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It struck me one hot summer night in 2004 what a tremendously fantastic job that I have in being trusted by so many virtual strangers with the awesome responsibility of being their “wedding photographer.”
I had photographed a wedding for a client whose father had contracted terminal lung cancer. It was very likely that he would not live to see her first anniversary. The bride’s only real photo request of me was to take as many great shots of her dad enjoying his family and having fun as I could. I know that these images that I created will be among the most treasured of her possesions for the rest of her life and that is one of the best feelings that I’ve had in a very long time. It is a good thing that my camera is autofocus because I was choked up all night.
See, I truly believe that photographs give us all an even tighter bond to those of our family who have gone on before us and posthumeously give us a closer bond with those who will come after us. Even if we have never actually met a long deceased relative, we can recognise that little bit of them in us through a photograph and we can enjoy the connection of continuity. Our decendants in the future will share that same spark of recognition with us through the photos we leave them. While a photograph cannot replace a loved one, the more images that exist of our family members, the less likely it is that their presence will fade from familiar memory in the long years that will proceed us. The added benefit is that we get to enjoy well made images of the best times of our lives for our entire lives as well.
When I first became a photographer, I documented Research and Development Tests and Evaluation for the USArmy from 1985 to 1989. At the time I thought that those images would be the most important photographs that I would ever make. I still string here and there and shoot features and news, but now I can smile when a photographer in another field sniffs in disdain when I tell them that my primary mission is wedding photography. I have come to realise that I am deeply honoured to be trusted to be able to consistently create images (casual and stunning) of people sharing such an important life milestone with family and friends.
I know that even if the unposed artistic documentation style in which I work may not “perfectly” align the bride’s toule with the Cosmic Forces of Proportion and Light, as I would in a studio, what I shoot at a wedding are the realities of the day. It is very likely that the images of my client snuggled into her dad’s shoulder, her eyes closed and tearing up…ignoring the world and again just his little girl, or those images that I get of the quick furtive glances that couples steal with one another through the day, will become some of the most precious heirlooms for my clients and for their successive generations that anyone could provide.
While I do my best for and enjoy every asssignment I agree to take on, I sincerely cannot think of any photographs that could be more important than the weddings that I document and I can only thank The Universe that I have the opportunity to pursue such images as a vocation.Michael Eric Berube 's current location:
Denmark, Maine , United States
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