Sometimes I get to photograph events that are out of the norm for me and this time around it was a surprise 50th wedding anniversary. A small, simple, personal, and intimate affair of family and friends that had a very poignant effect on me.
I arrived in enough time to survey the room and noticed the decor: dress molds with old dresses on them, placed with photographs next to each of the dress being worn at the wedding. Next was the cake, a spectacular replica of the original as seen in the prominently displayed photograph from the wedding day. Then an entire table of photographs, all black and white, all from the professional photographer hired to capture the day. There were posed pictures of family, many of whom I’m sure are long gone. Images of the bride and groom kissing at the end of the aisle. Guests throwing birdseed as they exited the church. The makings of perfect, enduring memories. These images had been scrapbooked on construction paper, adorned with little hearts and flying doves. They were creased, the emulsion was lifting, and it was obvious they’d seen many hands over the years. As I was editing these images later I updated my Facebook status with my thoughts in that moment:
“THIS is the legacy I live for.
One day my images will be photocopied, scrapbooked, corners bent, emulsion lifting from all the hands that have touched them. They will sit out on a table 50 years from today and nobody will remember who took them, but they will feed the hearts and souls of those in them, flooding them with emotion. The next generations will be filled with wonder of “a time gone by”… and not one of them will remember me by name, and that’s OK because I will never forget them. For this is the reason I do this job.”
I won’t soon forget the surprise, tears, and hugs as the couple made their way from familiar face to familiar face overwhelmed at the love that had come out to support them. The toasts that moved everyone, including me, all rang with a similar sentiment : that this couple had fought for their love and their family. That they had opened their home and their hearts to whomever needed them. And that the reason everyone was there was to give back even an ounce of the love and respect they’d been shown over the years.
OK, ok… can you tell I might never see my job the same way after this simple party?
Let’s get on with the pictures, but not before I thank Randal Stout Entertainment for recommending me to this family: