
I want to fix your dress or boutonnière if it’s lookin’ crooked, and keep you in full supply of Clean and Clear oil sheets on hand, in case you’re lookin’ shiny. I hate getting my picture taken, so I know where you’re coming from, but I promise you—you’re beautiful. Hart and Sol mitosis gives birth to H+S East, based in Brooklyn, but willing to travel. We will continue to use a mixture of digital and film to document your day as it unfolds. You can find us at the corner of Art and Schwank.
And before we go, I have one final Hart & Sol story for you. It pretty much sums up why I love them, why you will love them, and why they are the most APW photographers ever. It might, however, make you teary:
A note about this couple above: They were not our clients. We were shooting a wedding at city hall for a different client, and these ladies came up to us and told Monica that their witness had bailed and they weren’t going to be able to get married that day if they couldn’t get another witness. So two awesome things happened. First, our amazing clients (these lovely people):
agreed to let Monica leave their wedding to be witness to these women. And then of course Monica not only played witness to these ladies, but photographed them for free. Best. Day. Ever.
I know right? Maddie and Monica are your people. So I’m beyond proud to get to introduce the world to Hart & Sol West, serving the San Francisco Bay Area (but willing and ready to travel), and Hart & Sol East, serving the Tri-State Area (but totally willing to travel farther for you guys). You’re going to have an amazing time together. I know this, because I’ve talked to past Hart & Sol clients, and it’s nothing but love and more love….