Jon Durham and Kelly were married in the small town of Lewiston Woodville. This is a part of North Carolina where if you blink, you might drive past it. As I was driving into town, I lost cell-coverage, and due to the lack of GPS, I was forced to pay close attention to my surroundings so that I wouldn’t miss any of my turns. This lack of cell coverage heightened my awareness to the history of this small town. As I drove passed crumbling tobacco barns, I could imagine what this town might have been like in its hay-day. Farmers driving their tractors filled with cotton, soy beans, and tobacco; families going to their local church with their covered dish of snap beans to share at the potluck dinner. I could imagine kids being pushed in their tire swings, and families sitting on their front porch swing, drinking sweet tea and watching the sunset. There is a unique history in this town, and though I might not have the facts straight, I was still captivated by the stories that have gone untold in this small town of Lewiston Woodville.
The first location I visited when I arrived in town was the Thompson-Urquhart Historic House. This was where Kelly and the girls were getting ready on the wedding day. As I drove down the dirt path under a canopy of pecan trees, I could feel creativity beckoning me to simply enjoy this rare opportunity to be around so much history and textures. The interior of the house was dark and moody…it reminded me of the Civil War era, and the exterior is where I really came alive. In the “backyard” there were run-down barns with rusted red tin roofs, and multiple hardwoods creating beautiful shade. I truly had a blast photographing Kelly, her family, and all of the bridesmaids in this location.
The wedding ceremony was situated in front of St. Frances Methodist Church, a place now known as The Chapel Between Cotton & Gin. This lovely church was built in 1845, and as I arrived the day before the wedding, I was overwhelmed by its beauty. The steeple stretches high above the cotton fields; the chipped cream paint paired with a dark green door is truly a sight to behold. This church is a gem in North Carolina, and an incredible place to have an outdoor wedding.
When I photograph at a historic location, I try to still myself and imagine who has walked where I was walking. If the land could talk, what would it tell me? This frame of thinking helped me to photograph Kelly and Jon Durham's wedding. They became a part of this church’s story, and one day, generations will look back on these images, As I was exploring the land, I found gravestones dating all the way back to 1860s. I couldn’t help but to be inspired at this church.
However, as much as I was captivated by all the historic locations, none of that compared to the indescribable beauty of Kelly and Jon Durham. They have a warmth that is rare to come by. When Jon Durham rests his hand on your shoulder, and looks deep into your eyes to ask how you are doing, you can tell that he means it. When you are around him, he has a gift of showing his genuine gratitude for you in the steadiness of his gaze. Kelly has the ability to make you feel valued and comfortable all in the matter of a smile. She is confident, stress free, and all around joyful, and when anyone’s around her, their day is instantly better. I couldn’t imagine a better match than Kelly and Jon Durham. Their love for one another, paired with their love for friends and family is what love stories are made of. It was such a treat to be a part of the Morgan’s becoming husband and wife.