Something Old, Something New (Or, photographing a story without showing the entire dress)

July 15, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Meet Cassie (right) and Sue. They're a mother-daughter pair who are absolutely best friends. It's pretty sweet. 

Cassie wanted to wear her mother's 1988 wedding dress for her own beach wedding. However, there was a great deal of work to be done to transform the poofy-sleeved dress to a flowing gown. Enter Kelly Wilson, a retired art teacher with an affinity for recreating vintage wedding dresses.

This story, which you can read here, was such fun to write and photograph because of the love and friendship Cassie and Sue share. Vintage Wedding DressVintage Wedding DressDANIELLE McGREW TENBUSCH | for the Daily News
Sue LaBonville of Sanford kisses her daughter Cassie as they pose for a photo at Blue Gardenia Bridal Boutique in Midland on June 9.
ÒWe have a really special bond. WeÕre best friends," Cassie LaBonville said of her mother.

Cassie and her fiancé Trevor were getting married in Mexico in December, but this story was shot in June for a July run date. Of course Cassie didn't want Trevor— or anyone else— to know what her dress was going to look like. As a recent bride, I completely understood and wanted to respect that. We agreed that I could photograph the dress in pieces, essentially, just never showing a full view. Since the dress was still under construction, so to speak, Cassie thought it would keep the final reveal a surprise.

Vintage Wedding DressVintage Wedding DressDANIELLE McGREW TENBUSCH | for the Daily News
Cassie LaBonville and Kelly Wilson share a laugh at Blue Gardenia Bridal Boutique in Midland on June 9. Cassie LaBonville will be marrying Trevor Camanse of Gladwin on Dec. 19 in Riviera Maya, Mexico, wearing the dress Wilson created from her mother's gown.
So how to photograph this, practically? I tried to focus one two main aspects:  the emotions and relationship between the women and details.

Women working together, laughing and creating was an important part of the narrative. The new dress' very existence was because of the relationship of Cassie and Sue. Kelly's amazing work was another aspect of this relationship growing together on this journey to Cassie's next step in adulthood.

Vintage Wedding DressVintage Wedding DressDANIELLE McGREW TENBUSCH | for the Daily News
Cassie LaBonville holds pieces of lace as seamstress Kelly Wilson and her mother Sue LaBonville discuss the design at Blue Gardenia Bridal Boutique in Midland on June 9. Cassie LaBonville will be marrying Trevor Camanse of Gladwin on Dec. 19 in Riviera Maya, Mexico, wearing a remade version of her mother's wedding dress.

The other aspect I could photograph was very tight detail shots; out of context, they showed the craftsmanship but not revealing the full picture.

Vintage Wedding DressVintage Wedding DressDANIELLE McGREW TENBUSCH | for the Daily News
The bodice of Sue LaBonville's wedding dress, featuring a high neck with lace detail, was attached to a new skirt for Cassie LaBonville's gown. Kelly Wilson of Midland has remade many vintage wedding dresses like this.
"I get to pull pieces together. ItÕs kind of like a collage,Ó she said. "It's fun."


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