There can be a simple beauty amidst destruction and in sharing this Virgin Islands Engagement Shoot we open our eyes to the power love has.
Sometimes its important to see beyond whats in front of us and concentrate on the power of human connection and the resilience to overcome whats thrown our way.
Hurricane Irma destroyed the Virgin Islands a little over two months ago.
For 55 days, the island of St. John did not have any power. Many residents were displaced – their homes destroyed and their jobs eradicated, forcing them to move back to mainland USA and seek help of family and friends to build a new life.
Its not pretty right now, its not the paradise that it was before the storm came but there is a survival instinct by its people and they are strong despite the adversity they face.
Photographer Anne Bequette of STJ Creative Photography wants to show that beauty does still exist on the island.
She wants to give hope for those who are helping rebuild her home and this paradise for so many.
So, stepping through broken glass and caution tape, climbing on uprooted trees, sitting atop debris, Anne photographed love in the ruins – the engagement shoot of Marty Bruckner and Lauren Saia.
She says of the day… “So many feelings and thoughts were running through my heart and soul yesterday during this engagement shoot.”
“I was so excited to be back behind my camera capturing the beauty that DOES still exist here, in the midst of all the destruction and rubble.”
“It was also fitting that my the first-ever photoshoot since Hurricane Irma, the strongest storm in Atlantic history, was that Marty was one of the young men that saved my life that day that Irma hit.”
“This couple feel like family to me now, and forever will hold a special place in my life.”
“When I look back on this chapter of rebuilding, renewal, and the evolution of St. John, I will forever remember the beauty found in the destruction, on this day.”
Marty and Lauren met six years ago on St. John.
“Our whole love story is because of St. John,” said Lauren. Marty worked as a boat captain and Lauren worked in the restaurant industry.
“I had heard that he had a little crush on me and eventually, he asked me to go boating one day. That was pretty much it. We’ve been together ever since.”
When Irma hit St. John, Lauren was visiting her family in Boston, while Marty was still on the island.
They had no idea of the storm’s impending severity and the fear that Lauren would have to face at the possibility of losing her fiancé.
Once things settled down post-Irma, Marty was first to come up with the idea of having their love captured amongst the wreckage, signifying what they could survive together.
Marty and Anne had rode the storm out together, so it seemed only fitting to trust Anne with capturing this powerful moment.
Marty and Lauren originally had plans to marry on May 12, 2018 at Gallows Point Resort on St. John; however, with all of the unknowns – power on the island, the state of the resorts, cancelled flights, their plans are on hold.
Life can be tremendously hard sometimes and throw things into the mix that are unexpected but its how we deal with it that matters.
Being there for each other through the darkest of days and nurturing and supporting each other through that is what makes a couple a formidable force.
Marty and Laurens story is one of endurance, and a love that is steadfast and has grown through these tough times and will continue to grow as they rebuild their lives on the Island and in time replan their Big Day.
You can also help support those rebuilding their live in the Virgin Islands…
Art for Love City has expanded is a marketplace for artisans in hopes of sustaining the creative jobs and lives of Virgin Island residents.
You can learn about their ties to the Virgin Islands and where they are donating their shop proceeds > Art for Love City
To Contact STJ Creative Photography