it’s a question i get asked alot. it’s a question i’ve always lightly touched on but never really gave much depth to. and then all of the sudden it’s this very question that has been haunting the back of my mind like a ton of bricks.
i can give you the easy answer. i love color. i love the challenge. i love how when you get the perfect light, subject, composition, and moment, all at the same split second, magic appears right in front of me. yes, that is my “weird, chuck taylor, art freak/ hippie” answer. i can go on and on about these things. i can talk about how i love feeling invisible, yet important behind a lens. but the bigger answer, the one that had never crossed my mind until my trip to texas, was an answer far deeper than that.
there is a reason everyone does what they do. we all have different backgrounds, experiences, relationships, challenges, strengths and weaknesses, dreams, expectations, and goals that when combined make up this one unique person (me) that is different from everybody else. i will never be the same as any other photographer that exists. this is a good thing (though sometimes i cry wishing i could be jose villa). this is the very thing that sets me appart from others, and makes me the perfect fit for a certain bride that connects with what i have to offer.
the truth is, i still am trying to figure out why i am the photographer that i am. what about my past, or even the present, makes me see things the way i do. i can stand next to another photographer, and we can take a picture of the exact same bride, at the exact same moment, and yet most likely my image will be vastly different from the person standing next to me. it’s the difference of how i view the world, my (sometimes cynical) perspective on life, and it’s those very things that makes me a completely different photographer than anyone else. the person next to me may capture the cute smile she has on her face, while what i see is a girl who is too shy to look straight in to the camera. same moment, two completely different perspectives.
i wish this story had a happy ending all neatly wrapped up in a bow. but the truth is, i still struggle with this. i’m not sure i was ready or prepared to answer this question when it was asked. i have proof when at 2:30 am in the morning, i was still up with my (awesome) instructors in texas trying to figure me out. “you aren’t telling me the whole story”, he said. “there is something about you whether you realize it or not, that makes you do what you do” she said. by 2:30am i felt completely defeated in the search for this answer. confused and weak (ok maybe a little dramatic :) ) i went back to my room. i slept 3 hours that night.
perhaps i don’t have an exact answer. or maybe the answer is right in front of me and i’m just not paying attention. maybe it will take a few more years of shooting before i will know any of these things . the good news is, everday i am a little bit closer to figuring it all out. when i feel like i’ve been at a standstill, i just have to look how far i’ve come from where i started.
this is me. shooting my very first wedding.
photo taken by kristi odom