Sunday, February 7, 2016

Don't hire a wedding photographer.

Vogue Magazine has always been a staple in the fashion industry, with a reputation for having top notch, trend setting style, and photography.  Its history stretches back into the late 1800's.  Recently, Vogue Magazine published an article regarding weddings, and the 10 things you should "ditch."  You can read the article here.

The article was written by the Molly Guy, founder of Stone Fox, a wedding dress boutique specializing in custom wedding dresses, crowns, jewelry.  Interestingly, Ms Guy also has a casual line of clothing labeled "FUCK WEDDINGS."  It is notable to point out that she herself is not married.

The perplexing portion of this article is that Ms Guy, a wedding professional herself, pushes the notion that you should consider not getting wedding rings...yet she has wedding rings on her website, several of which exceed $9,000 each, but, as she notes:

"Historically, they were there to let the world know you were the property of your big strong husband, who was out in the scary mean world skinning bears and slaving away at his important job, while you stayed home, scrubbing the woolen underwear of your six children in the washbasin. Why not get matching tattoos instead? Actually, why get matching anything? Not to get too Stevie Nicks here, but the psychic bond you share is what’s important—not the jewelry."

Now look...I'm not against tattoos.  I agree with the last line...the ring doesn't matter as much as the love, but, it is a beautifully scripted hypocrisy to advocate against readers of a fashion magazine not to buy rings, all while selling rings.  Which one is it?

I won't get into all ten of them as this blog would get much longer than it already will be, very quick, but the ones I won't get into are: The girls, The big reveal, The registry, Something old something new, and feeding each other cake.  These are interesting, to say the least, things to "ditch," but we'll move on.  There are more pressing matters here.

Let's start off with the easiest of the remaining four: the honeymoon.  What I find outright insulting on this one is that the designer who sells $10,000 wedding dresses is lecturing you about how you need to save money and do a staycation, "And while you’re there, ask the hotel manager if the pool could stay open late for a private swim." What?!

Another interesting "suggestion" Guy makes is to skip your first dance.


Look.  I'm a guy's guy.  I drink beer.  And whiskey.  I love me some sports.  As you can tell, I have an undying love of the automobile, and I don't dance...but to take the suggestion to skip the first dance would be outright lunacy.  At the end of it all, you won't remember your newlywed wife's dress nearly as much as you will taking those first steps while a room of loving eyes looks on.  That might be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard from a wedding professional, IF NOT FOR:

DON'T WALK DOWN THE AISLE WITH DADDY.  The man who raised you.  The man who taught you what a man should be.  The man who was the #1 man in your life, until you met your husband.  Fuck em, right?  RIGHT?!  It is every man's dream to walk his little girl down the aisle.  One of the most important moments I'd ever experienced in a wedding was at my sister's wedding, when my father walked her down the aisle.  As they reached the end of the aisle, they embraced each other, as they both wept, and there was not a single dry eye in the house.  My father taught my sister what a man was, and as he gave her away to an equally great man, the symbolism was not lost on anyone in attendance.

Ladies...don't be an idiot.  If you have a father or a father-like figure that was there for you, do it.  You won't regret it.  Neither will he.

The last piece of advice, and seemingly the most intrepidly horrid piece of advice, was to NOT HIRE A WEDDING PHOTOGRAPHER.

I get it.  I'm a photographer, so of course I will be against this.  Here's what she states:

"It made sense back in the olden days, pre–Facebook albums and Instagram hashtags, when the whole world didn’t have phones with cameras on them. Having the actual leather-bound album on your coffee table seemed like the only evidence that the whole thing actually took place. If social media is not your thing, why not scatter some disposable cameras around the party and let your drunken guests go to town? You’ll end up with hilarious and candid pictures without the pressure of “likes.”'

Here's the thing:

A few years ago, I shot a wedding at a golf club.  Beautiful wedding, beautiful couple and family, everything went off without a glitch.  GREAT.  I got a second wedding, a referral, off of that first wedding, due to the quality of my work.  While at that wedding, I had a quick conversation with a guest, and it went something like this:

"hey, uh, photographer.  Sorry, I don't know your name."
"Hey, how you doin?!  Ramon."  He was the first brides brother, and we knew each other, but since I was running around shooting, we did not have the pleasure of formally introducing ourselves at the first wedding.
"Ramon, my name is ____, I wanted to share something with you."
"Good to see you, brother.  How can I help you?"
"You see, Ramon, a while back, you shot (first wedding), and you took a portrait of me and my family.  My sister showed me the portrait of me, my wife, and kids, and I fell in love with it.  A few months later, Father's day came, and as a present, my kids got me that portrait, in a nice frame.  It meant so much to me.  That was the first time I had cried since my children were born, and I wanted to come up today and thank you for making such a beautiful image of my family."

No mention of the food.
No mention of the dress.
No mention of the DJ.
No mention of the Music.

While ALL of those things matter...the only part left, was that photograph.

Story #2.  I shot another great wedding at one of the local theme park resorts, which I will not name, but it had, um, characters of the, uh, rodent, variety :).  Beautiful wedding at a gorgeous location...what more could you ask for?

While shooting, I made an image of the bride and her grandfather...she was kissing him on the forehead.  He was in a wheelchair, unable to stand.  That was the last image of them together.  Three days after the wedding, the grandfather, on oxygen at the time of the wedding, passed away.

Wanna entrust those moments, those times, that love, that tenderness, to a couple of drunks with disposable cameras, or a few facebook pics?

The outright lack of respect for other wedding pros displayed by Molly Guy and Stone Fox is a serious shame.  Here we have someone who makes her money by selling $10,000 wedding dresses, has crowns adorned with flowers, selling for over $2,000, and $9,000 wedding rings, sells clothing with the words "FUCK WEDDINGS" all over them, devaluing weddings, wedding professionals, and everything about the wedding industry.  Moreover, the company she runs uses professional photographers, not "drunken guest" or "disposable cameras" to sell their clothing and jewelry. That is an outright shame.

To add insult to injury, what the hell was Vogue Magazine thinking, allowing this garbage to be put on their pages?  This is a magazine that has made their reputation on the backs of iconic journalism AND photography.  The annals of vogue boast images made by all the legends.  They don't use "drunken guest."  To allow such a load of rubbish to pollute their pages is to endorse the outright devaluing of what made them such an icon in the fashion world.

I am calling on Vogue Magazine to speak out against this insult to professional photographers, the wedding industry, and other fashion professionals, immediately.  To allow this to stand is nothing less than a slap in the face to all artist around the world.

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