Recently, I had the good fortune to experience a really important milestone in my life. I got married. It was a brilliant day, and my wife looked radiant. In this day and age when most people look upon the wedding certificate as nothing more than a piece of paper imposed upon society by abstract norms and legal wranglings, I realized just how important the ceremony was to me and to my wife. It changed nothing in terms of our relationship or feelings for each other, but in a very subtle way it brought some new significance to our lives together.
There was just one little thing that I noticed. As the groom, I was obviously not in a position to take photographs of the event. Nor do I think I would have wanted to. But in any case, we had friends take photos instead, and we collected them afterwards.
The net is a brilliant thing, but it has also become a pain. Two days after the event, we were flooded by people asking to see the photos which we had ourselves just briefly glanced over.
The sad thing is that instead of enjoying the photos for what they were, just a record of a memorable day… I started critiquing them in my own head. And I refused to publish them on our site. Instead I spent every evening over the next 2 weeks in Photoshop doing post processing work on them… cropping, enhancing the colour and contrast, etc. It was only afterwards that I realized that these friends who took these photos did so out of the goodness of their hearts, and the joy of being part of such an occasion. I still feel that I owe them an apology… just because a photo isn’t technically perfect doesn’t mean that it doesn’t convey the moment. It is a matter of context. Happily I have all the originals, and they are just as much a part of the day as were the vows or the exchange of rings.
I always hear photographers say never leave your camera behind. But sometimes we tend to forget to just enjoy the view, the moment or the occasion in our search of THE PHOTO. So if you didn't get a shot of the extraordinary sight, does it make it any less extraordinary? Was your reaction to it diminished in any way?
Don’t know if I’ll ever manage this myself, but it did give me something to think about.
BBC News Story about Non-Photography Day