their story won our hearts and YES! magda + jan have WON THEIR WEDDING

making a final decision has been ridiculously tough.

to say we've agonized over this would be an understatement.
it was a challenge to whittle the field down to FIVE but then to select but 1 GRAND WINNER proved nearly impossible.
we love each of these couples ~ and we love them for different reasons.

to all of our couples . . .
we want to reach out + hug you . . . in fact, we're ready to move in with you!
not only do we feel like we know YOU, we also feel like we know your family + your friends thanks to the many blog comments + emails directed or way. we'd really love to document your wedding ~ we just want to be there with cameras to our eyes, watching + recording those looks, those laughs, that love. we want to watch your MOMS, your DADS! (their emails + blog comments were especially compelling.) and we want to see YOU seeing each other for the first time that day, capturing it all in a way that will bring memories rushing back when you hold these pictures in 20, 30 years.

and to the couple who will win their wedding photography

(+ fabulous gift from Originals Paper Art . . .)
CONGRATULATIONS, magda + jan. You are our GRAND WINNERS.
Which means that in june of 2009, SilverBox Photographers will be traveling to warsaw, poland, along with your friends and family from 20 (even 30!) other countries around the globe to witness your celebration of marriage in
one of the few Warsaw churches that survived WW II. [historical note #1: 80% of Warsaw and almost all historical buildings were destroyed during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944 and had to be rebuilt from scratch, often from only old paintings.]

it's the element of TRANSCENDENCE that kept our hearts coming back to magda + jan.
jan and magda's wedding testifies to the power of love to transcend national boundaries, international warfare, even exile. there is a palpable EPIC QUALITY to this couple's story.... for jan's family, the wedding is a profound homecoming ~ a return to a homeland that was devastated by World War II . . . families wrenched apart . . . neighborhoods, lives, and national treasures destroyed. Jan's parents were forced from Poland during WWII when jan’s father:
"fought the Nazis for a free Warsaw, was wounded and taken prisoner. Later liberated by American forces, he fought with the British to the end of the war and started a new life in Canada."

Meanwhile, jan’s mother’s home in Poland:

"was annexed by the Soviets: she was deported to Siberia, escaped to India and finally made her way to Canada. During the Cold War, returning to Poland, or even re-establishing strong ties was unthinkable. Nonetheless, the family kept strong Polish traditions."

The chance for jan's family to return to Poland, after nearly 60 years abroad ~ to witness his marriage to a woman born + raised in Poland to whom he'll be wed in the same church were his grandparents were married ~ must be powerful indeed, not only for past generations, but for the generations yet to come.

Ultimately, the contest and your stories inspired us to think about when we make pictures, who are we making them for?

in part yes, we're making pictures of and for brides, grooms because the pictures are how you remember.
but we're also making pictures for generations yet to come . . .
the chance to document jan + magda's wedding is thrilling in part because their story starts many many years before they were born. we love not only how much jan + magda mean to each other (he was so smitten he learned polish for her!) but what their union means to generations of their families. we envision wedding photos that exalt in not only the couple's relationship, but in their families' lives and histories.

Pictures are a family's heirlooms.

both amy and kim have 60+ year-old photographs of their grandparents displayed in each of our homes. in the enderle-wagner house:

above, amy's favorite (ever) couple shot:
grandma jane had left the baby
(aunt jan) with her parents to travel across the country by train to meet her husband's ship (the USS Little) as it came into port. [historical note #2: the USS Little was later destroyed by kamikaze attack of appx. 124 planes near Okinawa May 3rd, 1945] Yet on this day, the boat anchored on the West Coast (possibly Seattle) and he was reunited with his wife (and lucky for us, reunited in the proximity of, based on image + print quality, a professional photographer ~ a local journalist perhaps?)
note the bold confident strides, the determined looks; the focus + the strength of these two individuals sets a "family tone" that amy has admired and found strength through all her life (though interestingly, this wasn't even a picture grandma + grandpa displayed ~ amy remembers uncovering it as a little girl sorting through grandmas big box of pictures, her favorite childhood pastime)
someday amy hopes to take a week-long working vacation and identify the photographer who created this work..... note the clever angle -- see the "beauty/service" sign over jane's left shoulder?

one of kim's favorite family photographs is of the farm where her father grew up. The house and outbuildings no longer exist; these were torn down when smaller family farms were consolidated into larger farms. "I love imagining my dad here . . . discovering that his calf had survived the tornado even though the barn was in ruins, reading "The Black Stallion," getting trapped under a large sack of potatoes, eating my grandma's homemade chocolate cake."


and so this contest has taken us many places: we've literally laughed out loud AND cried, too (being moved by a good love story should be a pre-requisite, we think, for wedding photographers!) and we've searched our hearts and our homes and our own histories as to why pictures matter so very much.

after much contemplation, what we've settled on is a story that doesn't start with a couple, but that starts, in fact, many years before they were born. we anxiously await the opportunity to help tell the story of this next chapter.