I shared an old black and white photo on Instagram earlier, and it’s been at the back of my mind all day since.
I first saw this photograph 2-3 years ago. My heart still breaks each time I see it. It’s by Duane Michals, taken back in 1974. Below it, he wrote: “This photograph is my proof. There was that afternoon, when things were still good between us, and she embraced me, and we were so happy. It had happened. She did love me. Look, see for yourself!”
It’s almost ironic how such a sad photo can be so inspiring for us, especially since we’re wedding photographers, but perhaps that’s the funny thing about us and how we see the world. A bride once told me that she gets a deep sense of melancholy when she sees our photos, and I wanted to hug her. Because she got it. It’s hard to explain, but in a way, you cannot know the true exhilaration of happiness if you do not know sadness. And I like to think we touch on both. On not just how amazing and wonderful life is at this exact moment in time, but how irreparably incomplete the world would be without it. I think and I hope that it shows in our work what we always hope to feel with every wedding, that everything in the world is exactly as it should be today.
I’ve been writing letters to our son, at least once a month, even before he was born. In a recent letter, I told him, “I write and I take pictures because I’m afraid of forgetting. I’m afraid I’ll wake up one day not remembering any of this. It’s a baseless fear, but I do not want a life where I do not know this love. And if something should happen to me and I miss out on the rest of your life, I want you to have these memories and feelings to hold on to. Because they make up the best of mine.”
This has always been something we try to explore with our photography, both personal and professional. Photographs as proof. Photographs as proof of existence. Of love. Of the way things are at this very moment, because it will change. Always hopefully for the better, but even then, it will change. And that’s where the beauty of it all is. There will be many, many days more, but none of them will be just like this, none of them will feel this exact same way. I think it is this urgency, this necessity to document this, that lends to what we do. We don’t just want to take pretty pictures. We want the mood, the story, the feeling, the depth of it all. Photography is so personal and so intimate. It’s proof that I was here. That you were here. That I loved. That you loved. That we all loved like this.