In Memory of Tracy Turpen

It is with a heavy heart that I write this post.

Last Sunday, Tracy Turpen, a young and inspired photographer based in the Carolinas, passed away at the age of 27.  The photography world has truly lost one of its brightest and most talented souls.  To say she was taken from this world too soon is indeed an understatement.  In my, and many others’, opinion, Tracy was the best of the best.

As some of you may know, Tracy was once my friend and mentor.  To anyone with whom I speak about wedding photography, Tracy’s name almost always comes up.  I always fondly and excitedly recall how I came to know Tracy:

In 2008, when I was still a sophomore in college, one of my former drawing professors got married.  We were facebook friends at the time, and while browsing one day, I took a look at his wedding photos.  I was absolutely blown away–these wedding photographs were unlike any I had ever seen!  Each one was an individual piece of art.  The skill and emotion and care evident in every single photograph was overwhelming.  I looked up Tracy’s website and blog and was absolutely obsessed.

Several months later, still very much in awe of Tracy’s work, I wrote her an email on a whim.  I told her about myself, how I had found her work, how inspiring she was to me, and that I wished nothing more than to learn from her.  I never expected a response, let alone a “Yes!”, but that’s exactly what I got.

So, in the summer of 2009, I travelled to Charleston, SC to learn from the amazing Tracy Turpen.  I got the chance to observe, shoot, cull, and edit wedding and commission photographs with Tracy as her assistant at a variety of locations throughout North and South Carolina.  Additionally, Tracy schooled me on the financial side of things–not only how to be an effective and professional freelance photographer, but how to manage a small business.  I also got to know Lance, her husband at the time, and Evander, her beautiful son, who then was only a baby!

As I often tell my clients and people I meet, everything I know about wedding photography, I learned from Tracy Turpen.

I closely followed Tracy’s amazing adventures on her blog, watching with wonder and joy all the amazing places she’d go and the incredible images she’d create.  I cannot express the sorrow I feel, knowing she is gone.

As one of the many, many people that Tracy inspired, my heart goes out to Tyler, Evander, and her family and friends.  She will be truly missed.

Tracy & Evander

A photo of Tracy and Evander I snapped at Tracy's studio in Charleston, 2009.

Tracy Rock Sliding

Tracy rock sliding in Transylvania County, North Carolina, 2009.

evander toes

Tracy used my camera to photograph Evander's toes. Summer 2009.

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