Thursday, November 12, 2009

Shameless self promotion

The thing we do for money is pretty silly. We dress up, not in costumes, but in clothes your mother would wear to a bake sale and pretend to be someone else's spouse, or mother, or office mate, and we convince you to buy stuff. Stuff that you need or don't need. Stuff that needs selling. Nipper Knapp and I are actors and we mostly (only) do commercials. If someone had told me at 23 that I would have a great career doing commercials, that I would support my family, and get health insurance, and be able to spend most days laying around the house with my family, I would have thought they were nuts. I also might have gone back to school. Which would have been dumb. Because I have a great life. It's a little unstable, but whose life isn't? 

Over the years, I developed an interest in photography and started shooting actors headshots, which led to shooting models, which led to shooting stuff for designers and magazines. I had lots of luck, and friends who helped, and I started to think that maybe acting in commercials was just my day job, and that photography was what I really wanted to spend my life doing. At last I felt in control of a creative process. 

And then I had a baby. 

I don't know why it's not talked about more, but no one told me that 1/4 of my brain matter would be removed upon delivery of my sweet baby boy. Just right out the door. What's my name? I don't know. Where is the bottle warmer? No idea. What shutter speed should we shoot this at to create shadow on that side of the girls face, but not lose detail completely? HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Are you kidding me? I have to do math? I can barely remember what I like to eat. Scratch that, I have no idea what I like to eat. I have momnesia.

Now, I have to admit that much of my ability to reason, and the logic portion of my brain had returned once Jack grew past infancy. Unfortunately the desire to work out complicated problems not involving how to get Jack to sleep through the night did not. Frankly, I didn't care anymore. Didn't care about putting on make-up to go to an audition. Didn't care about learning the lines once I got there. Didn't care that people probably thought I was a mess. Didn't care about taking pictures AT ALL. As a matter of fact, most of the pictures we have of Jack in his first year were taken on our iphones. I didn't even feel guilty about not caring. I was so filled with maternal longing, and crazy hormones, that I didn't really notice anything missing. I also didn't get much of any work that first year. Great for bonding with Jack, not great for our pocketbook. 

When Jack was about to be a year old, one of my dearest and oldest friends from childhood contacted me. She was getting married and she wanted me to shoot her wedding. I said "NO". I told her that I don't really shoot weddings. I told her that she should hire someone who specializes in weddings. She told me that she wouldn't take no for an answer. I didn't tell her I was worried I'd ruin her wedding by taking awful, uninspired terrible, no good pictures. I thought "I haven't touched my camera in a year, and maybe I don't know how anymore." I was having a serious crisis of confidence. She insisted, so I said I would do it , and then I immediately set to spending every night looking at wedding photographers sites. 

OH BOY! I forgot how much I loved this stuff. I forgot how much I love photography, and images, and wedding dresses, and flowers, and happy people's faces! I forgot the thrill of a challenge. As the day approached I hired an assistant for the day of the wedding. They were getting married in Sonoma so I couldn't use any of my old assistants here in LA. I found him on craigslist and he turned out to be completely non crazy, and didn't murder me as the cake was being cut or anything. Which was a big relief. 

Long story short (too late for that I know) it went really well. The location was beautiful, the bride was beautiful (duh), and did I mention the pictures were beautiful. It all came back, just like riding a bike. I made a mental note of all the shots I needed to get. I consulted the bride and groom on anything or anyone special they wanted me to shoot (their shoes, crazy aunt esther, etc...) And the thing I was the most concerned about, the part of being "the wedding photographer", was AWESOME. Turns out, I love to be bossy! And I'm good at it! Who knew? (shut up Nipper)

So in the year that followed, I randomly had a few other couples ask me to shoot their weddings, and I enjoyed each one more than the last. Some of the weddings have been travel jobs, one in Michigan, and another with a wedding in San Francisco, and a reception in Malibu, so I've had to really put on my thinking cap, and be prepared. It's been challenging and so fulfilling. It seems there IS a way to blend that thing I loved pre-baby, with something that is do-able post-baby. I no longer have the heart for putting together lavish shoots with models, and stylists, and clients. I do have a love of family, and friends, and as much as it makes me want to throw up a little in my own mouth to say it, a love of love. Excuse me... lobotomizing myself now.

So I've put together another blog. SHUT UP you say! No, but it's true. It's going to be for the weddings I shoot. So it won't be filled with any clever anecdotes about how I destroyed something, or made Nipper Knapp want to commit sepuku. But it will be filled with stories of love, and happiness and pretty pretty things that clever brides think of to make their day sweet and personal and perfect. Feel free to pass along my photography site, or the wedding blog to anyone you know who's getting hitched. Who knows, maybe someone you know has been dying to have the quilted northern girl shoot their wedding. 

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