Norma, my sister's grandmother-in-law, passed away recently. I was asked to go through photos from my sister's wedding and find a few images of Norma, one of which would be framed and displayed at her memorial service. She suffered from Alzheimer's disease and her body had begun to give out on her so this photograph, from my sister's wedding shower, was the only one in my collection of snapshots where she was actually smiling, and that was because she was posing with her grandson, whom she loved dearly, and his soon-to-be new bride, whom she had also taken to quite fondly. I didn't want to send just a snapshot off for her memorial, though, so I touched up the photo a bit, cropped it to feature Norma, and added a simple background that compliments the soft colors she wore. Her memorial service is on Saturday and I hope she looks down in peace and happiness as those who love her celebrate her life.
I just came across this great article called "What to Look for in a Photographer". It talks about a horrifying trend among wedding photographers where they choose not to post their photos of real weddings with real-sized brides but instead post photos only from weddings with thin brides or photographs they've staged with hired models in order to create a "brand" that reflects the highly unrealistic and exclusionary standards of the modeling and advertising industries; the result of which is that these photographers are sending the message to their "real" brides that they aren't beautiful enough to be included in their portfolio, which is seen by potential clients.
On my path to a Ph.D. in psychology I have taught courses on the Psychology of Women and my lecture on body image always elicits the most conversation from students (the vast majority of whom are female), probably because young American females have these unrealistic standards of beauty shoved down our throats for as long as we can remember. I show them the Dove Evolution commercial where Dove demonstrates how a beautiful model is made up and Photoshopped because even she is not "beautiful" enough. It would never have occurred to me not to post images of the brides who allow me the privilege to photograph their wedding; the honor of sharing with them, in an intimate way, one of the most important days of of their lives. What does their size matter? But now that I know of this trend it almost seems like an action of social responsibility to include these weddings in my portfolio...which is sad. But at least the action reflects the values of MY "brand."
The article also speaks of how so many portfolios represent only heterosexual weddings and fail to include couples who don't fit this description. I have not yet had the opportunity to photograph such a wedding but would love to do so as I believe in equality and the right of all people to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Hmm, why does that sound familiar? :) I have, however, had the opportunity to design custom invitations for a lesbian wedding (see image below) and I remember that, when the couple first contacted me about creating them, they felt it necessary to disclose their sexual orientation and ask if it I would still work with them. Isn't is awful that two people who are planning one of the most special days of their lives must have their experience clouded by the possibility of bigotry everywhere they turn? Even from vendors to whom they are giving money to provide services? I mean, imagine if heterosexual couples could only get vendors to work for them if the couple first asked for the vendor's approval of their chosen marriage partner. It's hideous. So, is it an action of social responsibility to work with non-traditional couples and post photographs from their weddings, too? Unfortunately, it looks like it might be.
Check out the article and comments here.
I just found this great etsy shop, Tracy Joy, offering lovely handmade camera lens pouches. Check them out! Etsy is also a wonderful place to find a multitude of items for your wedding and to support artists locally or around the world.
Office Depot is offering a free backpack this week to customers who spend $10 in their stores. Please consider donating a backpack and school supplies to the Houston Area Women's Center or another organization for children going back to school.