Congratulations, Shari and Evan. I look forward to hearing how the story continues.
These Rolleiflex photos are from Jennifer and Brandon’s wedding which I photographed forever ago (it was only back in May, but it feels like forever ago.) They didn’t ask for film. I just shot a few rolls because it was a small wedding and we had lots of extra time to play, but because the film was for me and not for them, it took me until now to scan them. But it was a nice surprise when I did, because I just love some of these photos.
But I especially love this last one. It is a real moment of them taking a time-out from all the activities on a John Deere fleece blanket. It is probably not the one that will make it in to a frame at their house, but it is one of the ones that I like best, because it is honest and real… and those are qualities that I admire most in photography.
Remember Meghan and Tom from their engagement photo session a couple of months ago? Well, they are happily married now… but it was not an easy journey.
Rings not finished, groom stuck in a traffic jam missing the rehearsal, brother stranded in Chicago without a flight, hotel rooms not reserved, veil flying off right before entering the church… you name it… and it happened to poor Meghan and Tom. Stress was definitely very close to the surface during the final days and minutes leading up to the wedding.
But it was amazing how the minute Meghan walked through the doors of Old St Mary’s Church in Nicasio, the oldest country church in the United States, because all of the drama and nerves disappeared, and suddenly the purpose of all their hard work became clear again. The fact that Meghan and Tom finally made it up to the alter was proof that they were stronger than all of the hurdles thrown in their way.
And now they begin to live happily ever after.
Right? Come on, look at how story-book-perfect that setting is, you have to say stuff like that when the setting is so perfect.
The digital photos are still to come…. Yay, Meghan and Tom!!
I really was happy with the digital images I took at Jodi and Dan’s wedding…. and then I scanned my Rollei photos tonight… and I LOVE them. It is a combination of the way people look at the camera and the ridiculously amazing quality of film.
For Jodi and Dan’s wedding I took more Rollei photos than normal, for two reasons. First, I was inspired by an email I received from a potential wedding client who asked, “How much would it cost to have a whole wedding shot on a Rollei?” That email made me so excited about the possibility, but I confessed I would feel more comfortable if there was another photographer who was photographing on a more traditional camera at the same time, because the Rollei is so slow and it can be unpredictable. It only takes 12 photos on a roll before you have to change the film and add that with unexpected light leaks or a sticky film advancer and there could be a lot of heartache. But when the Rollei gets it right… it gets it really right. And I definitely want to use it more and more.
The other reason I photographed more than usual with the Rollei, is because a friend and I are trying to see how it would be to make a real documentary album for wedding couples and we used Jodi and Dan as our guinea pigs. We recorded interviews with Jodi and Dan and all their important people and we hope to combine the photos and transcripts from the interviews into a book, similar to my final project for school. And if the sound quality is good enough, we’d also love to combine the sound with the photos for a Jodi and Dan multimedia show. If nothing else, at least it will be a good project for the slower winter months.
First of all, I need to define Documentary Photographer, so this is wikipedia’s definition: The photographer attempts to produce truthful, objective, and usually candid photography of a particular subject, most often pictures of people.
That definition basically says enough about why I like photographing weddings and the way I approach photographing them, but I am still going to say more.
It is odd because within the documentary photography world, there is some snobbery about photographers who photograph weddings. But if you are a documentary photographer (see definition above) then there is no reason not to love photographing weddings… there are usually 50-200 people to photograph and that means lots of moments, stories and emotions everywhere you look. And generally, most everyone is in a good mood and happy to be photographed (although I have definitely learned that is not true for everyone!)
As for my approach to photographing weddings, I love telling the story of weddings through photographs.
I would so so so much rather take candid and truthful photos than any posed photos. Posed photos make my stomach flip with nervousness. I am getting better at directing, but at the weddings I photograph, I can’t wait until all the formals are over and I can get back to taking candids. I feel like a wedding should be about enjoying the day and living in the moment… not stopping the moment, and leaving the moment, so you can go and freeze a false moment. (Although I know that formal portraits are important too… but I keep them to a minimum, and my philosophy is: the faster, the better.)
The one formal part I do look forward to, is stealing the bride and groom soon after the ceremony and photographing them alone and happy being brand newly married… but I try to make them forget I am there.
Here are some of my favorite parts of the wedding I photographed a couple of weekends ago. It is the story of Jodi and Dan. Their story is more emotional and complex than some; it involves Dan’s 8 year old son, a considerable difference in ages and Jodi’s mom who is living with cancer, all coming together on this one day to celebrate.