Is sometimes all it takes to capture happiness.
If you’re lucky.
I’ve done it. Thousands of times.
One shot at a time, I would repeat to myself,
While double checking focus and f-stops.
The best it can be. All you can do.
No hope of meeting client expectations
Not on this job. Thankless really.
It never felt like a Nikon
I was holding in my hands
But their lives.
The hours alone are punishing,
arriving at first light at the bride’s parent’s house
before the makeup even goes on.
Forty pounds of equipment in tow
Sunrise, and nerves already
beginning to fray.
The bride for starters is never quite satisfied with
her dress or her hair
or her bridesmaids.
The groom often bears the look of someone
who has just been given
some very bad news.
Groomsmen are a particular challenge.
Lining them up,
they visibly stiffen.
Roll your shoulders, unclench your jaw.
Pretend you have actually met, I cajole.
To no avail.
And there’s always the visual artiste in the crowd
who tries wresting the camera away from you,
just for fun.
By the time I get to grab a bite
the buffet has been ravaged.
The wedding cake looks like a Dali painting.
Drunken husbands and wives
remembering their own ancient vows
push themselves in front of me at night’s end.
I still love her, you know, he slurs.
She rolls her eyes, shakily fixing her lipstick
before I freeze them in the blink of an eye.
I am always the last to leave
in the wee hours
just as the cleaners arrive.
I gather them together for the last image of the day.
They wonder why the fuss.
They wonder about this woman
Heading off alone in the dark.
after chasing happiness all day long.