One of the my most heartbreaking weddings that I didn’t photograph.

In today’s photographic climate, or societal and geo-political climate, its feels like a blasphemous act to acknowledge or support someone that is opposite of you, a different party than you, or competing with you. Basically, if you are not promoting yourself or agenda all the time and at every instance, than you are doing it wrong. And on some issues, I can understand the nature and strategy of it, but for me, a majority of the time, it is irrelevant because the love and care for people is should be first and then the photography. In doing so, I entrust and incircle myself with great friends and colleagues that happen to be photographers.

One such example, the wedding of Ryan and Michelle this spring that Suzy was able to help fulfill on a special need for my friends and client. Backtracking a bit, I use to have a corporate job and have known Michelle and Ryan through the Project Management Institute for a few years now. The field is both dynamic and growing more and more with today’s globalized economies. Which really describe them both – personable, energetic, and proven leaders in the field of project management. Michelle is so beautiful with her quite confidence with an elegance and grace that reminds me of a French model with warm and engaging smile. Ryan is a tall and handsome guy with a style and sophistication that is both unique and fun to be around. And after meeting and advising with them at the beginning of the 2016, I was ecstatic and honored to be their photographer for their fall wedding.

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Unfortunately, Michelle’s mother’s health started to deteriorate due to the progression of her breast cancer. After calling and talking with Michelle about my own personal experience with cancer she understood the gravity of the situation. In my instance, non-Hodgkins Lymphoma took my father’s life was devastating enough event, but to have buried him a week before my sister’s planned wedding was mercelaously cruel. Me and my family were literally at the ends of our wits, exhausted, but determined to go forward as we were weeping. In the end, you can plan with certainty; you can hope with all your devote might; you can have all the means for your methods in life, but when the echoes of death beacon at your doorstep, all else pales in comparison.

Back to Michelle and Ryan, they made the difficult and courageous decision to move their full wedding day from the fall to a small intimate ceremony in the early spring to have Michelle’s mother present. This was an excellent idea Unfortunately, I was unavailable available for this ceremony date, which left me scrambling to find a solution for and then finding someone I can entrust with these wonderful people and their endearing situation. Suzy came to mind almost immediately and there was no question in my mind and she could handle the challenge at hand – shooting a wedding for another photographer’s clients is tough enough, but to do it in honor for a dying parent made this a paramount event for me! And I wanted to do the absolute best job I could with this wedding.

Suzy is such an astounding human being and has left such an indelible mark on the art world already with her photography and art work. In the short time that I have gotten to know her I have already come to the conclusion that she has a giant heart for people, and cares so deeply for other’s well being and that she bends totally backwards for her family and friends, community and life to fulfill on being there for them! I look at her work and work ethic and I am amazed and it has left me idolizing her as a role model and “contemporary” to describe our working relationship.

The ceremony was simple and elegant, and looking through the photos, you can really feel the love and kindred intimacy of the moment and moments in between. I really want to cry when I thought about Michelle’s mom not wanting to wear the wing for the photo :_(

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Finally, I know I have said only a few things about photography, but this is something that means a lot more than photography, and especailly in our contentious and trying times around the world, country, and communities. Cancer is a disease that is indiscriminate in all the ways that our current media driven-societies wants to discriminate and divide us; Race – yes! Creed, bingo! Gender, check! Age, all accounted for. With this wedding, it has proven to me beyond any reasonable doubt as a photographer that its the human aspects and the quality of the human interactions in wedding photography that I am so dearly in love with, like:

Asking another person for help
Sacrificing your own interests for a bigger one
Being there for others
Etc…

The lessons – plentiful and sobering! And with that – Its not what you have or can get for others, but what you can do for them and being there for them that really counts!

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