The Bean Blog (currently on hiatus)

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Stranger in a Strange Land

Yesterday, I took photographs at a wedding reception. This was my second time taking photos of complete strangers. The first time (see here and here), I was taking headshots of one person, and the photo shoot took place in my neighborhood. Mildly stressful, but not that bad. I'm pretty personable when I'm one on one with someone else. However, groups of people remind me of how I wasn't popular in high school, and therefore I feel an irresistable urge to sit in a corner and keep my head down.

The wedding reception wasn't huge (about 40 people), and it was also quite casual, located in the "backyard" of the bride's aunt. I put the word "backyard" in quotation marks because the aunt owned about 40 acres.

I almost wonder if I felt so much like an intruder (well, intruder is too strong a word, but you know what I mean) because of the intimacy brought about by the small, closely-knit crowd and having it on a family member's property. I had never met the bride or groom before nor obviously anyone else. I knew nothing about them except that they had been married earlier in the day.

It was almost like a good mystery. As I wandered around, taking pictures, trying to capture moments, I learned about these people. When the bride's sister made a toast, I learned that their mother had died of a long illness, during which time the bride met the groom. The sister, apparently a speach writer by profession, said many beautiful and poignant things like: "Their courtship took place in hospitals and on trains." I learned that the bride and groom met each other on the internet, that the bride was the oldest member of her family to get married, and that the groom's sister had given up on the groom ever marrying anybody. The father of the bride stood up and played two songs on an acoustic guitar while wearing khakis and a hawaiian shirt. I learned that the bride's favorite song is "Into the Mystic" by Van Morrison and that her father has a pretty good voice.

While I learned all that, I wondered about many other things. For instance, who was the woman who sat next to the father of the bride? Had he re-married? And who was the man who sat next to the groom's grandmother? Was that his grandfather--even though he lived in Kentucky and she lived in Florida? Who was the woman with the curly, bright red hair and big teeth amongst all the demure blondes? Did a pair of rebel recessive genes combine to create her? Was she adopted? Was she an in-law? There was a little girl, about three years old, with a slight limp. What was wrong with her?

As I was doing this for free, I didn't feel much pressure. I think I got some good shots, hopefully the bride and groom will be happy. But I wonder, as I look through the images and see a good picture of some person or another: Who was she or he? Someone's girlfriend or boyfriend whom the bride hardly knows? Did I miss out on photographing her favorite aunt or cousin out of ignorance?

I don't know them, and they don't know me. I doubt I'll live long in anyone's memory, but they'll stay in mine. If nothing else, I'll always remember the tower of Krisy Kreme donuts with a plastic bride & groom on top that substituted for a wedding cake.


  • Photography--Yay! Taking photographs of complete strangers? Eek, bad, scary.... SCARY!

    By Blogger Whimsy Chick, at 1:49 AM, July 05, 2004  

  • I often wonder how many pictures I'm in... in the background, that is. How many times have I been walking in the background of someone's picture, or way off in the distance, or in a crowd shot. Someday, someone will see that picture, point to my blurry head, and say, "Who's that?"

    By Blogger Dan, at 11:13 AM, July 05, 2004  

  • Oh please please please can we get a shot of that Krispy Kreme Tower? :)

    By Blogger Tim, at 4:59 PM, July 05, 2004  

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