I shot a wedding at a beautiful location last weekend. It was an old art deco theatre built in 1929. It was almost overwhelmingly gorgeous. My clients love to go to the theatre so the venue suited them perfectly.
Some of my clients get married in beautiful locations. Some of them get married in just fine locations. Whatever aesthetic the location may have, they chose it because it meant something to them. This realization was an important one for me because when I shoot, I'm drawn to people and relationships, not the places they're in. I want to see the way a groom looks at his bride for the first time. I want to see the look on a mother's face when she hugs her newly-married son. So a lot of my photos are focused on the people and their interactions rather than the space that surrounds them.
But the space that surrounds them can be just as important as those relationships. It's an expression of who they are at that moment, whether it's an art deco theatre or they're childhood backyard. Granted, there are times when a location is chosen more for budgetary reasons but doesn't that also speak to who you are at that point in your lives? In thirty years, when you're looking back through your wedding album, you'll think fondly about where you began and how much your life has changed since.
I realized that, in addition to capturing the people and relationships at a wedding, I also needed to embrace the space. The space is a key component in the story of a wedding day. Rather than ignoring the location -or worse, fighting against it- I needed to embrace it.
And then, the revelation came. I've written before about my insecurities in this little adventure. I'm pretty hard on myself when it comes to my work. I constantly criticize myself and nit-pick every little thing that's less than perfect. Only recently have I even thought about trying to make that criticism constructive. Since photography has been a passion of mine for nearly 15 years, I expect myself to perform like a seasoned pro. But the reality is, I've only been a wedding photographer for less than a year.
I need to embrace the space between where I am and where I aim to be. Only then will I have room to grow. If I'm constantly plagued with anxiety over meeting some unrealistic expectation, I won't be able to focus on strengthening my weaknesses in a positive way. Every mistake or misstep is a learning opportunity but only if I'm able to see it as such. By embracing the space, I can be fully present in where I am as a photographer and business owner and take positive strides to where I want to go. Can't take a step forward if I'm constantly looking back, right?
Embrace the space.
Those three little words are my new life motto.