Anyone who knows me well know that I have a love/hate relationship with Wisconsin. I grew up here, moved to Florida for a few years which I hated, and came back. And suddenly, as I have gotten older…the winters, the gray skies, the interminable “spring” where it does not get above 50 except for one day to tease us, the unbelievably high taxes have beaten me down. I’ve become….well, a bit of a hater.
And then, comes spring. The real spring. With balmy weather, chirping birds, Leinenkugels Summer Shandy on tap and the promise of Summerfest and……weddings. And suddenly, I become a poster child for Wisconsin, humming “On Wisconsin” under my breath even though I am a UWSP alumni. Like all of us that are kept inside too long, I burst out of my pale gummy shell and grab my camera and find myself renewed to chase “the girl in the big white dress” once again.
Weddings, ah how I have misssed you. It’s crazy, I know. But literally for the last 4 weeks I have been itching to shoot a wedding. Dear Lord, my last wedding was January 24 and it is TIME TO SHOOT. Oh sure, I’ve done portraits. Engagement sessions. First Communions, Father/Daughter dances, Corporate events…but no weddings in months. Is this normal? Yes, it is. I do usually have a few weddings smattered here and there November to March, but nothing like the hit of the full season which generally begins in May. And in truth, I savor the down time because I know that once May hits, it’s full force until fall. It’s the wedding season in Wisconsin, and it is what it is. I often wonder if those lucky photographer folks who live in Southern California who can shoot all year long get burned out because they can literally shoot all year long. On one hand it sounds like a dream to me, but on the other hand I look forward to the few Saturdays a year I can do things like reorganize my closet, or maybe take my kids to a movie. I also find that on a personal level, I photograph my own family life events more when I have some time to recoup. Sometimes on my days “off” the last thing I want to do is lift a camera to my face, but then when I do not have one I feel lost. It’s a conendrum to be sure.
In truth, I feel like a fish out of water on a Saturday night off. I wish it wasn’t so, but it is. More often than not I rattle around the house and call random friends to hang out who say “why are you home? Don’t you have a wedding?” These are also the same friends who schedule a BBQ on a Saturday in June and then are crushed when I RSVP to say I cannot come. You’d think after 14 years of shooting weddings they’d get it.
But, as I have learned, no one really gets it unless it is their passion. Weekly I meet and correspond with photographers who “used to shoot weddings” or who are “getting out of weddings” extoling the virtues of shooting corporate shoots, portraits, high school seniors, all quoting me how much more money they made pound for pound for less work in a controlled enviornment with nary a bitchy Mother of the Bride in site. And I get it, I do…I am also doing those things, I saw the need to diversify a few years ago, and I am.
But I love…..LOVE shooting weddings. I have no doubt in my mind that capturing a moment no one else could have seen is, for me, the greatest thrill as an artist.
For the remaining 34 couples this year that are my clients, I tell you that I am thrilled and honored to be your photographer. I cannot wait to get back out there and create some art.
This week end I will bond with my teenaged sons, make them do yard work and take them to see “The Flight of the Conchords” at the Riverside. Next week end I will be shooting Christine and Jeff’s wedding. These are some very good Saturday plans, indeed