I have been asked many different ways, why I do what I do. When I first started in photography it was a way to make money with a passion and hobby of mine. I photographed portraits for another company and found out I was pretty good. When I went out on my one I still loved it and thought of it more as a way to get paid to have fun and enjoy great parties all the time. This went of for a while and then something happened, my phone rang and a dream friend of mine Katy "awesome" Baker asked if I could photograph a wedding that afternoon. This seamed odd to me but she was in need and said it was important, so I said yes.
This was the tipping point when photography went from fun and money to one something that is very personal and a moment in time you would get back. I found out that Lilia and Roberts wedding was going to be held at a hospital, Roberts dad was very sick and loosing the battle with cancer. While they planned a later wedding his dad would not make it, so they moved things up. I gave them the attention that I do every wedding and found it a little cramped and high fitting 7 people around a hospital bed plus myself trying to photograph everything. After this we went back to their house and had another wedding their for family and friends, this time much more room but still not the ideal location.
I went home and felt for the family, I said a prayer for them, picked up Tyvan (my son) who was 6 months old and hugged him and went back to my life as usual. The next week I got a call from Katy she told me that Roberts dad past and wanted to thank me again for everything I did for them. When I sat down to start working on the pictures I opened up lightroom and loaded the files, as I was going through them picking out the keepers and editing both weddings, it hit me like a ton of bricks. These are some of the last pictures of this man, even though he was in a bed and on a breathing machine, he was truly happy and maybe one of the last times he was. (even now just writing this I find it hard to fight back the tears)
Now when I pick up a camera I see a moment in time that you can never get back. Wether it is Tyvan playing with his block or jumping off the bed onto the floor or it is a couple kissing for the first time as husband and wife. These are moments that you can recall from memory but once they are printed and live a a physical part of your life they are priceless. I now view what I do as one of the most respected professions in todays world.
To bring this back to Lilia and Robert, even though their wedding wasn't in the best of locations and he lost his father shortly after this. How much do you think they value this image?
Even though they live on the other side of the country now, and I did not charge them for my services, I think that they would not give this image up for any amount of money. I gave them a moment in time that they will never get back, but they can see it and share it with their kids and their grand kids who will never know this great man. And that is the true value of an image to me.