Small Gift of Collaboration


Before the ceremony, the photographer asks me where I think a good spot for portraits would be. Does she perform this search with my similar criteria, I wonder, and then ask. Uniform, shaded lighting, even background, and enough depth to help create a uniform bokeh of fuzzed color, and a line of sufficient perpendicular length upon which parties can stand in repose? 

Yes, of course, she does. But I’m not certain why I’m so surprised by this shared, short pilgrimage. Photography, while it is many things, is primarily first a question of deciding where to stand, a challenge both for the subject and raconteur. We walk through the few open stations, redwood trees as anchor set against the tides of light, catering tables a tensile dilemma snaking our imagined lines of subjects.

That small gift of collaboration became the highlight of the day. What felt so different, having the conversation with a peer, rather than as an inner monologue (of a raging critique), recognizing these were a shared set of limitations and ultimately compromises we would be making. When I shoot alone, which has been always, it’s a small subjective drama and conflict, of choosing where a set of portraits should occur.

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