Signature shot. I shoot weddings. No, not really. I’ve just been there when weddings occurred. Yes. I’ve shot a few. Not as the paid prime photographer. That would be too stressful. After all, wasn’t brain surgery nerve wracking enough? However, I always wanted to do wedding photography. The stress would never equal an aneurysm rupturing right at a critical moment during surgery. You’d never know if it never happened to you. I had some spectacular saves. No, it was not salvage due to incompetence. It was just a few miracle saves. No one ever died on my OR table. For that I thank whatever spirit guided my hand.
I digress. An example? My first is a vivid memory. I was just getting the temporal lobe exposed when the posterior communicating artery aneurysm let loose and ruptured. Blood filled the operating field in an instant. Muscle memory!? I just stuck a clip into the blood and released the clip. The bleeding stopped. Just like that! You have to understand that the bleed is coming up the carotid artery straight from the heart and you die from uncontrolled bleeding pretty fast. Like a bullet in a tire you are flat (dead) pretty fast. I looked around, (changed my underwear), and proceeded to look into the operating field. The clip had been applied perfectly. I mean, as in, we didn’t move that clip again. It was perfectly placed. A third year med student who had been observing me that day, years later at a national meeting: the student, now a fellow neurosurgeon, took me aside. He told me that that operation was the first aneurysm he’d seen and his impression at the time was that operation was how all aneurysm surgery was done. Silly me. I was trying to impress him?
…Friends. They don’t mind that I tote a camera to their weddings. And I shoot without pressure. And afterward, I donate my efforts to the cause. It’s a nice complement to be told that an image I took was treasured as much as any other taken that special day. It’s happened more than once. I’m glad my skill is sometimes appreciated. Oh?! This couple is still married. Happily?
I must have been traumatized. There is a bit of OCD in me. Years ago when we were in Chicago for my FACS (Fellow American College of Surgeons) ceremony, we stayed in the Hilton. It was about the fanciest hotel we’d been in till that time. The kids and grandparents came to see me in a graduation style ceremony. Then, Jules left behind her “wedding bears” in the hotel. They were behind the curtain. I know where she left them. No dice. They were never returned. We bought them in a store in Chicago. I called. No dice. No bears to be had. Years later I got her a replacement, of sorts. It wasn’t the same. And once again, this past year I found what appeared to be the same set. Anyway, Jules thanked me. But, it doesn’t seem to have left the same mark in her psyche. I guess I am careful to never leave things behind. Well, I have – like the time I left my iTouch on an airplane at La Guardia. So, the loss and the disappointment for Jules has never seemed to leave me. Oh, well, I don’t see a psychiatrist. And I’m not gonna.
Well, what’s a Lebanese wedding? Christian. And a lot of fun. Traditional. Wedding gown, formal wear. Small church – chapel, really – and so it was crowded. A lot of the folks just stood outside. Video and cameras, and lots of very very bright video lights – in your face and all of that. That was jarring. If you notice they turned off all the lights for the post ceremony pics. Nope! The power consumption was so high that the power went out and could not be restored. I was truly impressed by the media array. Talk about in your face… the priest did not seem to care. So the images were terrible? They only needed to turn 180 degrees and have the backdrop of a beautiful Mediterranean sunset. But I guess if you have a gorgeous sunset every day, it’s not so special. I was gonna say something, honest I was, but then there were so many professional photographers pretending to be amateurs…..
There’s always a signature shot. I got mine. We were late to the ceremony. I was with Farid and on his calculated schedule. He wanted to be late. So we were in the back and I was with my trusty point and shoot. I wasn’t there to upstage the real photographers. Off to the side of the stage under the speaker system over by the muscians – two kids – just passing the time….bored, dutiful – priceless.
Another year older. Last I checked Jules had a goal to visit 30 countries by 30 years old. And for a number of years we were in the Tyler Place on her birthday. She made out like a bandit. She had a party before school ended, another with the family, and the third in Vermont. Now, married. It still seems odd to me. She and Dave have had ups and downs. But they get better with time. I know that when I am with them it’s a lot of fun. But then, that is less and less. It’s nice to have some pics of them together. Funny. In all pics everyone is happy and it’s never raining. It makes you think that life is about sunny days. Well, if you recall, the wedding day it rains sideways. There was a drought in California. Sunny the day before and the day after the wedding, I don’t think anyone cared that it rained. But a lot of very nice shoes got all muddy.
Got your attention , huh? As a photographer, I’m usually not in my own pictures from my camera. Dave and I did a selfie. And then I shot Jules and Dave. I’m glad they grew up and are healthy and have jobs and … Yes, wedding for a day, a return to the event and a look back. I should retire. But then again I like what I’m doing. I still have skill. I was fortunate enough to have found a job in which I actually enjoyed the work. I don’t like the side stuff.
