While a large portion of my photography is capturing wedding journey’s, I also get requests to document some pretty spectacular event’s as well. This year I had the chance to be the photographer for the Southern Research Institute’s 75th anniversary celebration in Birmingham, Alabama. The event was held in the heart of downtown Birmingham near SRI’s offices, behind the almost century old Quinlan Castle. My job was to capture the event design, candids of the guests, and an award of excellence presentation to the Institute on their 75 years of iconic research and development. The old castle was constructed in the early 1900’s, designed by architect William C. Weston and constructed by H.P. Hanna.
The inspiration for building this gem in downtown Birmingham came from the castle’s investors, who erected it from the actual plans of a medieval English castle that they saw in France during World War I. SRI purchased the neighboring castle in 2008. The castle has been and still is vacant since the 1990’s. Over the years the castle has been used as apartments for local residents as well as a homeless shelter at some point.
The weather for the event was perfect, with clouds covering the moon and the stars being visible behind the castle. The event planner (Jeff Nixon) pulled together a stellar cast of vendors to celebrate 75 years of brilliance and excellence. From lighting, floral work, catering, and pop up vendors, it was awesome to see so many new aspiring vendors. A.G. Lighting did a beautiful job lighting the castle and visual projections on the neighboring building…..as well as A.G. Events pulling together design and floral work for the event. Other notable vendors were Mimi’s Soda’s which made delicious homemade ice cream floats from their diverse soda flavors and ice cream like a vegan avocado ice cream with lime-basil soda among other fresh floats. Hero Doughnut’s was also there handing out their unique homemade organic donuts in the castles lit walkway leading to the exit that guests picked up on the way out. Savoie Catering was there and completely blew it out with action stations that included authentic Mexican, Italian, Mediterranean, and heavy hors d’oeuvre’s like chicken and waffles! The setting was incredible, the event was executed to perfection, the guests were fantastic, and I was thrilled & honored to document this event for SRI which has been a company that has been kind of an unspoken hero in their research for so many years.