Photography, for me, is a process. A life long process of finding my voice. I know it must seem odd, if you think about it, to use a vocal metaphor to describe a silent medium but it works for me so deal with it.
Part of that process is trying to understand why I’m drawn to photograph those things that find their way in front of my camera. Sometimes it makes sense. Street performers for instance. That’s easy. They are interesting.
This process is what drives photographers to embark on photographic projects that last decades, even lifetimes. When will I be finished photographing street performers? I don’t see an end in sight.
But weddings? Why weddings?
Confession. I don’t look at wedding photography. I don’t study other wedding photographer’s work. Weddings are ubiquitous and it is hard enough to be original in capturing them, I don’t want to pollute my visual vocabulary with other peoples work. But I do sneak peaks once in a while and what I read a lot on the blogs is how so and so photographer is “just so in love with love” and that is why they photograph weddings. I have know idea what it means to be in love with love nor can I conceive of how that would at all be a motivation for giving up a perfectly good Saturday to work your butt off photographing a wedding.
I went to school for a very long time just to end up making a living as a plumber. My folks think I waisted all that time (and money) just so I could have a blue collar job. Maybe so. I studied, among other things, Anthropology. It’s a study in people; how they live, why they live that way, etc. It’s about people’s stories. I also studied Communications (you know, public speaking all dressed up). Again, story telling. Both also came with a large dose of Philosophy and Meditation on the how and why of life.
The things I’ve taken with me from my university years are those key things above. Maybe I was drawn to those disciplines for the same reason I’m drawn to photography. The inclination to meditate on life, human nature…. Who we are. Why we do what we do. I also write. A lot. When I write it’s only after a long meditation on some aspect of life and writing it down is the final step in the process of grappling with it. (If this blog post isn’t long winded enough for you, you can find some of that HERE)
Ok, what’s my point.
Oh yeah, weddings. Why do I photograph weddings?
Think of it in terms of those decades long projects. Wedding photography, for me, is another project. Another part of the process. Excuse me but I’m going to get a bit pretentious… I photograph weddings as a form of meditation on the American experience.
I think that is why I’m not looking to photograph a wedding every Saturday. I can’t conceive of something like that. I don’t think I could get my head around all those weddings and glean anything remotely meaningful from the millions of frames. But a few weddings a year. Say, ten weddings. Ten weddings a year. Big ones, small ones. Traditional, modern, vintage, weddings in churches and weddings in backyards. Ten weddings a year. Yeah, that I can get my head around.