THE SHORT VERSION
I’m Anne-Claire Brun, a wedding photographer based in California.I grew up in France and I love traveling worldwide to shoot destination weddings. When I was 24, I took a sabbatical: I left everything to travel for a year.
I never moved back.
I learned about light and photography while living on the road, in a van, traveling across Australia. Being on my own for long periods of time, surrounded by nature made me notice light and people differently ; it taught me how to live in the moment and appreciate every little thing. It taught me to use light as a way to create and express emotions.
Most of all, it made me realize how precious relationships truly are.
I want to capture your day. I want to be part of your story. I want to make you see how much you are loved.
THE LONG VERSION
I’ve always loved writing stories. I started with a pen. Then a computer. Then… a camera. It wasn’t really planned. To be honest, I don’t remember the first time I held a camera in my hands. I remember my mom hiding hers in the closet, so I wouldn’t break it. And I was so curious about it! It was like a magic wand.
And then I grew up. I went through school, dreaming of becoming a lawyer (yeah, I don’t know either…), a journalist or a writer. And instead of sticking band’s photos all over my walls, I was sticking pictures of far away places, while listening to music as loud as possible. Everyone told me it was impossible: the jobs that screamed my name had “no future”. So I went and did boring things. But I had photography in a corner of my mind. Photography was more than a hobby. It was about the light, about the colors and textures. It was about people. Not my people though, because… You know that saying “you never get it right with your own family”? Well it’s very true for me. I always had trouble fitting in and being myself. Being vulnerable. Everything was so complicated, unsaid, painful and the happy moments, for some reason, were so important that they became overwhelming. I always read a lot. And watched people, friends and family. I watched them, trying to figure out why relationships are so fragile, intense and precious…
And suddenly, I was an adult. I ended up with a 9-5 job in an office but I didn’t mind: I lived in a big enough city and my work was in the countryside. It was perfect. I worked there for three years.
At 23 years old, I went on a trip. It was Asia. And in Asia, I fell in love with the rest of the world. I got contaminated by the travel bug. All the smells, the colors, the noises, the heat and humidity… Eating Pad Tai in a crowded street in Bangkok. I realized then that I couldn’t spend the rest of my life working in an office. I still didn’t think I could live from photography but I needed to keep going and photography was the way to tell everything that was happening. Photography was my way of expressing what I couldn’t say with words. And then something happened and I got money. I decided to do two things with the money: leave to travel for one year in the country I had dreamt about for so long and buy the best camera I could afford.
I left everything behind. It was just my camera and me (+ a couple of bags, I WAS leaving for a whole year!) Australia was my year of freedom. I could be anyone I wanted, no pressure, no consequences. It was such a rush of freedom, it completely changed the vision I had of myself and who I thought I could be. It changed everything. It’s on the road that I really learned how to take photos and see the light. I was in Australia, in Asia, (Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam), India… I went where destiny seemed to have made a path for me. With a camera in my hands, nothing mattered besides what was around me. The moment. The light, the people, the colors; It was like I was wearing magic glasses. I could see the world differently.
In Asia, I met a guy. He looked at me weird because I was taking a lot of photos. How couldn’t I? We were crossing the border from Thailand to Laos and, on the river, there were kids waving at us. Beautiful, heart shattering, kids in the sunset light. I was in Heaven.
And so that guy was American. And he loved taking photos, too. We started talking and… Four months later, I was in his country, leaving everything behind: my job, my friends and family. My life. For real this time. I risked everything just to see.
We were in California and his friends were getting married. They asked him if he could take photos and I tagged along. But the moment we arrived there and started taking photos, it hit me: I was a different person. I was confident and I knew what to do, how to use the light and where to be. It was like a sixth sense. And I was telling a story: it begun by the delicacy and quiet peace of the getting ready, the details, the surroundings, the first moments when the excitement and nervousness start. The first look and the contained emotions starting to spill over… And from there, the spiraling of moments: family hugs, tears, speeches; getting married and joined to someone else’s life… The fun, laughs, jokes and kids screaming, running around playing… The celebration of life and love, the energy of the dance…
All of it, I got to capture. It wasn’t easy… but it was. It felt like I was meant to follow that path and I had never felt that sure about anything before in my life. I had found my own way of writing stories.
My husband and I got married in Vegas. I couldn’t have made it through an actual wedding (brides are my heroes). We moved to NYC, shot together for a while, then separately. I had to do it on my own and it was WAY too much time with my other half :D
I started my business in France as well; shot there back and forth with the USA. Three years later, we moved back to California… And here I am.
14 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME
1. I wish my name wasn’t so complicated. “Anne-Claire” is pronunced “æn klɛər” or “Ann Clair” but don’t sweat it, I go by “Anna” on wedding days ;)
2. I could eat only ice cream. Or Sushis. Or chips.
3. I love to dance and consider it a workout.
4. I sing all the time (and very badly, ask my husband)
5. I love making lists ; post-its have taken over my life.
6. I can watch and read the same TV show/movies and books over and over again if I loved them.
7. I’m a terrible cook (I always leave the kitchen to do something else and forget to come back…)
8. I am writing a book since 2006. Not sure I’ll ever finish it.
9. I used to be addicted to World of Warcraft.
10. I have a yorkie-poo and she wakes me up every morning by snuggling in my neck. She always makes me smile.
11. I do not like to have my picture taken so I get it. I will make you feel comfortable… and look your best ;)
12. I am fascinated by movies and books about travel through time (Replay, the time traveler’s wife, somewhere in time, la nuit des temps, Back to the Future, Donnie Darko, M. Nobody…)
13. I want to travel to one new country per year of existence. I’m already late: I’ve “only” been to 27 (France, England, Scotland, Germany, Belgium, Cambodia, Thailand, Vietnam, Laos, India, Australia, Canada, USA, Spain, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia, Mexico, Italy, Malaysia, Indonesia, Costa Rica, Ireland) (I was born in 1984).
14. This is my favorite and oh-so-true quote: “You don’t make a photograph just with a camera. You bring to the act of photography all the pictures you have seen, the books you have read, the music you have heard, the people you have loved.” – Ansel Adams
THE WAY I SHOOT
You might already be able to guess when you see my work but here’s the way I shoot: I basically try to be invisible, (except for the group photos). I try to make you feel comfortable, make you relax. During the whole day, I’ll be shooting from all over the place, capturing whatever is going on, to tell the story of the day. Rarely (if ever) will I ask you to look at the camera.
During the couple photos, I’ll help you if you are lost. I’ll give you guidance and ideas of poses. And then, you’ll move to feel comfortable and shift back into being yourself. That’s when I’ll work my magic.
I love to shoot couples for the obvious reasons: happiness, love, celebration… But I love shooting people to put them in the best conditions possible; to show them how beautiful they are. How beautiful you are. And how much love you are surrounded by.
Sometimes, actually most of the time, people don’t know how beautiful they really are. They only see what’s wrong with them. They cannot see the whole picture. I try to make them see themselves through my eyes, if only for a day.