Recently I heard of a photography exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in LA. It featured a photo of a scene at a night club. Most of the image was candid, unposed. But there was also woman in the back of the photo, off to the side. The exhibit's curator spoke of the woman as having an expression of self awareness and understanding that her image, that this moment in time, was being recorded. ..."an awareness of what it is to be photographed, and to really think about having your image distributed across time and space."
Today we no longer have the perception of permanence as we have our photos taken. Our minds are on how we look, on how much fun it seems we're having. On what our friends will think. When I'm shooting a wedding, I think of the story I'll tell with the photos. The gallery should be photojournalistic, but will I include the bride upset over a detail gone wrong? Will I compose a photo in a way that highlights the unimpressive ballroom or the carefully planned decor? I also consider what the couple will think. Will the bride feel beautiful? I consider if the overall style is on point with current trends and consistent with my vision. Sometimes I imagine their child flipping through the photo book, but what I less often remember, is the true endurance of these photos.
When I met this couple, I was struck by how serious they view this engagement session. They carefully considered the location and timing. They meticulously planned their attire. When I first spoke to Lamont, he told me of taking Sakina to Ohio to meet his grandmother and announce their engagement. The grandmother quickly pulled out her own wedding album and showed them photos Lamont had never seen before. He describes her photo as nothing particularly remarkable, but to have a formal photo of her on that day was clearly quite touching.
So as I photographed these two, I thought about how their own grandson may feel holding a print of the two of them during their engagement. As I processed the images, I considered more carefully how well the composition and style of each shot would age. There is a certain romance in engagement sessions that is not present any other time, even on the wedding day. Without the pressure of the wedding day, these are full of giddiness, excitement, passion, joy and relaxed happiness that are simply unique.
Thank you to these two for reminding me.
Your upcoming wedding is sure to be just as sophisticated and timeless. I can't wait!