Earlier this summer, I sat down to a very soulful conversation with Kelly Guenther (from Kelly Guenther Studio), Pulitzer Prize Winning Photojournalist, Wedding Photographer, and Yoga Instructor. #wonderwoman One could become a vortex of insecurity observing a photojournalist who received such a distinctive award at age 25, having been honored with a Pulitzer Prize for photojournalism. Or instead, one could become completely inspired to look more deeply into life with the naked eye, just as she has, and ask some tough questions of oneself and do some considerable reframing. Result: A kaleidoscopic lens on a new life in Sayulita.
Let's capture the highlights of Kelly Guenther's segue into this new personal and professional adventure.
Fast forward, post Pulitzer, Kelly later photographed the "Vows" column in the New York Times, and opened her own studio working independently in New York City as a successful Wedding Photographer. She was at the height of a busy and successful career! However, she ran her studio long enough to realize she was becoming more of an administrator/editor and had lost touch with many of the fulfilling elements of being a creative and a photographer. Then there was yoga. Yoga had been a way of life for Kelly for 17 years, but she says she really got serious about it 4 years ago. Kelly admits that yoga probably kept her grounded and healthy while working in New York. Through yoga, her life in New York changed, she changed, becoming calmer and becoming more heart-centered and spiritual. Et voila! A metamorphoses took place; Kelly decided she could be of service in a spiritual way, as well as a Wedding photojournalist, all while slowing down her pace and getting into the rhythm of what she calls "a sweet community of people" in Sayulita and San Pancho.
DH: Why choose Sayulita and the surrounding area for a new life?
KG: This is a great area for a destination wedding, very diverse. The wedding vendors are amazing, very experienced, professional, and there is a sweetness. I love it here and it all feels unified.
DH: Do you recommend a destination wedding for couples looking at their options?
KG: Definitely! They are more intimate, there is more time to spend time with loved ones, and as a result, more memories!
DH: Is there any advice you have to offer a "bride or groom to be" ?
KG: Yes! There is some stress that can be avoided. Plan your wedding, but don't work your wedding. Don't sweat the small stuff. No one will remember if the napkins were the wrong color or if you were short a centrepiece, or two. Take the time to stop and look around, the day goes by so fast.
DH: Can you describe a typical wedding shoot and what the couple can expect when they use your photography service at Kelly Guenther Studio?
KG: Absolutely! First, I approach my work with love, I pour my heart into it. This is not just a job, it's a way of living. It is such an honor to be in the presence of a unique event that is centered around Love, Family, and Friends. I take that honor seriously. My job is to capture the true spirit of the wedding day. The best thing the couple can do is ignore me - then I'm just a fly on the wall documenting real moments as they happen. Most say they didn't even notice I was around. I prefer to shoot portraits after the ceremony, that way nerves are calmer and everyone looks relaxed and happy.
DH: What is your photography style?
KG: My style is real, raw, and clean. I look for warmth, and humor. Juxtaposition is important. I am looking to capture intimacy and connection. To amplify the special moments and magnify the smallest details, that ultimately tell your unique wedding story.
While wrapping up the chat with this lovely, "007 Love Spy", I ask if she would like to describe any unique and memorable shots she has taken previously at one of the weddings she has photographed?
KG: So many memories....... One wedding couple asked that I get a shot of everyone joining arms and rolling into a cinnamon roll. I shot from above. It was a cool shot...epic, actually.
Wedding photojournalism is honest; smiles, tears, laughter, click, click, click. The photographs are unposed, unprompted and "un-done". The results are timeless not trendy. Kelly Guenther's work embodies this style.
I asked Kelly, if she couldn't shoot weddings, what would she do?
KG: l'd be the weird bass drum player in a crazy, loud brass band!
Never a dull moment. That is the universal, all-embracing, eclectic lens of photojournalistic wedding photographer Kelly Guenther with Kelly Guenther Studio. She's got chutzpah, talent, and rhythm, all rolled into a yoga mat.... plus great aperture.
Did I mention? #wonderwoman