Erin’s Trash the Dress photo session – Take Two.

The response to our session has simply been amazing. Also announcing Rebirth sessions and a major safety warning.

I posted images from my recent Trash the Dress photo session with Erin, along with her story, on Sunday. The response has been mind blowing. To put it simply – it has become the most viewed series on this page since it’s inception five years ago. Let me make that clear. It has THE most views/visitors on this page EVER and it’s less than four days old.

I am blown away and humbled deeply. I do not want to come across as bragging. Nor am I diminishing other posts here. Rather, I’m trying to put it into perspective.

erins-trash-the-dress-virginia-beach-PHOTO 4

More images after the break.

We hit something huge here. Something deep and personal. Something that connected with the viewers.

Now, some would say it’s the images. I would say thank you. However, there are plenty of other images here that rightly stand next to these in terms of concept and execution.  So, I would say it’s not just the images.

I think it’s Erin and her story.

Over half of marriages end in divorce. Some, like Erin’s, ends amicably. Others do not. Either way, everyone has to go through the process of separating away from the other half. Yes, physically, but also emotionally and personality-wise.

These people, who have spent time with another person and have gotten used to being a team, now find themselves on their own and not sure who they are anymore as an individual. Now they find themselves needing to figure out who they are, mentally and physically.

I think these sessions are a step in that direction. Here is an opportunity to say “Here I am, world. Look out cos I’m coming for you.” It also helps them identify themselves as a desirable individual again.

I hadn’t felt sexy in a long time, and when I saw the pictures, I couldn’t believe it was actually me. It was liberating. It was freeing. It was everything I hoped for and more. I felt beautiful, empowered, and most of all they represented everything I was feeling. “

Then there’s Erin herself. She admits “I’m not 18 anymore, and am nowhere near a size two.” Women look at her and identify with her. They see themselves. They can relate to her.

I think that’s why this post is so popular. Here is a woman, baring herself to the pain one more time in the process of getting past it. She’s closing the door to that experience and opening another one to more. And she’s bringing us on that journey of self discovery.

I look at this as a rebirth of someone. I did another session with Naoma recently. She also found herself suddenly single and looking for a way to help get over the pain as well as find herself again. You can read about that experience here.

Because of these two sessions, I’m now offering a whole new session for those that find themselves going through a separation/divorce. I’m calling them Rebirth sessions.

Now, a little about these images. During a session we always “warm up” before getting to the main reason for the session. It was the same with Erin. We knew going in that this was going to be a very revealing session, both mentally and physically. She had zero experience doing such a thing so we had to get her into the flow of things. I needed to get her comfortable being in front of a camera, teach her posing, where to look, et cetera.

So we actually started the session an hour before sunrise to work out all those kinks. To get her warmed up. What we have here are images that were shot during the session but didn’t belong in the Trash the Dress narrative so I didn’t post them then. They are stunning images in their own right so I’m posting them here.

For example, we have some images here of Erin in her dress before it, and her, got trashed. She didn’t have any like these from her actual wedding day so I thought it would be nice to get some in before things got messy. Plus, she did an awesome job on her own hair and make-up and I wanted to show that off.

Major safety warning follows.

Now, if you are thinking about your own trash the dress session you need to know one thing. You need to be extra, extra careful. People have drowned during these kinds of sessions. No joke.

A wedding dress is usually heavy in the first place. Get it wet and sandy and it gets a lot heavier. Add shifting sand footing, ocean waves, and currents to the mix and you have a serious safety issue. Brides have been swept off their feet and carried away while now wearing an anchor for a dress.

I knew this and planned accordingly. I walked into the water with her. I mean arm in arm with me having a solid grip on her. She sat down in the water, again with me hanging on. At no point did she go completely under. She just got wet from her chest down. She then, with assistance from me, got back up and we walked out, again arm in arm, until we were on solid ground. I completed the wet look by pouring a one gallon jug of fresh water over her head.

This is why there are no images of Erin, in her dress, in the water. I simply didn’t want to risk it. I adore her too much and like having her around ;-).

So, there it is. My first ever Trash the Dress session. There are so many different ways we can do this. I’m truly excited about the possibilities of this, as well as the Rebirth sessions, and can’t wait to do more. Safely, of course.

Mark Knopp is a Virginia Beach-based portrait photographer covering the Hampton Roads community and beyond. Contact him at mknopp1(at)cox.net with any questions you might have or to book your session today.

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