Marlena & Nathaniel - Onlney, IL Engagement

posted on: September 12, 2007

Marlena & Nathaniel

One of the things I absolutely love about my job, is being inspired by the people I meet. Engagement sessions are a great chance for me to really experiment and take risks in ways that I wouldn't be able to on a wedding day, especially when there's a really cool location and a couple that's up for ANYTHING! Marlena & Nathaniel live in Des Moines, Iowa, but decided to return to their hometown of Olney, IL (famous for their albino squirrels) for their engagement session. Disclaimer: As a general rule, I don't like to post "normal" pictures on my blog, but that doesn't mean I don't take them. Anyone can take "normal/pretty/safe" pictures. I like to post pictures that represent how I'm unique, original, and offbeat.

Marlena & Nathaniel
When Marlena mentioned that we could meet by the hampster wheel in the city park, I had no idea what to expect- but sure enough, when I saw it, I knew exactly what it was!! It was definitely not an easy task trying to get two people to balance each other out inside a hampster wheel!!

Marlena & Nathaniel

Nathaniel had keys to gain access to the old Central School that they had once attended, but is now abandoned..
Marlena & Nathaniel

There were some left-over bits from the school which helped spark some creative thinking for the shots, random things were left behind like a geography map, desk, chair, etc. In this image with the map, Marlena asked if we should take down the colored bag hanging on the wall, but I kept it in as a way to balance the color of her shirt.
Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel
On flickr, I received a great comment about this series of images from the talented Jay Eades:
"this set has some really different processing "feels" for you, anne. what are you trying new? i think they are great, but it feels almost foreign to me in your stream :) not that that is a bad thing!"

I agree - this is very "different" from a lot of my work!! But when there's so much inspiration stemming from the couple and what they're inspired by, I do a lot more "listening" to the images and let them guide me into what tones and processing really complete the feeling. ;-) I'm also much more willing to experiment with my portrait work because it's more an expression of art than of moment.

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

I just loved the peeling paint everywhere - it was such a great texture to work with!
Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Marlena & Nathaniel

Just as we were getting ready to leave this area, Nathaniel was standing perfectly under this opening and it was just too funny not to take a picture!!
Marlena & Nathaniel

The "bling" shot!! (Go ahead, steal my idea, I know you want to!)
Marlena & Nathaniel

What do you get when you combine a boy, a girl, a row of urnials, a toothbrush, and a mirror? A funny and offbeat piece of photographic art for your bathroom wall...
Marlena & Nathaniel

This hole in the wall made the perfect frame for a little kiss. After all, what would an engagement session be without some smooching!?!
Marlena & Nathaniel

A big huge hug and thank you to Marlena & Nathaniel for making the trip to Olney, IL and getting access to such a fabulous and inspiring location!! It was so much fun!!!
Marlena & Nathaniel

38 comments, to add [click here]:

  1. you rock, anne ruthmann!!! love EVERY SINGLE ONE of these :)

    stephanie edens

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  2. Steal your ideas?!?!?! No way, never ever ever!!!










    Maybe borrow a lil' :)

    Ann, you are amazing!

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  3. I ADORE THESE!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Miss you girl.

    jn

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  4. OOh! Love that next to last shot through the hole :) great work Anne!

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  5. I think this is my favourite engagement session yet (besides ours)!! What an absolutely AWESOME backdrop and the muted colors are stunning.

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  6. After being a blog stalker for awhile now, I thought I'd leave a comment. :-) These are my favorite engagments you've done yet!

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  7. omg. I can't believe you got to go into an abandoned school to shoot. I am so jealous!

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  8. by the way, I think I might want to be your best friend.

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  9. Beautiful work, as usual, Anne!! Always inspiring.

    hugs!

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  10. Love these! What fun and creativity. Love your style.
    You really captured their personalities!
    Can't pick a favorite.
    Proud Mom-
    Pam

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  11. wow wow we wowwww! these are amazing! very nice my friend!

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  12. Unusual, but great and playful. You are unique!

