As a Denver documentary wedding photographer, I make a lot of photos of peak action, little explosions of emotion, or a glimpse of quiet intensity. But they are moments, fleeting, nonetheless. There are other pictures made in moments of transition, where what makes the image is not a specific act, but a moment of revelation. These images are harder to talk about, as the point is not so much what is happening, but what the image is about. Trying to describe that leaves one in a situation where words are concurrently far too few and far too many. And still they miss the point.
We live in a culture of screens and social media, swipe, swipe, like, swipe. Even as a Denver documentary wedding photographer who should be more interested in what lies below the surface, I fall into the habit of rushing past photographs that take more than a second to digest. It’s the curse of Instagram that has us always flipping through, rushing onto the next thing without pausing to consider what’s in front of us. But some things you just have to sit with, to let them soak into you on their own time. It’s one of the reasons I believe in prints, in making books. No, they won’t vanish in the cloud, crash on a hard drive or be fussy with the software of the future. But more importantly, they force us to slow down.
When I’m photographing a wedding and in the week or two I spend editing it, I’m looking for pictures that will be meaningful not just now, but ten, twenty years in the future. The images that show us not merely what we did, but a hint of who we were.