“Start With Why” ~ Simon Sinek
“Thanks Rocco, now my brain is on fire.” I drank in the words of the Australian Photographer. Replaying them over and over, dissecting each part and getting happier by the minute. He was verbalizing what is in my heart. The answer to the question people have in their eyes when they find out I am a people photographer. One of their eyebrows goes up and they just look at me oddly and sometimes mumble one word, “Why?”
I once had a family member say to me, “Well you know photography doesn’t pay the bills.” It bounced around in my head and became an accusatory mantra that plagued me and swelled the self doubt. The struggles of acquiring the necessary equipment and hammering out the skills needed to “go to the next level” seemed to be proving those words to be accurate. But the joy that made the world level out was undeniable when I squeezed the shutter, glanced down at the screen and fist pumped the sky with an explosive “Yes.” Watching the tumbling jumble of emotions on the faces of those photographed as their images materialized in front of them is priceless and strangely stilled the torturing echoes.
The answer to “Why?” is found in what my mission is as a wedding photographer. The first goal is to accurately document the history. I have always been fascinated by history. It’s epics, the anecdotes, and the catalyst moments that triggered monumental events. Sometimes the narrative gets blurry in the retelling but I would sit and stare at the photos until they came to life with all the chaos and noise. Those photos unfolded dramas, they were the anchor points, the undeniable and the indisputable.
Those images memorialize the heart of the people captured in them. Now we can go back to that point in time and know something of their existence. Births and baptisms, birthdays and funerals, graduations and weddings all monuments to the milestones of their lives. Legacies preserved to share lives and loves with the next generations.
I can’t fully explain why these things speak to me as they do. I may have been deeply affected by the loss of my Dad at such an early age. Or maybe it is something hard wired in me. It is undeniable and authentic whatever the source or motivation. The unadulterated joy in capturing the founding of a family or memorializing the finishing of a tough education process even the preserving a new miracle of life. Often times I am fairly certain when everything is aligned and I have prepared with all the skill I possess, that moment I squeeze the trigger, cha-chunk, that’s the photo I came to get.
Each and every continuing education class I take and every skill I acquire, gives me one more tool in my toolbox to access. Increasing my accuracy in documenting the history. Memorializing the life in front of me, enabling the lives and loves to be passed on to the next generations. Artworks of people’s lives hang in their homes forming connections to the past where legacies are not forgotten.
Keywords: 60th, Anniversary, Brunswick, Canon, Celebrate, Celebration, Family, GeneNJen, History, Kismet, Legacy, Memorialize, Milestone, MKIII, New, Party, Photography, Priest
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