Thoughts on Africa

The days are counting down until I make my way off to the adventurous world of Africa.

I know Mike will be awaiting at the airport with open arms, and seeing his big smile will make me cry. We will make our way back to the hotel in the depths of the Ethiopian night; the deep yellow street lamps barely lighting the battered pavement. I know the next day I will have to face those who are far less fortunate than me, and wear my store-bought clothing and wave around my camera worth more than their yearly salary. I want to give these people the world. For now, I can only give them a slice of time.

I want to thank everyone from the very bottom of my heart for contributing to my project, Priceless Smiles. I’ve got enough film to contribute to 44 people! Mike and I will travel to the rural villages to give them the gift of capturing time. I can’t wait to see it in action, and even though every inch of me wants to save the entire world, at least, for now, I can find peace in this.

For those still wanting to contribute, you can order here and deliver to:

  • Carly Arnwine
  • 6203 Sierra Court
  • Manassas VA, 20111.

Thanks for reading :]

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A Rustic Manor Wedding | Shena + Tony

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Tony was out letting loose at a country western bar with some friends when the crowd seemed to almost part and reveal her. She was out trying to learn how to line dance with some girls when a hand tapped her on the shoulder. They spent an amazing night together, but parted ways without so much as a name or a number. After two weeks of having dreams about her dream guy, Shena knew she had to track him down. After hunting high and low, she finally found him, and the rest is history.

Their wedding was held at the Rustic Manor House in Leesburg, Virginia, and WOW this place was breathtaking. It’s a nature sanctuary, and is set back in the woods and open enough to make you feel right at home. The weather could not have been better, and Shena & Tony exchanged vows just as the sun was setting among the gorgeous autumn leaves.

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Bellinis! What better cocktail is there to celebrate such an occasion?

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Shena’s parents did an amazing job at creating such a beautiful daughter. And Shena then likewise passed on her good genes to her and Tony’s little bundle of joy, Colton.

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During cocktail hour, the caterers served these amazing shots of pumpkin bisque. YUM!

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I rushed Tony and Shena off with me to catch the last little bit of this delicious sun.

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Tony and Shena’s sweet little boy, Colton! His dance moves put mine to shame.

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DJ: MSE Productions

Catering / Event Planning: Ultimate Events

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A Maryland Backyard Wedding | Andrea+Steve

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It was Andrea’s dream come true. The moment she saw Steve’s house on water in North Beach, Maryland, she had made her decision:

She needed to get married here. She found her dream spot, and there was no going back.

The only problem was that the house, as it was, needed a LOT of work. The house belonged to his Aunt & Uncle, who hadn’t updated the place in years, and even had the original refrigerator and oven, which dates back before the 1960s. With only a few months to prepare before it got too cold, Steve got to work. He spent every free moment, and nearly every day, at his bay front home, cleaning it up for their special day. I’ll let you see the payoff for yourself. It was STUNNING. And the day couldn’t have been prettier. Congrats, guys!

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I LOVED all of the antique touches in their home!

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Dad & daughter dances – so sweet :] 

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Martha - Well aren't these exceptionally gorgeous of My new Sista and Bro!! And the Setting is breathtaking.

Love you guys; come see us anytime.

WE have THE Virginia Mountains right in our backyard

Anna and Brenda were gracious and so grown up WOW

Always fun to get friends and family together Your wedding anniversaries should become an annual event down at the Bay.

Right?

Laura - Most lovely my brother and new sister. XXOO

Laura - Most lovely my brother and new sister!

Priceless Smiles

Okay, so I’m heading back to Ethiopia mid-November to spend time with Mike & go on a safari in Tanzania & Zanzibar (AHHHH!!!! :D)

As excited as I am to be overwhelmed and enveloped by all that is Africa, I am most excited about this particular project. I plan to teach people there about photography. I want to show them how it can become art, and teach them about contrast and composition, and the emotive aspect of it.

As I was brainstorming & researching, I became discouraged… this was becoming far more expensive & dangerous than I thought. I thought I could possibly set up my own darkroom there and I wanted them to be able to print & develop their own work, to really get a hands-on idea of what photography is. As I expected, all of the necessary equipment would be really expensive and big and the chemicals would be dangerous.

So what then?

Then a lightbulb went off. POLAROIDS!

