Someone recently made some comments about my work which made me really think about why I do what I do. I photograph weddings and I photograph families. Here is my backwards reasoning, in no particular order, as to why I love photographing weddings specifically and perhaps what makes me different from other wedding photographers:
1. Love. Love is my motivation. Photography is not my main motivation. Don’t get me wrong, I really LOVE photographs, but I don’t eat, sleep and wake photography. Photography serves as my medium, my genre, it is my way of expressing feelings, thoughts, words. And not just MY feelings and thoughts. Yours. I feel like I can use photography as a way of communicating and expressing your love. And I adore that. If you are madly, fiercely in love – I want to photograph you. Love is my motivation.
2. Celebration. I naively always thought of Americans (me included!!!) as people who didn’t have much celebratory tradition within their wedding celebrations. Duh!!! Hello! The entire wedding is a tradition! Why am I so dumb!? The getting ready, the tears, the toasts, the dinner, the crazy dancing. THE VOWS! The wedding vows! All of this is so, so important. And I love every part of it. I think so differently about weddings now too! They aren’t just pretty celebrations with loads of details and food, but they are steeped in tradition. In love. In family. In fun. For some people it’s the most fun day of their lives. My wedding day was definitely one of my most favorite days of my whole life. Unfortunately, I don’t have any good photos to prove that though.
3.Family. Family is the root of my existence. A lot of time our families are who have taught us how to love others. The bonds we have with our families are never more vulnerable and stressed than when planning and paying for weddings. But families still somehow survive. They support; they love, unconditionally; they laugh, they argue, and they cry with joy. I’ve witnessed Dad’s lose control of their emotions when seeing their daughters in a wedding dress. I have witnessed a brother sob during a reading. I have witnessed more genuine hugs and kisses than I ever could have hoped to witness. And I have loved every second of it.
4. Relationships. I value relationships. I really love people. And I love being a tiny little part of a day in which I feel is the most important step to take in a relationship. I love that I miss some of my clients. I love that we have developed relationships that have since turned into friendships. That’s a really awesome part of my job.
5. Art. I love art! I was an Art History major in college and find a lot of inspiration from artists. I do my best to produce art with wedding photos. Granted not every photo is art – but some of them are. Turning love into art is pretty cool and I feel really, really lucky that I get to do this magical job.
6. Historical Documentation. One of the things I love to do is go to antique stores, vintage shops, and thrift shops. Why? Well, I love looking through old things. I love finding little windows to the past whether through old glass bottles, trunks, sewing machines, plates or photos. I love that we get to see the way the world was. I have a particular fondness for tiny, hand crafted stools and old sewing machines (I collect them). Believe it or not, your wedding photos are going to someday be historical evidence. Family members you could have never dreamed existed will look at your wedding photos and marvel at how much love was in his eyes when he looked at you, how young you looked, how beautiful you were, how much you loved each other. Your wedding photos are going to be a part of your story, forever. They are one of the only things you will take from that one particular day in which you spent almost a year to plan. They will serve to document history. That in itself is pretty awesome.
7. Movement. This is weird and hard to explain. But, I really can’t stand sitting behind a computer for 8 hours at a time. It’s hard for me to do. When I did it for many years in a row I would get super anxious, my hands felt itchy to do something, my legs were numb with boredom. I was numb with boredom. I started to think that I should have been a woodworker, or a plumber (Slater and Sons Plumbing?) or some career that I could be moving and keeping my hands busy all the time. Guess what? WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHY!! It was a gift from God really. It was a gift that one day I stumbled onto a famous wedding photographers blog and saw something that I knew I could do. Something where I could move all the time, something where I could work with people and create art. I had found something that satisfied the longing I felt in my hands. After these years of photographing weddings, my hands are still satisfied. It’s so great! I am filled with gratitude every day that I get to combine so many things that I love into one “job.” I feel so, SO very lucky.
8. Beauty. This one is personal. I truly believe, in the very core of my little heart, that we are all beautiful. And I truly think that the beauty you have, whether you believe you have it or not, can be unearthed in one single photograph. I feel like I can see your beauty sometimes better than you can, and that excites me. Your beauty isn’t just about the way your nose is shaped or how white your teeth are. It isn’t about your body shape or hair color. It’s not about your long second toe, or wart on your pinky finger. It’s about you. What your heart wants and does. Your beauty is evident in the way you love. In the way you look at the love of your life out of the corner of your eye. It’s the way you look at your dad when he is pulling you onto the dance floor. It the way you hug your mom when she has tears in her eyes. It’s how you treat your Grandma. It’s what you do for others. What I am saying is that, to me, your beauty transcends the physical. Your are more than just pretty. Or handsome. You are beautiful. I can see that, and I want to show it to you through my photography.
9. Individuality. I think I already said it once, but I’ll say it again. I love people. Very much. Before I became a wedding photographer, I was a Career Counselor and going to school to get my master’s degree in counseling. Why? Well, because I love people and I loved working with all kinds of different people. I love that everyone is different but we all have an overarching similarity, too. Each wedding celebration is different. Each groom is different, each bride is, well you guessed it, different! I love that I meet all kinds of people from all walks of life with uniquely different life stories that still come together for the same reason. Love.
Which leads me to my last reason, bringing this whole blogpost full circle.
10. LOVE! I really can’t say enough about love.
Thanks for listening, and reading.
p.s. – I am booking all weddings for 2013 and beyond under my Katie Slater Photography brand!!! Yay! Please contact me directly if you are interested in available dates! Thanks!