In an effort to express how deeply grateful I am for the opportunity to shoot this wedding with Roberto Panciatici it only makes sense to bring it all the way back to the beginning of the journey even if that means this is going to be lengthy! So here goes…
For starters, I am not even sure how I found Rob, all I know is that it was about a year and a half ago and in the short amount of time that I’ve known him, he has become one of the greatest influences in my life.
I had just lost my job and was feeling the weight of many mixed emotions (lots of anger for a couple of weeks mostly). It was a very confusing time in my life but I kept telling myself that this suffering is not an unfair coincidence, but rather, painful guidance. So, I could either break down and stay broken down, or I could break open and find out who I really was (and more importantly, trust who I was becoming). It was my decision. So, I gave myself only one option to “follow my bliss”, even if that meant I was diving into the unknown and even if it was terrifying. Looking back now, the decision to become a full time photographer has given me quite a life, one that I am pretty damn proud of.
I’ve always appreciated a really captivating photo, one that spoke a thousand words with imagery alone. It wasn’t something I was super talented at (in fact, in my own opinion, I had no talent in it at all for many years when I started out…) but I was always fascinated by talented storytellers. So, when I came across Rob’s website and started going through blog post after blog post, I was speechless. No matter where Rob was in the world, he captured the very essence of his subjects in the most profound way. I can’t even remember if his posts were in English or Italian but it didn’t matter. Rob wrote a novel in photographs and left me in awe. The thing about his work is that you don’t just notice some things in his photos, you notice something about his photos. And that is everything. His photos have no prejudice, no rules, no laws. I’m convinced he could take a photo of a spoon and I would end up feeling connected to the spoon.
So little ol’ me, sent him a real classy DM basically expressing how obsessed I was and much to my surprise… we hit it off 🙂 Minor language barrier and all! Mind you, I hadn’t ever been out of the country before, nor did I know anyone that lived in another country so this was WILD to me. I had a friend halfway across the world! We kept in contact here and there, me obviously being witty and funny 😉 and Rob usually using me for my expert skills in the English language for editing blog posts 😉 He also gently told me one time after looking at my portfolio that basically my photos lacked depth, which actually was the best constructive criticism I had ever received and is the reason I now find myself chasing shadows. Nonetheless, it’s been a pretty cool friendship, one that I am grateful for.
Alright, lets get to the good stuff… I started mentioning to Rob, that “one day” I was going to travel to Europe and I would force him to let me shoot a wedding with him. And he would respond with something along the lines of, life is too short for the “somedays” (and then would mention that he typically shoots alone). So, I would complain to him that my life was too complicated to do what I really want to do, things like…. I have a child, no money, and an unsteady career (and then I would also disregard the shooting alone comment 😉 ). But, he would repeat the same thing about life, and it started to change my perspective. I loved what I was doing and the direction my life was heading in but I knew I needed Europe. So instead of saying “one day”, I gave myself a deadline and started saying, “next year I will go to Europe”. I didn’t know how I was going to do it, but I knew that if I wanted something bad enough, the universe would conspire in helping me get it.
Fast forward months later, I really began to manifest my life. I stopped letting life happen to me, and started making life happen. No one was going to chase after my goals for me, it was up to me to chase after them. Long story short (even though this is already really long) the opportunity to travel to Europe with my best friend presented itself and I was NOT about to let this happen without at least meeting Rob in Berlin and hugging his neck. So, in order to make it all work, I spent a whole month in Europe (blogs and vlogs and all the things coming soon!) and traveled from Germany to Italy with Rob and photographed the dreamiest most intimate wedding at the most incredible bed and breakfast, with the most spectacular views, with the most beautiful and down to earth couple (who happened to be from Tennessee, which happens to be my second favorite place in the world!) I honestly can’t say enough good things about the Follonico B&B and the whole experience!
Ultimately, spending time and shooting with Rob was one of the absolute highlights of my life (Europe now has about 4 out of the 5 top moments of my life 😉). I still can’t describe what I experienced in many words, but I just think that some of the best things in life cant quite be explained (still learning to accept that). I am just proud of myself for getting out of my comfort zone entirely and believing the best for my life. Believing the best is what got me to Tuscany photographing the real royal wedding on May 19th 2018 with Mr. and Mrs. Arnold.
My hope, is that by the end of this whole blog, you will realize that the only limit to your success is your own imagination. We all have something that pulls at our soul, something that lights us up. I just encourage you to chase that. Have the courage to chase your destiny. And if that means you need to photograph a love story in Italy with a photographer that has inspired your life… then by all means, do that. <3
Rob – Thank you for being you and for helping me to be a better person. I truthfully would not be the same human being if I hadn’t found you and forced you to be my friend 🙂 I hope I have plenty more chances to visit Berlin again (not for you though, only for the Chen Che Teehaus, obviously 😉). Just kidding. The world is a better place with YOU in it. Just like this blog is better with sneaky photos of you sprinkled in. See you soon my friend. Xoxo, Taylor.