There is something intensely fascinating to me about photographing people I have never met before. It is parallel to an exaggerated first impression. It is a first impression that cannot be forgotten. At a wedding there is a lot of context and background for how each person carries themselves that I will never understand. We only have a few frames to get to know each other. How strange it seems to get to know someone so briefly and simply and for that to last eternity. The impression they make guides my photographs. I will choose my angle, light, colors, and aperture based on the few things I know about the person. How a photograph turns out is based on the subtle emotional interactions unknown to the two of us. It is a storm of creativity and subconscious.
At Nicole and Chris’ wedding, this photographer-subject interaction was amplified when we photographed groups of people. Suddenly I am privy to how a couple interacts in their home. I have a view into a father-son and mother-daughter relationship that would otherwise be guarded from a stranger. People open up in front of a camera. They allow me a glimpse so that I can capture something that is important to them. Their children, friends, and their joy are all out in front of me- ready to smile.
What I am left with after photographing a wedding is too many photographs to understand. I do not know the people in the photographs; I know their faces and smiles. I have a small understanding of how they felt in a moment. The best part, I think, is handing over all this data in the form of photographs to the bride. She can sort through and interpret the people’s faces. I imagine some of the data is lost. I wonder- can she interpret my aperture?
Tomorrow I will be stronger and better. Tomorrow the day won’t beat me.
I told myself this lie yesterday. Today I lay here broken.
Tomorrow I will believe the lie. Tomorrow the day won’t beat me.
And If I love you until the end of forever, will my love be proof enough that you are every bit of amazing that I say you are? Will you then believe me when I say you are the best? Will you trust me when I say that you are perfect?
If I love you until the end of time, will you love me? Will you still hold my hand like it is your only connection to this spinning, tumbling, and turning world? Will you still soothe and caress me with your soft kisses? Will you hold me when I stumble and cry?
And if I love you until the end of time, will it be enough? Will my time, energy, and love- all that I gave to you- be enough to make the world stop? For if I cannot love you until the end of forever, I just might die.
Don’t you dare apologize and take away my pain. Don’t even think about kissing my injuries and soothing my sorrows. I need this pain.
If ever I am sad, it is because I once was tricked into believing in a dream. This pain will remind me that dreams are for fools. I will fall asleep each night clinging to the memories of my pain, perchance I will not dream.
Every day will be dark. Blindness is solitude, deafness is shelter. You cannot exist in that world. Every kiss will be bitter. I will sabotage every relationship while I cling to my pain.
This pain will whisper to me in the dark of the night and tell me what I need to hear: no one is worthy, and least of all is you. Your company would hinder me and your words would poison me. Your love has already poisoned me. Health is now a dream.
You did this to me. You loved me and you broke me. Don’t you dare apologize.
What’s the devil doing on your back? You are always running, trying to get away. Yet, you roll out the red carpet for him. You put him on your back as if you were his throne. What’s he doing on your back?
Every day that you keep running, you add a brick to your prison walls. Look at the prison you’ve found yourself in. It’s a self-imposed hell. You polish the bars that bind you. What solace do you find in your punishment? The devil alone can keep you company in your pristine prison.
Who is this devil on your back? He makes you run faster, but from what? Is the record-breaking pace worth the blisters on your feet? You left so many people in the dust. Do you miss them? You run so hard and so fast, no one can keep up. As you disappear on their horizon, all they see is the devil on your back- and he’s laughing.
I am lost at sea. This endless expanse owns my soul. It was weeks, maybe months ago that I finally relented to my fate. Time fails to pass. Perhaps time has ceased to exist and this is all a shadow of the world I once knew. I will remain here, a captive to the vengeful blue. Engulfed in my misery, I try to remember my past life. There was once a lover in the night. I loved the way he smelled. It was like a salty mist… actually, I can’t remember how he smelled. The memories are lost. There is nothing left.
You look at me with those sad eyes. It’s a half-empty look. Where did you go? Half of you jumped-ship and left your body short-handed. You are ill-equipped to deal with the struggles of life. I see you fight a fight you cannot win. And it kills me. Oh, where did you go?
You look like the boxer that never won a fight. There are scars and bruises from the fights you couldn’t win. They are reminders and they are your omen. How trapped and lonely you must feel. What comfort could I provide?
You are a dead man walking. Time must be so surreal to you. Time will bring your demise but at unknown rate, you should hate time. But you don’t hate it. The part of you that cared about time cared about me. Do you miss that part of you?
It is as though you seek what you lost with no real hope of finding it. You search because you must and you fight because you cannot stop. You know nothing more than the fruitless searches and deafening blows that punctuate each day. You wonder- when will it end? But the answer would kill you… and truly, it will kill me.
At the end of the day when the world weighs heavy on my shoulders, I am glad to find comfort on my cloud of pillows and blankets. As I lay there in my heavenly retreat, I feel you lean over and kiss me goodnight.
This time you kissed me quickly as if it were obligatory. It was as though you were telling me you forgive me a little.
Last night you didn’t kiss me at all. I could feel you fuming from across the bed. It was like you sent flames to torture me. Depriving me of that kiss was true torture.
Remember when you kissed me sweetly and softly? It was a kiss that suited my sacred space on that bed. That was before. Before I hurt you with my words and my deeds. Before I abandoned the sanctity of our marriage. I didn’t abandon it, I only took brief leave. I’m back now and I left things in disrepair. I will use all my tape and glue to fix this cloud. I will wait for your kiss.
Tomorrow you will kiss me.
To live life as though it alone is your passion, is to be free. Each breath, smell, and sight is a new and hidden love. No one can conquer the heart of a woman who knows only the joy of the next unknown adventure. No one can lay claim to the girl who seeks for the sake of seeking. She doesn’t want to stay, she’ll be on her way soon. What she wants is everything and now would be the time.
She lives every second, not one is wasted on magazines or appointments. She waits on no one, not even the sunrise. The current moment is the only time she tells. She will zoom by you on the freeway and smile as she leaves. This is her adventure, and you just played a small part. She is an enigma and a mirage.
You’ll be strangely happy to see her go because she’s proof that there’s still adventure. She’s a reminder of the ocean breeze and warm sand under your feet. She’s the reincarnation of a thousand explorers. She is neither here nor there so long as she is living. Life is her passion and life gives her freedom.
I am sent into the wild by my mother. I am carried by a critter that will give me brief passage, or by the wind which will send me where it wishes. I am whipped and pushed about, always at the mercy of others.
But when I finally find the earth, I will take over. I will claim the soil, the sunshine, and the water as my own. I will bend them and change them for my purposes of conquest. I will cut the earth with my roots and exploit the soil for its minerals and moisture. I will cast leaves to steal the sun. I will take all that I need.
Bees and butterflies will flock to me. I will charm and manipulate them with my perfectly crafted petals. They will do my bidding. I will cast away my offspring and give them no further thought. Time is better spent on my triumph over the elements. I will ravage the land and pillage the sun!
Heed my warning: I am the most violent of violets, and I am done with mercy.