Part of what makes me continually enjoy the work that I do, no matter the subject or client, is that as a photographer I get real opportunities to connect with people in a real and temporary way.
When I was working full-time for large newsrooms in Toronto and tasked with creating photojournalism on a daily basis, I was fortunate if I had 30-45 minutes with the subjects I was photographing. I quickly learned that bridging gaps and finding common ground with people was a great way to help them reveal their true selves, to me and my lens. If I wasn't working with someone directly and was instead tasked with capturing an environment or still life object, I would dig deep into my mind's eye and create personal meaning to my surroundings. I can’t help but draw from my own life’s experiences. I try to incorporate a similar mindset and approach with couples that hire me to photograph their weddings. Sure, it may seem selfish to say that I'm photographing other people or things for my own incorporeal being, but as a creative I'm always seeking to somehow materialize my life's experiences through imagery regardless of what I’m capturing.
This wedding, however, required no searching or digging. All the moments, the impalpable, and sometimes palpable, feelings of personal association, was happening right before me.
Outside of immediate family, Ryanne and I were the only two other people in attendance. Part of the reason this was so special for me was that I wasn't just chosen to shoot pictures, but I was also there as someone living an experience in honour of my friend's present and future happiness. People camped overnight in RVs and tents, but not before enjoy a beautiful sight of the starry night's sky while sitting next to an incredible bonfire. The ultimate and most beautiful way to end an intimate wedding on your childhood farm.
The groom is an old friend of mine from my hometown of Ottawa. Over the years, and once I moved to Toronto, I lost touch with a lot of people I was once close to or who played a large role in my life. That’s life I guess. Anyway, like me and most people that I've been friends with, this guy (and his wife) are very low-key and understated. When he reached out to me regarding photographing his intimate wedding on the Bride's childhood farm, I was both extremely humbled and also quite surprised. Since most of my current and former friends aren't involved in the photography scene I usually assume most of them dismiss my work or don't follow my career too closely, so it was pretty cool to see someone like him appreciate my process and give me the unique opportunity to capture such a huge and personal moment in their lives.
The only request the groom and bride had for me was not to reveal their identities when posting about their wedding online, they didn't want to be the centre of focus of the wedding story I was going to tell on my blog. I was completely cool with that since it offered me a unique opportunity to create something truly different for my wedding photography blog post. Throughout the wedding day I made sure I got some creative compositions and captured as many details as I possibly could. These images are a beautiful study in how conveying feelings or emotions doesn’t strictly begin and end with people’s physical facial expressions.
My Yashica T5 point-and-shoot film camera was mostly in the grooms hands all night, and although I won't be sharing those images from the rolls, it was nice to break through the generational synthetic that most 20-somethings and early 30-somethings seem to suffer through. It’s nice to have real, genuine memories of my own that I don’t feel the need to broadcast or share with the virtual world. (Another reason why analog photography is an important element to my wedding photography process).
In that spirit, instead of showing you a typical blog post of a couple's wedding story and day, this will be a blog post that encompasses my experience travelling back to my hometown to capture this extremely important moment in time for two people I truly care about. I know, it seems selfish for me to admit that I create images, regardless of subject, for myself, but in this case I don't regret it at all. The result of my selfishness has now allowed me to share a my tangible feelings and memories with someone truly close to me. I can say without hesitation that sharing in this intimate experience with my once distant friend, has create an ever-lasting bond of friendship. I look forward to reliving this experience with him (them) through these images for decades to come.
It’s pretty fucking incredible how the process of life works, I couldn’t be more grateful that I have the opportunity to travel back in time through the collection of images I’ve created over the years.
Love you, my friends.
Song of the day - Beach Fossils - This Year