Three things happened all around the same time over the last week that had me inspired to both write this post and try new things. It’s mid wedding season and we’ve been pushing ourselves to try really hard not to just ‘dial it in’. There’s a formula that you can easily slip into when shooting weddings: shoot the dress, shoot the shoes, shoot the rings, shoot the kiss, shoot the couple. We do it every weekend for months at a time and the challenge is not getting the shot…the challenge is keep it fresh and fun and exciting.
Speaking of fresh, fun and exciting…over the past week Marse and I have celebrated our 5th wedding anniversary, Lola turned 4 and I watched Twenty for about the 100th time. Now Marse and I have been together for about 7 years and most of our days are the same. We go to work, we come home and wrangle the kids into some sort of bedtime and supper routine and we fall asleep talking about all the things we have to do. Within that repetition we always find ways to make us feel like we’re still living and having fun. We jump off cliffs, we drink too much wine and we have unannounced water fights in the backyard. We settle arguments with Rock Paper Scissors and never question the outcomes and yes, we even hide in closets late at night, waiting for the right moment to jump out and scare the living shit out of one another. Through all the repetition that is parenting, we still manage to have fun.
So then I’m watching Twenty and I got to thinking about how often Eddie Vedder has sung ‘Black’. Hundreds? Thousands? I wondered if he knew that I was standing (or some drunken resemblance of standing) as tall as I could, screaming with 25000 other people, “Too doo doo too, too doo doo Too doo doo too, too doo doo” with chills up my spine. He sings it every night. I’ve only ever been there for about 15 of them but each time it was perfect. It’s important to me that I shoot like he sings.
Mid season wedding photographer conversations are always hilarious. There’s a pursuit of images that you don’t often hear about on photography blogs. Monday morning conversations usually go something like this, “Oh man we had this awesome couple in this incredible light but the clouds rolled in and we just missed it.” OR…”oh we had this girl shooting tequila on a bar and just as I went to shoot it, she jumped down…I JUST missed it. If only I was 2 seconds quicker.” This is the stuff that will give me ulcers! I know I talk about Elizabeth Gilbert’s TED talk all the time but it could not ring more true for me…just show up every day and do your job and from time to time ‘genius’ comes to you. It’s these genius moments that make me want to shoot weddings forever. Its never usually anything you can control, you can go looking for it and you can’t plan it…it just happens.
Like Archimedes getting a bath, I was watching Breaking Bad when it hit me…Just stop looking at everything the same way. Be the shaving cream. Be the shoe. Be the DJ. I read a quote from my friend, Emma Rose, the other day on the ISPWP site and, in reference to shooting at the same locations all the time, she said she doesn’t even look at buildings and rooms the same way as she used to. That’s inspiring to me.
That’s a pretty friggin’ long build up to a couple of images but this is about more than the images. It’s reassurance to ourselves that we’re not getting stale. It’s getting between the crotch of a shaving groom just to try something you haven’t done before. It’s us, as wedding photographers, jumping out of the closet and scaring the shit out of ourselves.
It’s mid wedding season 2012 and we don’t ever want it to end.