Camera Shy (A Groom With A View)
Having my picture taken may be on top of the list of things I dread the most. Ask anyone who has ever dared to stand before me with a camera trying (mostly in vain) to take a photograph. Every picture of me taken as a child features me with a pained look on my face. The reason for this: a neurotic cocktail of painfully low self-esteem, crippling self-consciousness, and occasional low blood sugar. I have spent a lifetime finding and destroying the images of myself I find the most offensive. I just can’t stomach looking at pictures of myself.
At this point in our planning, finding a wedding photographer was the last thing we needed to do. And for a fleeting moment, this should have been easy. We have a close friend, Angela, a respected wedding photographer, who should have easily gotten the nod. But Evin and I weren’t sure whether we wanted to hire Angela as our photographer, or invite her to the wedding as our guest. So Evin put together a list of requirements our wedding photographer had to have.
They needed to be within our budget. Even more important than their portraits, they needed to have a portfolio filled great candid shots. Evin was also looking for a photographic style that appealed to her. She also wanted weddings to be their main thing, not just something they do every once in a while for extra cash. They should be at a certain age where they understand a wedding, maybe even married themselves. We all had to personally click meaning: I needed to feel comfortable enough with them to let them take my picture without incident.
Evin asked everyone we knew for recommendations. She also came to them through a Google search and a Facebook plea. When the links poured in, Evin was excited to talk about their work — the angles, the lighting, what the picture “said.” I tried to share her excitement but I just couldn’t. To me, it was just a photograph. Evin is all about the images. I am all about the words. Maybe that’s why we work as a couple.
We arranged to meet 3 or 4 of them — all located (oddly) in the flower district of Manhattan.
On a wet Saturday morning, we trudged into the city to meet Contestants #1 at their Flatiron office. The electricity in their office was down so we met in a nearby coffee place. They were nice enough, seemed competent, their work was pretty good, but we felt like, “just another engaged couple they were meeting with.” I think the guy called me “Richard” twice. Evin asked a load of questions and follow-ups as I never uttered a word. I just sat there deluding myself into believing if we didn’t like them we’d simply stop looking for photographers. After the meeting, Evin and I agreed that they weren’t right for us. Phew! (or is it Whew?)
Okay, so we’re 0-1. “This is nothing to be concerned about,” I told Evin. But she was worried that we’d have a hard time finding someone who satisfied all of our needs. But what she was worried about the most: that we wouldn’t find a photographer I would be comfortable enough to let them do their job. So she looked harder and sent me more links to more photographers. What I didn’t know at the time was that we were much closer to to beginning of our search than were to the end of it.