It is always interesting how things work out. While I was walking with Cal down at the DIA, helping him plan his proposal to Jackie, I received a DM asking if I was available in two days to photograph another Nick’s proposal to Julian. I didn’t find see the DM until it was less than 24 hours before the proposal. I was panicking. I wanted to help but was unsure if the opportunity to be part of such a special and momentous occasion had already passed. I texted back, “I would be honored. What time? We need to connect to talk logistics.” Luckily the window was still open. I left the house early in the morning with a cup of coffee in hand, ready to help Nick pull of his Detroit Metro Airport proposal to Julian.
When I arrived at the airport, it was pretty dead. I met with Nick and we began planning. The proposal itself would be pretty easy. It was trying to anticipate a few of the unknowns that we worried about. Julian was arriving with five of her friends after a girls weekend in Austin, Texas. No one in the group knew what was going to happen. It was really important that Nick and Julian separated from the crowd a little bit so they could have their moment and no one would step in between me and the proposal.
When the bell rang for baggage carousel 5, I knew his Detroit Metro Airport proposal was just a few minutes away. I watched as Nick pulled Julian’s bag and slowed his pace while holding her hand. Her girlfriends began to gain ground and Nick and Julian fell towards the back of the group. Finally, Nick stopped and asked for a hug as the rest of the group pulled away. With that, he dropped to a knee and gave Julian (and her girlfriends) the surprise of her life.
There are moments when a photographer has to decide whether or not their presence can or should be felt or if they are to strictly document and allow the moment to authentically unfold. This proposal called for a photojournalistic approach of just documenting the moment. In doing so, I thought I would tell Nick and Julian’s Detroit Metro Airport proposal in its purest documentary form – black and white.