NYC Governor’s Island Proposal Engagement Session Shot on Film

Most of my friends and family have never met Maggie, but they feel like they know Maggie. I talk about her all of the time because when she began editing my images in November 2021, she gave me my life back. 

I began to sleep 7-8 hours per night for the first time in years. The mysterious nervy pain in my neck and wrist subsided. I began to feel more present for dinner and returned to the morning rituals that help me feel centered. I experienced true days (and weeks) off where I got to vacation without photos to edit and client deadlines looming over me. 

You know how food just tastes better when the cook loves the experience of cooking? That’s how Maggie has improved my work via editing. Her passion for the artistry is evident in the end product. I imagine her approaching her standing desk, stretching her wrists and neck, and saying “I am so excited to edit these images.” I think that’s actually how she feels about editing, which is, of course, in stark contrast to how I feel about editing. 

Prior to photographing their proposal, I’d never met her boyfriend, Michael, but I felt like I knew him because Maggie talks about Michael all the time. Their devotion to each other is sweet, and they’ve been together since high school or maybe before that. That true soulmate type of love. 

When he reached out via Instagram for some help finding a photographer to photograph their proposal, I sent him a few options, and at the end of the message I said “I’d be happy to do it for you.” 

Wait, you would? 


But, he didn’t have the budget to pay for my travel. 

Who cares— another client will. 

When would it happen? 

The weekend of my birthday. Serendipity. Meant to be. 

I’ve been at this photography thing long enough now that people new in the industry want to know how I’ve done it. How did I go from begging my friends to let me photograph them to running a super successful photography studio? I’ve always looked for the signs. I believe “coincidences” are the way in which the Divine nudges me.

I said yes in March, but on the day of their proposal in May, I wanted to throw up, all day in anticipation, as I did early in my career. I couldn’t quite figure out how to get to Governor’s Island, and I knew I didn’t want to be on the same ferry as them. Fancy seeing you here, Maggie. I’m just taking the ferry wearing three cameras like I always do. Their ferry was late, adding to my already overwhelming anxiety. When they finally arrived, I could see her. She is tall and stunning in a confident yet nonchalant way.  If I could see her, I knew she could see me, so I ducked down into a cabana with four or five men. I was wearing my Contax and a Sony as well as a Leica, so they knew something was about to go down.

My friend is about to get engaged. I was nearly hyperventilating.I haven’t had a panic attack in many years, but I was weak in the knees. I have played this tape back a dozen times since then. Why was I so afraid? She was definitely going to say yes. It was just I couldn’t be the one to give it away. 

Get in here, Honey. The boys made a place for me. Do you need a margarita? 

Absolutely not. 

When Michael got down on one knee, the boys cheered, and I remembered how to click the shutter and suddenly felt like I could breathe again. 

That night we created some portraits. Maggie has always encouraged me in my work. Not everyone will value the artistry of what you do, she told me one time. 

She’s a beautiful person, inside and out. One of those old souls who spews wisdom of a person twice her age. Her talent for editing is beyond anything I’ve seen. (And, it’s worth mentioning that I’d hired and fired a few editors prior to her.) 

I felt nervous to send her the photos. The film took forever. It was, of course, worth the wait. We joked on the night of their proposal, “Hey, I know a great editor!” Don’t worry– I didn’t make her edit her own photos. Although there was this unfortunate bicycle parked by the fence line, and I do think she removed it for me.

I loved photographing this moment and seeing her shock when she realized that “the photographer” was me. This was a moment I’ll never forget. I have the best job. It’s the people who make it so. 


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