I got up from my seat to grab a tissue as I wiped away a tear. Here I was, sitting in the living room of two people I only met yesterday and I had tears rolling down my face as we watch images of a wedding of two strangers panning across the screen.
As the slideshow ended and the music faded off, Justin started to set out lunch for us all and Mary pulled up a picture from their wedding. And she asked us to ponder a simple question, “What does photography mean to me?” One by one, we went around and talked about images of husbands, wives, grandparents, love ones lost – how they affected our craft and why they lead us to pick up this calling of “see-ers”.
Only 12 hours earlier at the end of the first day – after pages upon pages of notes, and hundreds of photos and poses and bracketing…. I felt like giving up. And I was having an internal panic. That I had the wrong camera, that I would never be able to get clients, that I had no idea what I was doing. Mary came up to Amy and I to see how we were doing, and she could read it on our faces. In only Mary’s sweet, calming voice, she told us that nearly everyone feels that way at the end of day one. Sigh of relief – I shoved a chocolate truffle or two in my mouth as I quietly talked myself off the ledge of giving up photography forever. We shot a few more pictures with the bride & groom, hugged goodbye, and I rolled home to Middletown, exhausted but ready to see what day two held.
The next morning, teary eyed and trying to internalize my urge to ugly cry (hey – we’re artists…we have a lot of feelings!) I scanned my brain for images that move me, and help me tell the story of what photography means to me. The photos that are that heartswell of love for the people in my life, and inspire me to capture snapshots of life. I thought of an image of my parents – a close up of them, 17 years old, at the airport as my dad is boarding the plane for Camp Pendleton bootcamp in 1969 and my mom hugging him. Andrew and I, standing outside the Art Institute in Chicago a week before we moved. The city where we fell in love, became adults, and became an “us” in.
And in that moment I began to feel my “WHY“. Why those images make me feel the way I do about photography. Why it doesn’t matter if I have the right camera, or if it takes me years to get clients. Photography allows me to bottle moments. To be able to hang on to everything happening around us that hold meaning big and small. How the dress felt. The shoes. The veil. The smell of the flowers. Your hand in his. Little things that tell a big story about that day, that season of life, or that moment. Happiness, tears, joy. I want to bottle them. For you, for your children, for your grandchildren.
Justin & Mary’s Walk Through a Wedding was so much more than a “how-to” of point a to point b on a wedding day. More than how to organize a workflow, or the pretty flowers and chocolates of our “Cocoa & Chanel” theme.
It’s a deep breath – a gently guided conversation, a moment to pause and ask “why do I do what I do”?
So thank you J & M – for the big and small things! For showing me how to use a speedlite, for showing me how to slow down and ask “why”, for journeying with me in these days of my story, and for your invitation of friendship.
Your Why, your vision and your love inspired me more than you know.
Makeup Artist (Erin Infantino – www.simplygorgeousbyerin.com)
Designer (Sarah Goodwin of Daisies & Pearls – www.daisiesandpearls.com)
Head piece designer (Preston & Olivia – www.prestonandolivia.com)
Venue (The Chetstone New Haven – www.chetstone.com)
Genius Master Storytellers and Robusto Cheese Mongers (Jusin & Mary Marantz – www.justinmarantz.com)
Walk Through a Wedding Workshop (http://walkthrough.spreadtheloveworkshop.com/)