Immediately after our wedding (as in the day after) I started yet another photography class. Why? I knew that fall was going to be filled with beautiful weddings and engagements to capture, but it is always short lived here in MN. So I had to find a way to fuel my soul for the long winter. And sure enough the first assignment; Share the most important photo you have ever taken. Woah.
First, anyone who knows me knows, I am terrible at picking favorites. I am indecisive, highly spontaneous, extremely reflective, and far to self aware about all of the above. Basically, the perfect cocktail for not being able to make any definitive statements about what is best.
Second, well that photo better be a good one! I am literally flooded with hundreds of beautiful photos everyday. Spectacular, emotional, mountaintop kind of photos, and now you want me to share my personal best? Yikes!
I paused, closed my eyes, took a deep breath and let that "extremely reflective" previously mentioned kick in.
When I take photos for couples what am I trying to create?
I will guiltily confess that there are moments I am trying to get a over the top, that is so cool, Instagram that and it will for sure get 30 likes, type of photo. It will be the first one I pick out when I open up your images after our session and quickly post online.
But more so, I am dreaming of that book that will grace your first apartment. The tangible pages in your hands. Images of the little laughs and touches and love you share. The book that will follow you to your first home, the one you show your aging grandparents or your growing children. The images that at first may not blow you away, but with age become more and more precious.
The fabulous thing about this is that I don't know what image in that book will make your heart sing most. I must simply capture you. Maybe it is the way your eyes crinkle when you really laugh, or the way he was looking at you while you were distractedly doing something else, but it is just so spectacularly, simply you in that space and time. You can run your fingers over that image year after year and be reminded of that beautiful, simple moment in your life.
So here is the image I chose. As far as lighting, and composition, and all that jazz...it really isn't anything special. But it has a story.
Rich and I continuously joked that we were bad at wedding planning. We literally asked our engaged friends, what are you doing?! We were not doing anything! We had 4 boxes of spray painted bottles and 1 giant chalkboard, we had no idea what would be cooked by the caterer, hadn't picked out table clothes, had never definitively picked colors (I liked the gold spray paint, and rich looked good in a navy suit, and these ivory bridesmaids dresses looked better then the pink ones...told you I couldn't pick favorites) And it was in that stage of beginning to panic that Rich and I decided to sneak away to his cabin for a weekend. While the car ride up was full of lists of tasks we should probably do, as soon as we got to that peaceful place everything changed.
Here was where we always found a weekend to spend each summer, where we had got engaged a year before, where we would be coming after our wedding. That place, there with him, was all that mattered. The tasks, and lists, and stress fell away and we sat and laughed, and swam, and read, napped way to much, snacked way to much, and loved.
And when asked what the most important image I had ever taken was, that particular day, it was this. This silly image, taken on accident (when the remote shutter would not work and I started laughing as Rich gave me the "why do we need another picture" face) that resonated in my bones. The one that with age, will always remind me that it was never about planning a wedding, but preparing for a life.