Not only will these kids and families be able to have a hands-on approach of what it’s like to be a photographer, but they will be able to KEEP their own work. I’d like to give each of the students 5 prints — one shot of their families, one of them, and 3 others to show what is most important to them in that point in time.

Think about how lucky we are in our society to be able to freeze a moment in time. Not just one, but ENDLESS. People in Ethiopia are lucky to own a photograph at all. Many of their memories will be lost & forgotten in time.

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Let me go off a tangent for a second. I spent some time with my Grandpa in Arizona and we sat down together and went through heaps of old photographs of my Grandpa as a milkman and a stunning picture of my great-great-Grandpa in his Civil War uniform. It moved me to tears. These tiny these pieces of paper have such weight to them that they help me to shape who I am and where I come from. I feel far more connected to my family and myself when I get to see the kinds of lives they led and what was important to them at that moment in time.

Help me help them get this opportunity too.

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Help me give them something they can pass down to their grandchildren. 5 tiny little snapshots seems like nothing to us, but it can mean everything to them.

As a part of this project, I’d take the pictures of their work, and post it on my blog, so you can see how your contribution would be helping them.

I just bought my camera on Amazon, it’s the Fujifilm Instax camera. All I’d need help with is the purchasing of the film — it’s expensive and comes out to be about $1 per shot.

If you feel like you’d want to help contribute, you can click here & ship it to:

Carly Arnwine
6203 Sierra Ct
Manassas VA, 20111

Also, if you don’t mind re-posting this blog post to any sort of social media to spread the news, it’d be GREATLY appreciated!!

Thanks for reading, and have a great day!!

:)

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Erin - Hi Carly

Just found this (possibly a little too late, but better than never right?), and I live in Ethiopia (but just arrived back) and would be happy to help out if you are in Addis Ababa. Email me.

Cheers

Erin

Sonya Verblaauw - Carly, You are soo right about how much a photograph means to someone! When I went to India, one of the natives that we worked with traveled with us to the Himalayas, and when we were there we met some pretty awesome mountain people! Anyways, when I was there I took a bunch of pictures of the people and the man who worked with us asked me to print them off and send them to him so he could go back to the same place and give the mountain people the photographs! I was so moved that he would travel that far just so they can have photographs of themselves and their family. We are so fortunate to have cameras and the resources to print the photographs. I wish you the best, girl!!

A JMU Engagement | Lauren+David

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There is a place, along a beautiful trail in the Asheville hills, that Lauren always kept in her thoughts. She daydreamed of her longtime beau and love of her life, David, proposing to her there. She’d never tell him, of course. That was too easy. These things have to happen on their own. Being the bearer of each others hearts, however, proved to work in her favor. David had that place in mind all along. And so, on that fateful day of September, David presented the (gorgeous!) aquamarine engagement ring — that Lauren + David MINED themselves!! — to his beloved wife-to-be.

I was so happy to meet Lauren and David, especially since they wanted to meet at JMU, where they graduated in 2007. I was introduced to them through my old roommate, Leens, (or Alina, as the outside world calls her), who is Lauren’s cousin and Maid of Honor.

Our time together was too much fun. First we wandered around JMU, and went inside of Moody Hall, where David + Lauren first met each other in class. I then took them to my favorite abandoned barn on the outskirts of Harrisonburg. To my surprise, the tiny little corn stalks that came up to my knees last time — were now 9 feet tall! I wasn’t sure how we’d get there unless we toughed it out and barreled through them. And that we did! They were such good sports :) 

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I have to say that my favorite part of the day was going to Horton Winery on the outskirts of Charlottesville to snap some shots — because we obviously did some tasting and I sampled all of their favorite wines! Then they bought me a bottle of my favorite: Horton’s own Xoco Blanco, a white chocolate wine that was impossibly delicious. I saved the bottle to help me remember them by :]

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Lauren Methia - ahhh the light!! love them, well done :)

Linda Harrison - Hi Carly and David:

The engagment photos are gorgeous! I love the settings you chose for your pictures. You guys make a very handsome couple. I wish you both the best as you celebrate your decision to marry and continue to grow in your love for one another daily.

Blessings to you both,

Linda

Lauren H. - Thank you so much, we are so in love with these pictures!! You are amazing to work with! :)