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  13. anne!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    awesome awesome awesome awesome!

    these turned out just as awesome as we knew they would! i LOVE the beautiful color choices. every single one is perfect.

    and we dont look sweaty in any of them! :)

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  14. I am a friend of Marlena's mom and she just sent me this link.... WOW! You're photos are awesome! You are so creative. I'm subscribing to your blog because I'm so inspired by your work.

    Jeanne
    Hebron, IN

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  15. I visit your blog frequently and this time had to comment because there are so many cool shots here. Great job and one that I LOVE is the hole in the wall kiss, like we are peeking in on them.

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  16. Absolutely inspiring Anne! They are all faves.

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  17. I totally love this set! Of course, I love all your work so that's not a big surprise...

    Whenever I start dating again I want to have you do a love session for me!

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  18. This is one of the best engagement sessions I've seen in a long time. Very impressive. The merry go round picture and the hole in the wall pictures are great. So much originality and fun in these shots. High Five!

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  19. This is my darling friend's daughter, and it was a thrill to see how you've photographed her engagement photos!

    I really love the black and white shot through the square shaped hole as well as the one where Marlene is holding onto Nate's leg while he sits in the window.

    LOVELY job!
    Tiffany

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  20. anne these are some of the best of yours, yet! what an awesome location!! great job :)

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  21. beautiful! I love your creative eye.go

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  22. wow!! i love everything you've posted on your blog but these blew me away!! so unique and amazing!

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  23. I totally want to steal your idea! These are the best engagement pictures I've ever seen. Aweessomme!

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  24. Found my way here through the bride-to-be's mother! And I only live about 35 minutes from you! I just might have to see what we can set up for you to photograph my daughter's and then perhaps my husband and I...we have a 20th anniversary coming up and I think I deserve a photo shoot for putting up with him! ;)

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  25. Hi Anne, I have been an admirer of your work for a long time, both on flickr and on DWF and now stalk your blog. :) These are truly incredible pictures. The hole is the wall is my favorite but there are a lot of really AMAZING ones. You have totally outdone yourself. You are a true artist. --Sarah

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  26. these are amazing!!!!!!!! what a cool place to shoot. i especially love the hole in the wall one :D

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  27. Awesome eshots and location! I love how it is not just a random cool looking place but a sentimental one. That adds to it!

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  28. WOW!! AWESOME work Anne. Really. These are your best IMO. Nice work!

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  29. amanda reynolds3:25 PM

    You go girl! What an amazing and unique e-session! You're so inspiring!

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  30. Anne. You never cease to amaze me. This set is so fantastic and inspiring. I just marvel at where your ideas must come from. The hamster wheel is fantastic. The one where bride is in profile with her ring hand on grooms shoulder and his face is focused - love that. I hate the way most photographers seem to ignore the groom and make it all about the bride to be. That one just floated my boat. And the one where they are kissing through the little opening in the wall is fantastic too. I just love your work so much. Thanks for sharing it with people who aspire to be much like you when we grow up! You rock my world.

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  31. Super-cool, Anne! Ya know, I'm gonna bug you 'til you give me the secret formula behind the color on the one with them standing on the desk and chair!

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  32. Kim Sanderson1:38 PM

    WOW. WOW. Anne, I read your blog all the time and I'm always impressed, but you have truly outdone yourself. Those are AMAZING. Great work, very inspiring and it's so nice to see photographers out there raising the bar. You certainly have with this shoot.
    -Kim Sanderson

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  33. Love this series. What an amazing location. Very inspiring Anne.

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  34. what?!?! i made it into the text of your blog? now i feel like a superstar ;-)

    love all of these, anne! especially the hamster wheel. it was WORTH the work!

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  35. I couldn't believe when I came across these pictures. I was scanning the internet trying to find a photographer for my wedding this summer. I went to school with both Marlena and Nathaniel. It was really neat to see pictures of our old school. I can't believe it is just sitting there falling apart. It did however make for some awesome pictures. NICE WORK!

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  36. Anonymous10:18 AM

    this is where my family went to school!(dad,grandparents,aunts,cousins) creative! i love it! you really made Central look beautiful. it was recently torn down. Olney is a beautiful place to take pictures!

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