The Exhaustion of Joyous Occasions

As much as I tried yesterday I could not find a half hour of time to even get on my computer.  It was Montana State vs Montana Grizzlies, Brawl Of The Wild Game at Montana State in Bozeman.  The biggest game of the season, the Grizzles being the underdog ranked #7 in the nation against the #1 FCS team.  Needless to say it was an upset and the Griz beat the Bobcats 36-10.  Since the game was in Bozeman, Glenn planned a party in the studio to watch it on television.  So my day began with a breakdown of all my lighting equipment and hauling to the basement.

I also had a later afternoon wedding I was booked to shoot.  It was an all day process of prepping and shooting that from early afternoon through the reception late last night.  I love weddings, but they a tremendous amount of work for a photographer.  The process of preparations takes several days leading up to the wedding as well as becomes all-consuming on the day of the event.  My process and approach for weddings is much the same as my process for nudes.  I like to get to know the couple so we all become comfortable with each other and I just become a part of the wedding party.  I love candidly shooting all day as events unfold.  I approach it as an insider documentary style and get great results because most of it becomes very candid and allows everyone to just naturally become who they are as if I am not even present.  I completely engage and interact as a participant instead of as a casual observer hired in from the outside.  I then put the entire wedding together as a series of slideshows put to music that becomes the couple’s remembrance of the day.  Most often when they come back to the studio to see the final presentation both the bride and groom are so deeply moved by the presentation, they become weepy.  I have so intimately entered their world and captured the essence of who they actually are and often capture things they were completely unaware of happing around them.

My approach to the wedding as well as all photography is to first assess the natural light and merely enhance what it already there.  And yes this becomes quite a challenge with weddings because you are constantly bouncing around from space to space throughout the day.  The bride’s chamber, the groom’s chamber, hair salons, the church, the altar, and the reception hall.  I typically will go to all the locations days ahead and test shoot so I know specifically what I am dealing with.  This is one process that doesn’t get easier with each wedding because each one is in a different location or space and each wedding is uniquely its own.  There is absolutely no formula to follow.  Yes the sequence of events are the same, and I know better what to look for, but they are never consistent.  I love weddings for this reason.  It’s like highly emotional theatrical events that unfold before your eyes that you become caught up in.  Some one said to me last night, you have one of the best jobs in the world getting to shoot people at their greatest moments of joy.  I paused and thought about it for a moment and replied, absolutely it is one of the pleasures of my life.

But by the end of the day, I am utterly exhausted.  I feel like I have poured my entire soul into the day.  I often don’t realize the soreness until I collapse on the sofa at home, then it settles in and I can barely move.  They have always exhausted me, even when I was younger.  I realize I had been working for 8 hours solid with very little breaks, yet I feel elated because the images I saw though out the day were so beautiful.  This was my last big event I must shoot of the year and know I can now begin to focus on my naked men.  But today is a day of recovery, very little of anything else.  I am scheduling a massage for the afternoon and nothing else.  I will sit with the kitties in the widow and watch it snow outside.