No, indeed! But on the whole I never dreaded going to work. So as long as my skill is good and my judgment is sound… There are those who might protest, but I have pulled off some spectacular saves. There are still a few left for me to do. I’m hanging in. Besides, who else is issuing checks to pay the bills. Yin and yang. There is a balance to life. Good and bad, happy and aggravated. Oh! Never let’em see you happy; someone will want to mess with your serenity. Grrrr….
The day after the wedding and the dress is history. Lots of pictures have been taken. You don’t wear it again. This reminds me of when Julia dressed up as a kid. “Dress up!” She was flower girl in My brother John’s wedding. Julia wore that dress to tatters. The hem was above her knee by the time she stopped playing in it. And once someone gave us a bunch of wedding veil samples…. Now, it’s all real – grown up.
A category called trash the dress has arisen in which the bride tears the dress to pieces. The images are sort of irreverent and decadent. Jules had her dress hanging from the door. It was too long to hang in the closet. It actually survived the rain and the wind. And it looks nice except for the mud. You’d never know the hillside was covered in cloud, fog, and mist less than a day ago.
Everyone happy? You bet. People were smiling for two days straight. Unlike weddings before digital, the smart phone has captured spontaneity and turned everything on end. I still like a real image, you know, real camera? But the smartphone captures that moment in ways film never could. Instant. Instant feedback. Do over. Yup. No waiting. It’s the new order. There are more smartphone images and by far iPhone images online than traditional camera images. Bet you knew that. I’m still amazed at how digital imaging has so easily allowed us to take images in the dark. No flash. No muss. No fuss. Totally spontaneous. Ok, so I shot with a real camera and with a real flash. But you get the idea. They walked away with a shot in hand immediately. Hello World!
Jules’ co-teacher secretly had their class do a project and gave the album to her just before the wedding. Some pages, not necessarily the best are shown. You’ll get the idea. I wonder why no one else ever did this. I guess I have not been to too many teacher weddings. Come to think of it, it was a relatively small group. College friends, high school friends, close relatives the guest list did not include many co-workers at all. Even occasional relatives were left out. It was a cozy campground and everyone simply mingled, partied, and had a good time for a couple of days in California. Yeah, the kids planned it pretty perfectly.
Laugh, cry, weep…it’s a new generation. From the mouths of babes…may your days be filled with happiness…an album of sage advice from a certain innocent perspective. Listen to your kids. They want a happily ever after ending too.
This is not my first jump shot and won’t be the last. In fact this post has several. Ha ha. I think I’ve lost it. Giddy! Truly. But how can you be serious jumping? Jules more or less introduced me to it once again when we traveled in Africa. And I pull it out periodically. Day after – the morning after – the bride and groom actually got some sleep. The party was shortened by the rain…not dampened but surely shortened by a steady rain as the reception ended. Jeff shot the “Jump.” He kind of missed.
But hey! Later on I got a shot at the top of the hill. That view you see behind Dave and Josh is the Pacific Ocean and the idyllic view that the wedding backdrop was set against. It wasn’t even 24 hours. Perfect sun drenched scenery with a California sunset was only a mere day off. Yup missed by that much. I hate it when the weatherman is right.
We forgot to get a shot of the family. Yes, we got the formals. But Jules felt bad she missed the images with the rest of the immediate family which is not too large. I actually had to instruct this group how to jump effectively. If you just jump, it doesn’t work well. Huh? You got to bend your knees. Yes! Then it looks like you got some real air time. See! Works. They got it in one lesson! But not in the first shot. Priceless!
Yes! You don’t see this everyday at a wedding. It’s more like a male strip club. This is my new son in law. Wild and crazy? He says it is somewhat of a tradition among some of his close friends. The end of the wedding and the sweaty shirts come off. Yeah, about five or six were soon dancing sans shirts. I’ll save you the lascivious details. This post is G rated. Yes, one of Jules college roommates (and husband) was suitably surprised. They don’t do this in New York and Boston. That’s my nephew Andrew. He’s a drummer at Berkeley in Boston where music and craziness are not uncommon. He gets it.
And Dave? Yes, definitely a party guy, he’s about to open up his shirt. He got into the spirit of things. Trust me, Jules, newly married, was duly surprised too. This was another “gotcha” moment that made this a fun wedding like I have never seen before. Yup, they did something unexpected. And it was the last dance and the official photographer was long gone. Not bad Dad, not bad, I got it.