Juliana and Will met while they were both nursing students at Methodist College in Peoria, which also happens to be one of the colleges wherein I used to teach English. Once we started chatting during their engagement session, we soon realized I had been roaming the (albeit limited) halls of MC during the same years as them. This is one of those things that makes you realize how small and funny our existence can be; these two were sharing desk space and notes and falling for each other, and a person who would someday photograph their love, a stranger to them at the time, was just a few classrooms away. Now here we all were, living in Chicago, meeting for the first time in a city of 2.7 million people instead.
We spent their session roaming the city together, as they shared with me bits of their Chicago life as based on the areas we passed – how Juliana’s favorite running route used to be along the museum campus, and that Will proposed to her on the night they went to see Hamilton. Their personalities differ in a way that perfectly compliments rather than contradicts, and it’s clear from the way they speak and joke that they’re not only a great couple, but also great friends. At one point while they stood before my camera and I peered through my viewfinder, they casually started to dance – Will took Juliana’s right hand in his left, and I observed as their bodies naturally found a shared cadence. One thing I rarely ask couples to do during a session is dance – because without music or a few drinks or some privacy, this could quickly lead to awkwardness quite easily for many of us. But Will and Juliana came into it on their own, unprompted, and I watched and smiled and felt like this is probably them in their most natural state – just a couple of friends in love, happily swaying together whether or not there is music playing.