As promised, today is the first installment of our new blog series, Through the Lens. The series will explore Wendi’s approach to photography and how her background in photojournalism translates to weddings.
My first challenge to Wendi was to help me understand her perspective when she’s taking a photograph. I asked her to pick an image and answer the question, “What did you see?” The image she chose and her response is below.
Denise asked me a seemingly simple question, but there’s no easy answer. This is part one of what I imagine to be a very long answer.
I shoot photographs the way I see the world so everything I shoot seems just like what I see. Simple, right? Yes, except, we all see the world differently. Try walking around with one eye closed and vary between walking upright and crawling and you might get a glimpse of what I see. I attribute this to years of experience behind the camera, too many hours in a darkroom and the quirky brain God gave me.
I think it’s more about what I’m thinking than what I see. I approach every photograph as a story and one of the most important aspects of visual storytelling is listening. It’s the hardest skill to learn and the easiest to do.
I could have easily missed the photograph above had I not listened and learned about the bride. By listening I knew Kelly was very spiritual, that prayer played a big part in her life and the lives of her friends and that while getting ready for her wedding she wanted to be surrounded by her bridesmaids — all of whom were there because they truly loved Kelly and supported her in prayer and friendship.
I wanted to visually show this commitment to God, prayer and friendship and I knew the moment would organically present itself. So, I waited and waited and waited. I shot lots of getting ready photos and could have easily left the room satisfied that I had covered the events, but I wanted the “rest of the story” so I lingered for a bit more. As Kelly sat and her friends gathered around her I knew it was time.
I considered standing on a chair to get an overhead view, but decided I wanted a shot that was as intimate as the moment. I chose a wide angle lens and sat at Kelly’s feet while the bridesmaids gathered around. I love this photo because I feel it captures the emotion and feeling of the moment. My hope is that you, as the viewer, feel like you are reaching a virtual hand out in prayer along with Kelly and her friends.