The ‘why’ Behind What We Do

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As photographers we generally all complain, especially at the end of the season, about how exhausted we are and how we need a break and how we want to sleep for a week straight, which I suppose is similar to anyone looking forward to their vacation (our off-season becomes a ‘forced vacation’ mandated simply by the weather and seasonal nature of our work, especially in the Northeast)

During the year itself – and I myself am guilty of this – we often bitch and moan about the heat and weather or length of the day or uncooperative bridal parties or not getting fed by venues. We can find a hundred things to bemoan.

But every now and then it can take the simplest thing to snap you back to reality – to make you remember why it is we do what we do. These reminders can come in many shapes and forms. Having a couple absolutely trust your ability and give you creative freedom. Getting that ‘perfect’ shot you KNOW will end up in a portfolio collection. Finding some amazing light that seemed to magically appear as a gift.

But the core of wedding photography is so much more than that. It’s capturing moments and memories. Documenting a milestone. Recording family history.

I always make it a point to photograph the grandparents and older guests because – well, they’re OLDER and I wish I had more photos of MY grandparents later in their lives. I can’t tell you how many time i’ve heard how happy couples were to have such an image. Just this past year a Bride told me her grandfather passed away a few days after her wedding, as if he was holding on just long enough to be there for her.

You might expect this in a way from older guests, but can easily forget there are innumerable ways to lose people unexpectadly. Just today I read this on facebook from a past Bride of mine who was doing a fundraiser:

“I’m walking in honor of my Uncle Billy who took his own life December 2009; the day after my 30th birthday. I will never forget that day or the way his actions have significantly impacted my life. But more importantly, I will never forget the person my uncle was before depression took over: the one who would take me to East Mountain Park in Waterbury to ride my bike when I was little; who taught my brother and I how to play wiffle ball (and tried to make us like the Yankees); the one who hosted 4th of July barbecues in his back yard; the one who drove up to UConn to pick me up when I was sick and my parents were out of state. 

I’m doing this to raise money for a cause I truly believe in and I’m doing this to make sure that my uncle didn’t die in vain. If I can help raise money for prevention and counseling efforts so that others have a place to turn…if I even have the ability to save *one* life by doing this, it is worth it.”

So naturally I donated, but it was her message to me that sort of stopped me in my tracks and became one of those reminder moments:

“Thank you, Robert. Some of the best photos I have of my Uncle is from our wedding day, so for that I am very grateful to you. I’m really happy we are all still in touch.

That statement made me both sad and happy at the same time, as I hadn’t really given much thought to how anything I did that day would mean so much that many years later to her in that manner – I was so touched. But what we do at a wedding does count, and IS important. And when you’re photographing your own events, try and think about this and remember your own family.

Think about the quiet legacy you’re leaving behind not only for your couple, but for their kids and beyond.

(and if you’d like to donate a couple of bucks – here is the link: http://theovernight.donordrive.com/index.cfm?fuseaction=donordrive.participant&participantID=17231 )

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