In the past few years, I’ve fallen out of the habit of doing a year end review of my wedding photography. And to be completely honest, I really struggled with whether I’d post this or not. 2022 was a year of extremes. My professional life has been incredibly successful, and I photographed more weddings than I ever have in one year. But in my personal life, the year started with loss and ended with loss. And now, after three years of managing to avoid it, I’m currently stuck in bed recovering from Covid. I’m taking that as a sign that I should probably take a little time to reflect. So in no particular order, here are my thoughts about the past and the future. If you want to skip the word wall and go straight to the photos, I wouldn’t blame you. That’s the good stuff anyway.
LOSS, MOTIVATION, & GROWTH | RANDOM THOUGHTS
- As is the case with all small businesses, less than half of wedding photographers last five years. For the ones that do, there comes a point where you start to wonder what does it all mean. It’s a sort of reckoning. You’ve learned how to use the equipment and you’ve learned how to pose people, but suddenly you’re wondering how to make it all meaningful. And for those who figure it out, that’s when their true vision is born. In 2016 after I lost my brother, the way I thought about making photos entirely changed. Since then, and particularly this past year, I have spent a lot of time defining and refining my vision, both for my client work and for my fine art work.
- One of the things that has informed my work the most over the past several years is my own grief for the loved ones I’ve lost. Photos store our memories for us. Looking through photos after I’ve lost someone is always the thing that brings me the most comfort. Remembering the good times we spent together helps to temper the pain. And I have come to understand that all photography is about loss at a very basic level. Every moment that passes is a moment that is lost to time. A photo is our attempt to hold on to that lost moment forever. It is a time travel portal that unlocks a memory and returns us to a moment.
- When I make photos for someone, I’m naturally focused on what’s happening in that moment. Because my primary job is to record what’s happening right now. But I’m also thinking about what they will want to see in a year. And then what will be most important in five years. And in ten. Because that evolves. You change and you grow, and you’ll see yourself and the world differently in a few years.
- Color. Light. Movement. Emotion. Connection. Those are the things that excite me in a photograph. From the beginning, I’ve never been satisfied with just making a pretty photo. Of course I want the photos I make in a session to be pretty. But there also should be connection to the subject or an emotional exchange happening in the image.
- This year I’ve really come to realize the limitations of digital media. As I battle with the computers and hard drives and cloud storage, I’m drawn to my folders full of negatives. Despite my diligence in maintaining up to date software and backups, and the thousands of dollars of storage equipment that I have purchased, this many years into my digital career it’s becoming more and more work and expense to maintain my digital photo libraries. Meanwhile, the negatives and the prints demand nothing of me. They just continue to exist with little effort and no added expense on my part.
2022 | THE BUSIEST YEAR
Sometime late in 2021, the folks who know these things determined that more people were planning to be married in 2022 than in any year since 1984. While this seems fantastic, there were problems. There was a chaotic convergence of the higher than average number of couples tying the knot with the fallout in the wedding industry from the pandemic. Many wedding businesses simply didn’t make it through the pandemic. So there were fewer resources available for a larger than average group of folks. It pushed everyone to their limits.
I’m grateful to have made it through the pandemic. And there aren’t enough words to tell you how grateful I am to all the amazing folks who chose to have me document their weddings this year. It was one of the most memorable years I’ve ever had. It was a year full of incredible wonderful people, and I made a lot of photos for them that I’m incredibly proud of.
The collection of photos here only just scratches the surface. I tried to keep it to just over 100, but know that there were easily a few hundred more that I would have liked to include. Several of the engagement sessions were completed late last year, but I always bundle the engagement session with the wedding, so they’re in my catalog for this year and it just makes sense. The photos aren’t in chronological order. In proper super gay fashion, they are sort of in rainbow order for a bit, then I arranged them into a loose narrative.
2023 | A NEW ERA OF HANDCRAFTED WORK
2023 is the year I return to the darkroom. For the first time ever, I’ll be offering hand printed darkroom images. Because humans make more beautiful photo prints than machines. More information and many gorgeous examples will be coming soon.
Digital is fleeting, always just one error, one mechanical failure away from disappearing into the ether. If you’ve ever talked to me about photography, you’ve heard me say a photograph isn’t finished until it’s printed. I believe that now more than ever. Print is the only thing that lasts.
Print your photos.
Print your photos.
Please, print your photos.