WPPI: Who are some of your influences?
JMM: Our work is definitely influenced by that rich, iconic look of the 1940s and 50s, paired with an edge of modern editorial like Vanity Fair…while at the same time having a heavy focus on authentic & honest moments. We are heavily influenced by both early fashion and editorial photographers like Louise Dahl Wolfe and Avedon, as well as the candidness of Cartier-Bresson and Mary Ellen Mark. And we’ll just throw in Annie Leibovitz and Rembrandt for good measure!
WPPI: What are some of the most memorable photographic moments that you have captured throughout your combined career?
JMM: At our wedding in 2007, we had two signature drinks a blue one and a gold one for my alma mater & our favorite football team WVU- named the Pat White Wallop and the Steve Slaton Slamma named after our two favorite players who we were HUGE fans of. A couple of years later, we got an inquiry that at first we thought was a joke, but then we realized was real. It was for a groom named “Steven Slaton” who turned out to be one in the same! And when we went to shoot the wedding, the Best Man was… Pat White! We’ve photographed quite a few professional athletes and high profile people at this point, but that day takes the cake for us! Beyond that though, I would say photographing in Australia, on the cliffs at Wales, in the lavender fields of Provence, the streets of Rome, on the Amalfi Coast, and on a sailboat in Nantucket all rank up there pretty high!
WPPI: When did you know that you would become a professional photographer duo?
JMM: Honestly, I think it was our third date! We looked at pricing & contracts, and plotted out how to make a real go of this business. It was a HOT third date! 🙂 But we definitely decided for sure in the summer of 2006, when I had just graduated law school and had two offers for law firms in London & New York staring me in the face. We knew that accepting those offers would be signing on to a life lived apart. I would be working 100 hours a week at something I didn’t love and putting on hold all the things that we did. The final straw came when one of the firms said “Oh yea, the firm is great for work-life balance….when you have to cancel your vacation for work, the firm will totally reimburse you.” We turned them down right then and there, and we’ve never looked back.
WPPI: Do you have a preferred camera? Does that preferred camera have any preferred lenses?
JMM: We both shoot with Nikon D4’s, and I love the 50mm while Justin is a fan of the 85mm. But Justin is really excited to start working with more medium format set ups this year!
WPPI: What gear is essential for your shooting on-site?
JMM: We never go to a wedding anymore without our Profoto B1 & B2’s.We use them every single time, multiple times throughout the day, and we just love the look we get with them! They have totally replaced our speed lights.
We are just two people who fell in love and wanted to build a life where we could spend as much time together as possible! Justin taught me the photography side of things, together we learned how to get better and better at the business. And over a decade later, this little business of ours has grown into something we never could have imagined or dreamed possible. It has taken us all over the world, allowed us to photograph people & places that we still can’t believe are true, and through things like our blog and online resources for photographers (http://www.jmtheguide.com) it allows us every single day to help other people chase their crazy big dreams too. And I think that’s when you know you’ve built something good. When it stops being just about you, and starts being about changing lives for other people.