Published on November 4th, 2012 | by Harley0
Let it Be
A month and a half ago, I photographed a wedding. Being that it was my first wedding, I was thrilled with the results. It was such a fun shoot! The ceremony, the reception, the formals. A last-minute decision to photograph at the place he proposed. Everything. Everyone was happy!
Then, I got a Facebook message from the bride. “He left today and won’t be returning. Please untag me from this photo.” 6 weeks after their marriage they called it quits.
I triple checked the message to make sure I didn’t imagine it. It was real. But the photos! All that work! Those pictures are for happy memories! I wanted to yell at them for messing it up. Now all the pics I did are just a reminder that things didn’t work out, I thought. Why did they bother hiring me for their wedding if they were just going to break up 6 weeks later? What was the point? I wanted to go to the online album and trash it. Every. Single. Photo. I felt angry and sad they would do such a thing. How could they? I put so much work into those photos. They’re my memories, too! That was my first wedding shoot and now the pics are for nothing. Totally ruined.
It took me a few hours to get out of the funk that sent me through. I developed such an emotional attachment to my photos I was mad about the couple breaking up and messing up the memories in MY photos. I actually felt mad! It’s absurd, I know. But I can’t ignore that’s how I felt at first. I didn’t realize how attached I had become.
I realized that I felt this way about most of the photos I’ve done for clients in the past. Once, a client asked if they could make one of the photos into a logo. I told them no. I didn’t intend it to be a logo so don’t make it one. When another said they loved a photo I thought was terrible, I got upset. That photo should be deleted! I thought. It’s not good and I don’t know why you think it’s the best. The list goes on.
I feel bad about it. People hired me and I got all wrapped up in my own thoughts about the shoot. I didn’t realize I was doing it, honestly. I was taking the same attitude towards client work that I took towards my own. Ruthless cuts, hours of post processing, it was MY art. It wasn’t until I received that message that I realized anything was off. I was treating hired projects like they were my personal ones and getting attached.
The day after the bride sent me the message she and her husband split, she posted this quote on her Facebook wall.
Well, it’s true I have been hurt in my life. But it is also true that I have loved, and been loved. And that carries a weight of its own. A greater weight, in my opinion. In the end, I’ll look back on my life, and see that the greatest piece of it was love. The problems, the sadness… those will be there too, but just smaller slivers, tiny pieces.
~ Sarah Dessen, in “This Lullaby”
Cue clouds parting and rays of sun shining through cliché. Just let it be, I thought. Let the photos remain as happy moments. The events after don’t change that. Just move on.
When you release something into the world, it reflects that time. Sometimes I look at things I’ve done in the past and think, wow that’s crap. What was I thinking? But then you move on and improve. I’m not happy that I let myself get so attached to my photos, but I can’t change that. All I can do is look forward and move on. Release my work into the world and let it be.