A documentary wedding photographer from the U.K. that I admire, Kevin Mullins, just posted in his blog: “Why I love this picture – Real Life Weddings” (Click HERE to see his post). He posted a single image of an older man putting on his tie, with his wife nearby ready to help him. Here is the comment I made to this post: “What often happens with me is that these type of photos take on a new significance the longer time goes on. Not only do they teach us about the relationships of people, the personalities of people, but they take on a historical value that just isn’t felt the second the image is made. As time goes on, it becomes increasingly important to the people photographed, those who know and love them, and to the casual observer that this was a real moment in time. The clothes, what people are doing, the colors, the location, all of these remind us of how life was then. As the clock ticks, this moment in time becomes a permanent reminder of how life once was. That’s why you, me, and photographers like us, do what we do. Contriving, prompting and posing are about the photographer. Documentary imagery is about the subject in front of us. One takes, the other gives back IMHO.”
Inspired by Kevin’s post, I decided to go through some of my weddings over the past year, and post photos that fall into this category. Images captured that caught my attention mainly because they describe the connection between people, more than anything else. The simple essence of these images is they remind us that “we belong,” that “we are loved,” and that “we are not alone.” To me, there is nothing more tragic, more devastating to the human condition, than loneliness. Images that seem to win contests, or get published, will typically also include peak expression, emotion or action to give it an added element. They, too, may convey “connectedness,” but it is not the central theme of the image, or it gets lost because of the more obvious elements: the action, expression or emotion. You can see these types of photos in most of those selected in my “Best of 2012,” shown in my previous blog post. Don’t get me wrong, I love those images too! The images above and below lack these exciting additional elements. They are not typical contest winners. Regardless, they are among my favorites from this past year. They display a moment in history of the simple connection between people.
There are many kinds of wedding photographers out there to choose from, but only a very few will capture these kinds of images. Those like Kevin Mullins, myself and other documentary wedding photographers share a passion for capturing “real life” in the weddings we photograph.