“I always had a camera and was constantly taking pictures of everything,” Kuntz said to ICTMN in an email. “When I turned 18, I opened my first credit card and purchased a DSLR, which is just a fancy name for a large camera. I began photographing sports for the local paper and it grew from there.”
Now at the age of 24, Kuntz’s photography resume has expanded. The sports- photojournalist- turned- wedding- photographer’s web site MelanieSioux.com is an ode to her middle name and Native heritage. Kuntz, Sioux, is located in Bismarck, North Dakota. After taking individual photos of Lauren Cosgrove in North Dakota, Cosgrove brought in her fiancé St. Louis Blues hockey star TJ Oshie.
“At the time TJ was playing in the NHL and had not been selected for the Olympic team,” Kuntz said. “It was pretty exciting to meet a UND [University of North Dakota] hockey star and being able to say I photographed an NHL player.”
When Oshie, Ojibwe, made it to the Olympic games, Kuntz said that it was just the “icing to her cake.” But, she also said she didn’t want her experience to be overblown.
“I didn’t want to be that sell out posting pictures and joining in the media frenzy,” she said. “But after finding a number of my pictures being posted to random sports pages…I thought it only fair to tell my side of the story and enlighten people on their amazing relationship.”
She said that taking the photos of the couple was like “watching a love movie.”
“I was so envious of the way they loved each other and interacted, something to be admired. I was single at the time, and the way T.J. treated Lauren made me raise my standards for men. I loved being around T.J. and Lauren, not because he’s famous, but because they are so genuine and nice. I enjoyed how flawless it was to have them smile and pose at each other because they are truly madly deeply in love!”
However, the Sioux photographer did allow ICTMN post these photos.
Oshie and Cosgrove pose for photos together near Bismarck, North Dakota. Oshie attended the University of North Dakota before being selected first round in the NHL draft by the St. Louis Blues.
“Following our session we went out on the town. It was obvious TJ was a local celebrity as he was a stand out hockey player at UND and now known for his position with the NHL team the St. Louis Blues,” Kuntz blogged. “Everywhere we went people wanted autographs and pictures, but as soon as he was done smiling for his fans it was right back to Lauren. No matter how many people were staring at him in shock of his presence, he made it very clear he only cared about one thing and that was Lauren.”
“I was somewhat nervous,” Kuntz said on her blog about the photo session with Oshie. “This was the first time I had photographed a professional athlete in a session rather than a sporting event. The session was great, their chemistry was impeccable and I managed to hold myself together and stay focused!”