By Clay Barbour
The cover says it all: Distinction is once again bringing you the best in bridal fashion and trends. You’ll be forgiven for wanting to skip this letter and hop over to the huge spread (pages 64-89) to see for yourself the amazing work done by our team: creative director EJ Toudt, stylist Kim Wadsworth and photographer Shannon Moffit.
But if you stick around a second, I’d like to tell you about someone special our community lost recently.
As I looked over the bridal section, I couldn’t help but think back to my wedding three years ago and the very talented, very quirky photographer who took our photos (including the one of my wife, Siobhan, above.)
When we were planning our big day, Siobhan was adamant that we avoid stereotypical wedding shooters. She had no desire for gauzy photos of family members posed stiffly. She wanted something that captured the energy and grittiness of our life in downtown Norfolk.
Enter Jeff Hewitt, a local factotum who was equal parts poet, journalist, community activist and photographer. He had developed something of a following in the local band scene for his concert photos. My wife was convinced he was the photographer for us.
Jeff was hesitant, but after hearing what we wanted, he took the job. On the big day, he showed up with his camera, a jury-rigged lighting system and the general idea that the wedding party would just walk around, and he would shoot us.
Photo shoots of this nature often involve a small team of professionals. Someone to handle the lights, someone to handle styling and the shooter. Jeff rolled up and said, “Let’s go.”
The results were unconventional, provocative and amazing. In short, they were Jeff.
We live in an age where people strive so hard to be different. Jeff strove to be himself, and in so doing, was utterly unique. He died in February when his moped was hit by a truck on Colley Avenue. He was a Ghent staple, a Norfolk original and one damn fine American. He will be missed.
I think my wife said it best. “What is Norfolk without Jeff Hewitt?”