I was looking at some of my earlier wedding photography recently while on a search for a specific photo, and I couldn't help but notice how my work has changed over the years. Though the photos were technically fine, and I remembered that the clients were happy with them, they felt kind of impersonal and detached to me. These days, I get right out there on the dance floor, a respectful voyeur with a camera, smack in the middle of a tear, a good laugh, a quiet conversation. My camera is drawn to the heart of a moment like a magnet, and while I take no credit for this (I always say that Spirit is the photographer and I'm just It's camera), it's something that always takes me by surprise. I'm always happy to go along for the ride, like an enthusiastic witness, knowing that the journey will touch me and move me. And beyond my own entertainment, I get to show my clients what was happening all around them.
If there is anything at all that I've learned about life it's that no one is a stranger. No one. And so when I'm privileged enough to be the photographer at an event, I am quickly reminded that we truly are in this world together. Everywhere I look I see my own grandparents, siblings, cousins, parents, beloveds. And I think that's why my work has gotten so much more personal. Because life is personal, and we're all touched by it. Whether we're in an embrace, busting a move on the dance floor with Aunt Helen, consoling a nephew or holding a beloved, we truly are in this adventure together. We feel the same emotions. We smile at the same things. We are touched by the same sparks of joy and sorrow. We call love to us like a long lost friend. At the base of everything, to love and be loved is, I believe, our deepest longing. That's why people cry at weddings. It taps us on our hearts, reminding us that THIS place is our true home, and it's worth the tears.
This was a lovely awareness for me. I understand more deeply why my camera is drawn to the heart of a moment. That's the place where I'm reminded that no one is a stranger. We are drawn to each other. We need each other. And the camera is just a mirror of that. The best kind of mirror. One that only shows us our beauty, because that's all that matters anyway.