I know I’ve been MIA this week but in my own defense I had 4,959 photos to look through and edit.
I have known photographers who despise photographing weddings. They get bored by the sameness and routine, and by what they consider trite. Being a wedding photographer does involve facing these challenges; it requires you to document the moments in a unique way raising yourself above the repetition and familiarity.
Every photographer has to find a their own way to overcome the boredom of photographing the too-well-known. For me — I remind myself that no matter how familiar a situation (be it a wedding, or Lord, another commencement ceremony), for those involved it is their moment. This wedding belongs to Tiffany and Rob. And to them, it wouldn’t matter if a million other people were married on the same day, this is their day. I find that if I approach my photographs from that perspective then the repetition doesn’t dampen my interest. The images don’t feel commonplace. They feel like a vital part of recording a moment in history.
My photography teacher has always been a bit of history buff. He regards photography as documenting history and tried to teach that approach to me. It wasn’t until after the death of my parents that I was able to really see it from that perspective. I have photographs from 3 June 1967. Photographs of my mother and my father looking blissfully at one another. They look so happy as they dance and so very much in love. And it doesn’t matter to me that the poses are familiar, that the images look exactly like a dozen other weddings that I have photographed. The love on their faces, the love I feel for them, makes these photos precious. The name of the photographer has been lost. The negatives too. But more than 40 years later the prints remain and I bless that anonymous photographer who documented their wedding day.
So as I approach a wedding, I do so with a deep awareness that someday, long after I have died someone who loved Tiffany and Rob may find these photos and cherish them. Someone will look at the joy on their faces and be thankful to the photographer who recorded it. Seen in that light, weddings are not about cliches or mind-numbing tradition. They are each rare, unique, never to be repeated events.
I am so grateful that I got the opportunity to photograph this wedding. To see my friends on their day. To record what I have seen for them and for those who will come long after. And as an added treat they wanted a document of their photographer so I handed my camera over to Kim, Tiffany’s assistant for the day, and she took this picture of us.
It was a beautiful day.