Intro by Skip Cohen
I've written a lot about the social side of social media. When it comes to meeting new people, communicating and sharing images and concepts, there's very little that's more fun than the Internet. It gets even better when you take the extra step and actually meet somebody from cyberspace, or at least contact them with a phone call.
Meet Mike Allebach who I initially "met" through Facebook Wedding Photographers and Twitter. His twitter handle is @TattooedBrides and after a comment or two that reflected his love for weddings, I went off to check out his site. I loved his work. Over and over again, he demonstrates his skill set and understanding of the craft. Mike creates a solid reminder that it doesn't matter what your niche is - you still have to be able to tell the story.
His footer on his email says it all...Mike Allebach: Founded Brandsmash as a marketing resource for small business owners with his mantra “Your story changes everything.” Hailed by a Rock n Roll Bride as “the Original Tattooed Bride Photographer” Mike Allebach crafted one of the most distinct niches in photography. Ariel, author of Offbeat Bride said “It’s obvious that Mike Allebach so totally gets offbeat brides.”
People ask me how I found my niche, rather I think my niche found me in high school.
So there was this moment when I was in high school, where I stood outside the group and waited for someone to say “hi”. Maybe I was too shy, too eccentric, didn’t have the right clothes, didn’t have my shit together, didn’t like “their” music and I wondered why I had to play by their rules….and I waited…
Part of me has always felt like an outsider. The stories I tell and the photographs I take are a way of me bringing people from the outside in. In high school I also joined a punk rock band that was influenced by Minor Threat, Rancid, Sick of it All and The Dropkick Murphy’s. We played for 4 years, released 2 CDs but my dreams for punk rock stardom turned into photography as the years went by. I’m still a punk rocker - at least that's what I tell myself.
In my heart I’m instinctively inclusive, always looking for ways to draw others into the circle and make them feel wanted, heard, and appreciated. It’s my punk rock ethic. And damnit I’m tired of wedding magazines telling people to cover up their tattoos.
When I started photographing tattooed brides, no one was showing off wedding photos with tattooed couples in them. Tattoos were something to be covered up and hidden. One of my tattooed brides was told by another photographer that she met with “I’ll airbrush out your tattoos for a fee.” She lost the deposit she put down and went with me. I’m glad that I could be a part of the Offbeat Rock n Roll wedding revolution that Ariel of Offbeat Bride and Kat of Rock n Roll bride helped create. Mike Allebach
Images copyright Mike Allebach. All rights reserved.