Were you to ask all your married friends if their wedding photographer assembled the bridesmaids for a group shot in front of the house before they left for the wedding, many of them would undoubtedly say yes. It’s a very common standard shot.
But it can rob you of something extremely special in your life.
No, it’s not merely that you end up with the same routine photo as everyone else (though that’s certainly true).
It’s that at any given moment in your life you can either do one thing – or another.
And if what you’re doing, if what your moment is involved with, is being preoccupied with manufacturing an assembly line shot – then you’ve essentially shut the door on any real-life event which would’ve, could’ve, happened.
Because you weren’t there available and present for it to happen to you.
and so the opportunity for it to happen can’t exist, because you were busy doing something else. Like posing for that shot.
And if it never happened then it can’t become your meaningful memory.
And it can’t be photographed.
All because an artificial moment was supplanted in its place.
An artificial moment that doesn’t contain any genuine, meaningful memory to take with you and add to your life to look at again and again and with which to someday utter to yourself, “wow… that was really something, wasn’t it?”
So when the time came to leave the house I didn’t say “OK ladies, let’s have you line up here in front of the house!” No.
I didn’t say “OK, bride and Mom, put your arms around each other and look here and smile big!” No.
What did I do?
I crossed the street.
I went across the street so they wouldn’t be aware of my camera observing what they would naturally do.
And in this way the bride was left to be open and available to experience and live her real moments.
And look what happened next.
Just look at what her mother did.
Spontaneously. Prompted only by her heart.
It’s a little moment. But life is made up of all little moments like these, isn’t it?
And these little moments weigh big in our hearts, in our lives, and in our memories. Because they’re actually the stories of the people we love and who love us.
Now I ask you: Will this little moment, preserved now in time in this photograph, always remind this bride of her mother’s love?
Some day, when sadly her mother is not there anymore, will this photo be a way for this bride to connect with her mother? Connected by this mere scrap of paper which she holds in her hands today?
You can’t convince me differently. My mother, who’s in her 80’s now, lost her mother some 30 years ago.
She tells me how everyday – she misses her.
And after she says that her eyes turn to the bookshelf nearby, where sits framed a little scrap of paper. An old photo of her mother.
And for a moment she’s silent as she gazes upon it. And you should see my mother’s face as she looks upon her mother’s photo. and thinks of her again.
That’s what one wedding photo can do.