It started, innocently enough, as a hobby. Angela was singing regularly in a gospel choir, and I would follow them with my brand new Canon Rebel XT in a mix of dedicated husbandly support and a dose of Asian techno-geekery. As it turned out, those photos weren’t too bad and I started getting calls around the city to photograph more gospel artists. I was drawn to the raw emotion of people when they sing with reckless abandon. Music, especially gospel music, requires the musicians to believe in every note that they belt out. It is real, authentic, and it’s so visually interesting.
At that time, I was working – quite discontentedly – in an architecture studio, doing creatively mind-numbing CAD work. Some people are built for that regularity, I am not. To contrast the inevitable delays of construction, I fell in love with the immediacy of a photograph – you push the shutter, and you’ve literally captured a moment. What was once fleeting, is now forever. I became a collector of moments.
Along the way someone asked if I photographed weddings. I didn’t, but I could try. This vague, noncommittal type response seemed to be good enough for a few brave friends who trustingly agreed to let Angela and I take their wedding pictures. Our first unofficial year of shooting, we were invited to 19 weddings – we photographed 10 of them, and with that a tidy little portfolio for us to take to the wedding show, where we booked our season and allowed me to leave my job for a vocation that I truly loved to do.
The importance of a photograph, however, didn’t really strike me until January 8, 2010. That’s the day my dad died. I remember sitting there in the living room of my parent’s house clutching dearly to a frame that held a simple family picture taken at our wedding. He was gone, and all we had left were photographs. These moments I had been collecting as a photographer, couldn’t just be a hobby anymore – it was a responsibility.
I have since, myself, become a father to two rambunctious boys who at times believe they are dinosaurs, and a spirited baby girl who thinks getting dressed is an appropriate time impersonate a rotating double helix . I have embraced that life both to be present, as well as to document and remember each step and tumble and achievement along the way. It is exciting and fun and wonderfully terrifying.
To be a wedding photographer is to try to encapsulate a lifetime within one day. Families, histories, friends – these worlds collide from past and present and send you off into a new life together. It is, in a word, momentous. I’ve photographed, now, over 200 weddings and learned quite a bit about the craft since those ‘roadie’ days following Angela and her choir around from gig to gig. I can’t promise good weather, or that all the details will go as planned, but I can promise that I will approach your wedding with the same enthusiasm of discovery I had when I first picked up my camera, hunting for those real and authentic moments, and at the same time treat my job on your day with the level of respect that your story and you deserve.