h o t o g r a p h y  &  R e f l e c t i o n

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Some of the world’s best wedding photographers answered this question in a BBC Series on Masters of Wedding Photography. Wedding photographers don’t have a lot of status in the importance of photography hierarchy. They aren’t making statements about war or poverty or exploitation; nor are they revealing how a society lives; nor are they revealing hidden truths in a portrait; nor do they enjoy the glamour of high-end fashion shooters. Wedding photographers take beautiful images of their clients. It’s about fantasy or at least a heightened and ideal reality.

All of the top wedding photographers in the BBC series said they took pictures because they were passionate about the image. Now, as I understand it from my own feelings taking photos, it’s not simply love for an image, but a love for getting the image. It’s something about the opportunism of clicking a shutter at a moment and having captured an image that seems to seduce one, not only for its qualities, but  because one took that photo, found it, made it appear. Love and loving the image is a complex matter involving the influence of colour and shape, and so many elements that also include self-worth.

Why do I take photos? Well, it’s bound up in all these needs and satisfactions, but I was given another reason this week. A colleague wrote telling me why she likes the photo above. I took the photo walking across the bridge to Ontario Place on my way hear a free talk by wedding photographer Denis Reggie. I just wanted to take a picture, maybe proving to myself that I am a photographer, if not also that I was attracted to the colours and light, and the reflected image. That’s why I took the picture. My colleague likes the image because her husband used to sit on the dock at their cottage in the manner shown in this image.

The new reason I have to take pictures is that photos can be a channel for a viewer, to help a viewer connect with her or himself in a deep, reflective and meaningful way. This value for the image is much bigger than I am or can know about; I just take the image, including wedding images. That an image can mean something to another person is beyond my control, but it is a reason for me to take pictures. Having taken the photo above, I got to hear the most beautiful expression of love for a man, now gone, and missed.

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