Things like this don’t happen often. I share such intimate and special moments with people only to never see them again. The families and friends I dance with, the heartfelt speeches I hear, the hugs and tears and laughs – they’re all so fleeting. This was different. Stefano and Maya are different. They don’t fit into any molds and the impact they, their families, and their shared love have had on me cannot be overstated. Thank you for inviting me into your lives, you’ll never know how much it means to me.
This was a packed few days and it took everything in me to curate this set down to what it is now. We hiked alps, climbed historical bell towers, stayed in castles, and my heart is full.
I thought it was a cruel joke. I read through Maya’s first email knowing that I must be getting played – I remember turning around in my chair half expecting to see my wife proudly giggling that she’d devised the most incredible sounding inquiry just to pull my leg. The ole’ photographer rick-roll. I was wrong and it was real — still reeling. The sheer insanity of locales was second only to the way the two of them connected with my work. The oft overlooked subtleties they appreciated solidified the notion that we were, the three of us, kindred spirits. There were massive logistical hurdles to overcome and the lengths that were taken to make these photos possible cannot be overstated. For that, I’m eternally grateful.
It’d be a travesty to not mention the help from my second set of eyes. My blood. My brother. Garrett Radford. He flew in to take the reigns as I flew out for another wedding and without him and and his insane talent, none of this would be.
Our time in Mo’orea was ethereal. Our hearts are overflowing. Their family, their friends, their culture, they enraptured us. Vespas were ridden, stingrays were pet, hugs were shared, tears dripped down, laughs erupted from the depths of lungs, and an absurd amount of Tahitian barbecue filled bellies.
The photos below are of the week in Tahiti. An unbelievable amount of kite-surfing, fire-dancing, coconut-eating, shark-swimming love.
**This adventure is not over – in a a little less than two months this story continues in northern Italy. Be still my heart.
My heart wasn’t ready for Texas.
Tears. Hugs. Rinse – repeat.
The help of Lauren Apel was paramount in the retelling of this story.