One day recently, when discussing life and careers and the pursuit of happiness, my husband asked, “Why do you love shooting weddings?”
This is a question I’ve been asked before, many times, even by him. But this time he asked me to give my answer in only two sentences. This is what I said:
“I like feeling like I’m leaving a legacy in the world by capturing these moments in time for these couples forever, and that feels important to me. I also really like being surrounded by love, because for parts of my life, I wasn’t.”
It occurred to me that legacy and love are very important themes for me these days. In recent months I’ve thought a lot about my past–my childhood in particular–and the events and relationships that have shaped who I am today.
I did not have an idealistic childhood, but I was lucky enough to have a few key family members and friends in my life who loved and cared for me in both their actions and their words. Where some major players in my life failed, a few very special people were true examples of love. I believe this has a lot to do with why I’m such a sucker for this thing called love. I think it’s also a huge reason I was drawn to a career that sits squarely in love’s path. It reminds me of the good people I’ve had in my life; my saviors of love.
Watching two people in love commit themselves to each other forever, while surrounded by family and friends who love them and want to celebrate them, is like attending one big love fest. It’s a love-in. A love riot. A smorgasbord of love. A love buffet. It’s the most amazing feeling and I can’t get enough of it. Where once my life was low on love, now it is overflowing with it. And that is the best kind of relationship to have with love, in my humble opinion.
Which leads me to the topic of legacy. One of the downsides of my upbringing is that I don’t have much in the way of old photographs and videotapes from when I was a kid or teenager. These things exist, but the people who own most of them are no longer a part of my life, so I don’t have access to them. I only have a handful of photos of myself as a kid, and no video to speak of, and that makes me sad. In my more vulnerable moments, it makes me feel like the legacy of my life will die with me.
Of course I know this isn’t true. Mostly because I feel like my life didn’t truly begin until my adult years, when I slowly became my own person and moved away from the elements of my past that only brought me pain. But it still really sucks to know I’ll never have old photographs and videos to help jog my memory when I need it, or to reminisce over when I’m feeling like I want to take a walk down memory lane.
And that’s a big reason why I love doing what I do. It fills me with great joy to know that I am able to help create a legacy of memories for people, providing tangible, lasting reminders of the moments and people that help shape my clients’ lives. Almost all of us own a camera, even if it’s just part of our phone, and the daily images we collect with these devices help us build upon our legacy. But there aren’t a lot of true, real moments that we rely on others to document for us anymore. Weddings, however, are one of the few times that it happens and I’m honored to be a person that many people have trusted to do so.
Now, in my adult life, I have been given the opportunity to surround myself with absolute love while helping to add to the legacies of those around me…and that is pretty damn cool.