All of my friends are getting married.
They are buying rings and doormats and couple's gym memberships. They hold hands and talk about the future and spend time with each others' parents. They welcome all forms of attention- an online "pat on the back", awesome gifts, bachelor parties, trust funds.
I am not saying they get married only for the onslaught of wedding gifts and facebook likes...but man, I too would like a free KitchenAid Stand Mixer. Well, 2 to 50 years of marriage doesn't exactly qualify as "free". It doesn't bother me. I'm a happy single man with no gifts.
It is just that all of a sudden, my buddies are getting sucked into domesticity and I cannot help but wonder, "Where's the fire?"
Perhaps I am just a little jealous. Maybe I sometimes wish that I was a love bird. It is even possible that I tear up every time I watch the episode when Jim and Pam get married. It is possible. Not probable.
If that were to be true, maybe it is because I am the guy with the camera looking squarely in the face of their loving faces loving each other's faces.
Here is some insight to that remark:
I am photographing a wedding in May and I was texting the groom:
"I'm pretty excited. You two are fun to photograph."
"Haha, what makes us fun to photograph?"
"Well, you're both attractive- that's a big plus. And you have a charming chemistry. You look at each other a lot when you laugh, she admires you."
I see a lot through the lens. It is a good way of examining someone without them feeling my eyes. Though, even before I pick up the camera, I observe. I listen specifically to the exchanges, and I watch how they handle each other. What makes her laugh? How does she touch him when he makes her laugh? What does he look at when she's laughing? Where do their hands go when they kiss?
I look for moments that seem special to me, and then when they seem to forget I am there, I start shooting. And when they look at me, I stop shooting. See, you have to train these birds. Once they realize I only shoot when they are engaged with each other, they stop paying attention to me and they begin to express affection sincerely.
This is why I do not take a thousand photos every time I photograph a couple. If I know their mannerisms and chemistry, I can be ready for that "moment". Instead of firing away and spending hours afterwards searching through my mini motion picture for the moment.
This philosophy significantly cuts down on the number of photos of lovers on my computer, thus diminishing the amount of time I spend feeling lonely.
At this point in my life, marriage is like Mardi Gras. I do not go out of my way to participate, but I like the mood it puts everyone in. Folks walk around happy and excited to have a good time. They make plans and take trips and generally exude positive energy.
Photographing young love is fun. Proposals are fun. Weddings are fun.
And it all revolves around two people who decided they cannot be apart. We have a lot of love to give, and they have finally found a place to put it. Their feelings are so grand, they throw a massive party that requires two invitations spaced months apart, and enough alcohol to make everyone involved walk away smelling like the French Quarter.
The love fuels the fire. When I asked where's the fire? I should have known.