It’s not a bad way to spend a summer, traveling to weddings, photographing weddings, editing weddings. Every day I sit down at my computer with my big mug of English Breakfast tea, turn on my Spotify playlist, and open up another treasure box of beautiful memories.
It’s kind of wonderful, y’all. Not only do Jonathan and I have the amazing privilege of celebrating with our couples on their wedding day, but I also have the blessing of reliving those sweet moments over and over through the editing process. The quiet hours of clicking away have given me plenty of time to reflect on the moments that make my heart say “YES!” So I’ve been doing a lot of thinking and pondering and writing random notes on scrap paper to myself. This summer, more than ever, I’ve gotten very close to distilling my “why.” So this is my “Friday Introduction” for July, my “why.” But first, here’s what I look like at the very end of a beautiful wedding day, when everyone else is packing to go home, but we’re still running on all the happy energy of the day (plus more than a little sugar from wedding cake,) so we decide to keep playing with our lights. Because backlighting is FUN, y’all!
I love weddings where I can wear my pink Chucks all day. (Thank you, Tori and Justin!)
Why do I love wedding photography?
Because it matters.
When I was an art student at MUW, I spent the first three years majoring in Graphic Design. (Side note: I can’t believe my class is about to have its twenty-year reunion!) I enjoyed the craft of designing packaging and advertisements, but towards the end of my third year I began to feel dissatisfied. I realized that the kind of art I was creating was designed to be thrown away. There’s a word for advertising and packaging: ephemera. Ephemera: noun: things that exist or are used or enjoyed for only a short time. I began to wonder – was this what I wanted to create? My answer was no, and it was a strong “no:” strong enough to make me add another year to my undergrad career!
Also, I took my first photography class that year, and the photography bug bit me, big time. This was just before the age of digital cameras, when drugstores still carried film and even developer and photographic paper. Taking photographs with my little secondhand Pentax K1000 and then developing the film and enlarging images in the old darkroom on at the W was alchemy, it was craft, it was magic.
So, while I was editing another beautiful wedding gallery the other day, I remembered the year I changed my major. And it hit me: I am doing the OPPOSITE of creating ephemera. When we photograph a wedding, we are taking ephemeral moments and making them permanent. Eudora Welty said, “A good snapshot stops a moment from running away,” and I think that’s what I love about what we do.
I imagine the photographs we take being passed down for years and years. I imagine grandchildren and great grandchildren looking at these wedding moments – seeing the love in young faces that look so much like their own. I hope that one day our photographs will sit on mantels, fill bookshelves, and decorate the guestbook tables at children and grandchildren’s weddings. When loved ones have to say goodbye, I hope that our photographs will bring happy memories to those left behind. We watch, we witness, and we gather what we see, so that others can be delighted, be touched, be reminded, be comforted.
And I think that’s my “why.”