It was 30 days ago today our dear friend and colleague and one of Seattle’s great wedding photographers left us, Jenny Guzman. Jeff and Jenny — an extraordinary husband and wife team — were the definition of true partners. In their life, in their work and in their weddings they touched so many. Their clients absolutely adored them, not only because of their soulful and beautiful photography, but because the pure love they exuded on their wedding day. They were beyond their business. They were beyond partners.
When the Guzman’s first came into our lives and the J Garner family, we bonded over a shared loved for wedding photography, husband and wife teamwork and of course our love for our schnauzer studio dogs. Jeff and Jenny shared their lives with their precious schnauzers , Wolfgang and Fritzy (since passed in early 2015), and I’ve had schnauzer’s my whole life, including our studio dog Lily. Over lunch one day, when the topic of photographing Jeff and Jenny together arose, we thought what fun it would be to follow a day in the life of the Guzman’s with their dogs. It was then that I learned what true soul mates look like.
At the time, Jeff and Jenny had been married close to 20 years, yet shooting them felt like photographing an engagement session. Extraordinary young love was present. While following their routine with their schnauzers from coffee in the morning at Pike Place market until their coveted “brown couch time” together in the evening, it soon became clear that these lovely animals were more than their pets — they were their children — and this was more than just a family — they were a pack. A pack communicates without words. A pack intrinsically knows the others’ needs. And it requires only being with one another to experience deep and meaningful joy.
We write this post today for our friend Jeff, and as a tribute to his beautiful Jenny. And while you may not have personally experienced Jenny’s lively spirit, warm smile and love for her clients, I hope through the images you’ll be able to see what I saw and captured on that special day. Jenny left us too early, but she left in high spirits. I never saw her not smiling; she was doing the work she loved with the man she loved. She had everything she needed in her Jeff, her Wolfgang…her pack.
This is a testament to how important our work as photographers is. Oftentimes we forget the responsibility we have as photographers for our clients. It isn’t until a situation like this where we are reminded about the immense value of what we do. Many have heard me talk about pictures versus stories and the importance to adopt the story telling philosophy in your work. It’s only through story that we can truly see the beautiful family dynamic and human emotion you’re about to see. I had the opportunity to say a few words and share this slideshow at Jenny’s memorial, the experience of seeing how these images touched all those I will never forget. Thank you Jeff and Jenny for the experience of sharing this day with you. I leave you now with the Guzman pack.