When I photograph an engagement session, it is important to me to help choose a location that has meaning to the couple. With the case of Elizabeth and Andrew, that selection also gave me the chance to shoot in my beloved Smokies.
Despite the number of visitors this time of year, the three of use decided the best place would be Cades Cove. Cades is VERY popular because it follows an 11-mile loop around the cove and is one of the prime spots in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park to view what so many people hope to see: the black bears. Even if you don't see bears, the cove usually offers the chance to spot deer, wild turkey, and coyotes.
But we were not there to shoot wildlife. Instead, we chose to find well-known spots in the cove. You see, Cades Cove was first settled in the early 1800's and the last resident left in 1999, after the federal government bought the homesteads and farms to create the national park. Andrew is a historian who has done projects about the cove's residents - but much more than that, he is a direct descendant of the families who lived here.
He's kin - and in East Tennessee, that carries a lot of meaning and importance.
Elizabeth had asked me if I thought it odd that they wanted to be photographed in one of the cemeteries, since they are both aficionados of visiting old graveyards. Not at all! In fact, I daresay since we visited the resting place of some of Andrew's ancestors, they would be delighted to see their future generations come back to share in their happiness!
Remember, pictures are for now AND the future. These images may well be viewed by not only their children, but their grandchildren and maybe even beyond that - and they will be able to see where their roots lie in the mountains.
And know where home begins.
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