For the past two years I have been looking for a full time Second Shooter for weddings- someone constant to make RachelLizPhotography more of a team and to capture those in between moments that can slip by during a wedding day. This year- I finally found her!! After a bit of nudging I convinced this lovely lady to join the team and I am so beyond excited to start working with her and to call her a friend. The way she views light and the moments that pass by her is so inspiring to me and exactly what a wedding day needs! I decided to really put her on the spot and give her a little interview to get to know her better. So without further ado… Meet Cristina Van Grol everybody.
The short version:
Cris is a wife, mama, and documentary photographer in Rochester, NY. (Rachel butting in already- together Cris + her husband Rory are also the dreamers behind Ugly Duck Coffee. Pretty Rad. Ok back to Cris…)
1. What inspires you creatively?
I’m inspired by so many things and it changes daily. Pockets of light will stop me in my tracks. All of the people in my life – their stories – they inspire me. The natural world and the way it connects to everything. Families inspire me – mine certainly keeps me going. [Photos by Cris beautyinthewild.co]
2. Currently listening to?
I was once told that I am an outlier in the radio marketing world because I flip between 98PXY and NPR (I love me some Bieber!). My favorite pandora station is Brown Bird Radio – it’s my go to for road trips – andI LOVE dance music. My favorite Treasure Fingers mix from 2008 frequents my CD player.
3. What are you doing today that 5 years ago you never would have predicted?
My life has changed drastically in the last 5 years. Five years ago I was running full speed at 3:50AM in 5″ Jeffrey Campbell Wedges trying to getbeer before last call (we made it). Now if I’m awake past midnight it’s because I had to do a diaper change before I snuggle back into bed with my son and husband. I never imaginedmyself in a role as wife and mother – ever. I thought I was destined to roam alone. This type of love and commitment is the greatest challenge and reward I’ve ever had.
4. Favorite memories from your own wedding?
There were so many great memories. One that makes me laugh to this day is when my nephew stomped down the aisle ahead of my sister. It definitely lightened the mood seeing as my bra strap snapped and I had screamed in horror just moments before. It was such a whirlwind of a day. Things were bound to go wrong so it helped to laugh it off and remember the simple reason we were there — LOVE! [Photos by Matt Miller wearediamondeyes.com]
5. Last movie you watched?
I can’t remember the last movie I watched on Netflix… but my last binge was Gilmore Girls. When people ask me “what was the most important baby gear I had as a first time mom?” NETFLIX. The answer isNetflix. I don’t know how I would have made it through the marathon nursing sessions if I did not have Netflix.
6. What do you love about where you live?
Since I was 16 I haven’t lived in one space for more than a year, so putting down roots inRochester has been a huge adjustment for me. After living here for three years I’ve realized that this isour home, we are staying and I should probably start hanging art and making it our own. So that’s what I’ve learned to love about it – we have a little piece of the earth and we can do whatever we’d like with it. Rochester allows you to do that. To create and make something. I think this City is special because that. [Photo by RachelLiz rachellizphotography.com]
7. Sweet or savory?
Savory. Yes, I will always have fries with that.
8. Any gnarly sports injuries? I may have been tipped off that there’s a good story here! (thanks Rory)
I was a competitive diver in high school and got back into it in college. I hit the board on a warm up dive because I was mentally distracted. I still can picture my face headed straight for the board inslowmotion. I had knocked body parts on the board before, even blacked out from hitting the water wrong when learning new dives, but for some reason this one time really stuck with me. Just the other night I had a nightmare that I HAD todo a forward somersault off of a divingboard and I could not do it. I think this summer is the year I need to start diving into the water again (or maybe just some cannonballs).
9. What is the last picture you took on your phone?
(you can find Cris on insta here)
10. What drew you to photography?
One of my most cherished items is a photo album that my mom gave me when I turned 18. It weaves together my life story with photographs. About 8 years ago I realized it was up to me to keep filling it up. I casually started taking photographs to document what was happening around me and it has grown from there. Now I see it as a way to journal my life – through images – rather than words. I never expected to take it on as a career, in fact that thought terrified me because I didn’t want to risk failing at something I love to do. But once my son was born, I was changed. Becoming a mother gave me courage to fail because my daily life is filled with multiple failures (and successes!). I realized that I needed to love something if it meant being away from my son, so with a push from my husband and a few friends (thanks Rachel) I started photographing other families and it has been an amazing experience so far. I can’t wait to see where it takes me. [Photos by Cris beautyinthewild.co]
Thanks so much Cris for taking the time to answer these and we can’t wait to get this wedding party started this year!