Before Sunrise” is an American film made by director Richard Linklater. It was released in 1995, which was when I was 22. This film deeply influenced my life in many ways that hasn’t really become apparent to me until now. I was the same age as Celine and Jesse, the two characters of the film. I was living in Pennsylvania, but studying Art History in college and dreaming of Europe. I had never been abroad and would end up visiting Spain on a college trip the next year in 1996.

I loved the way “Before Sunrise” was filmed. It was very natural and it was like you were one of the characters. You walked with them through the streets of Vienna and took in the sights. Celine and Jesse only just met, but seemed meant for each other. They talked about their lives and the world around them in a meaningful way. They danced to harpsichord music, sat in 300 year old Viennese cafes and talked in an intellectual manner, they looked at art together and talked about it….this was the life I dreamed of! I knew I would try my best to get to Europe to study Art History and it happened in 1998. I studied abroad in London and Florence for one glorious year, and I spent that summer on a Eurorail pass visiting 13 different European countries, just like Celine and Jesse in the film.

I realized that this film represented the way I wanted to live my life; passionately, intellectually vibrant and aware of the past, cultured and well-travelled. It really influenced my life and I did end up living abroad in Japan and Ireland for 12 years. I have traveled to around 20 different countries and still have so much more to see of the world.

This film has influenced my photography of people in many ways. Like the director, I want to viewer to feel like one of the characters and be a part of their world. I photograph people in a way that is natural, yet is unforced. I want to show the passion of life and two people in love. I want to show the close relationship and friendship that my couples have. I want them to play, laugh, and show how wonderful and full of life that they are in this very short moment in time.

Even my logo is influenced by this film…from the classic font that feels European and historic. Crazy how a film from a key influential period in life can be so meaningful and affect me so deeply.

"Lisa O'Dwyer Fort Collins wedding photographer"

Ireland wedding photographer