This is a little take-away from a wedding I helped shoot recently. The focus of wedding photography, fittingly, is the bride and groom, but there is so much more going on: relationships, history, feuds, and innumerable others stories in progress. As soon as I ran across this photo back at home when reviewing the whole set, I loved it.
One of the core aims of my photography is to document culture and life. That was quite different living as a foreigner in China than it is living as a semi-local here in the United States again. I have talked before about the difficulty of street and culture photography in America, and it is a daily struggle. Americans are always in their air-conditioned houses, offices, and cars, and it is hard to find access to daily life now. Not impossible, sure, and likely photography simply needs to show how isolated, independent, and air-conditioned we really are.
That is why photos like this really stick out to me: not only is it an interesting environmental portrait, but it says a lot about his personal story. To me, he fits in perfectly with a fading segment of our population, the Billy Graham-esque gospel preacher. I grew up with these guys. Now, preachers are way too hip for me.
Wow. That was a real aside. To sum that all up, one of the reasons I love shooting weddings is that I have access to such a rich collection of stories. It is only one segment of daily life, but a deep and intriguing one.