(a composition with a theme and thereafter a few variations).
Leaving my very much neglected mountain bike behind and doing all of those last minute things that inevitably always pop up before a wedding (even though you had everything ready the night before) always gets me on my nerves. The first reason being: I am afraid that my mountain bike will one day abandon me. I am planning a fabulous retirement for us. I hope she forgives me all my Saturday shenanigans at weddings and chooses to stay with me regardless. Secondly: I like to be in control, and the last minute preparations always tend to unsettle me a little bit. This unsettlement usually passes very soon, and Carolien and I end up having all sorts discussions in the car, discussions that we otherwise do not really get time to have.
It is important for me to get over my own negative emotions when I am involved in a wedding - a wedding is not to be sneezed at, it is huge (two factors are against me in this: (1) I tend to look very grumpy even when I am not and (2) the beard makes this even worse). A wedding is the one day that a couple will get to celebrate their promise with all their friends and family. They will be the host and hostess and they will showcase their style and individuality to all their guests. I therefore get into a space in my mind where I am a hundred percent focused on being the most effective slave (in first/main/most important photographer terms 'second shooter') that I could possibly be. My job is to keep number one calm, hydrated, stocked on snacks, locations, time, different kinds of light and most of all: emotional stability.
And number one is of the female persuasion. Number one is genetically predisposed towards emotional instability, and that is why I love her. Instability generates amazing creativity, the ever lasting search for 'that moment' and 'the perfect light' and 'reflecting emotion' - things that are in themselves elusive and very hard to pin down.
Things that also take an immense level of concentration, focus and passion to achieve.
And we always try to maintain our balance, and the balance is a wonderful thing. To shoot together and understand with the nod of a head, the wink of an eye or the desperate waving of hands, over the confines of space, time and the pastor's head in a chapel, that her card is indeed full and I NEED to get the shot (or else a life of misery, possibly involving horrible methods of torture will await the now suddenly elevated second shooter). Or to really laugh together when something funny happens, or to really be emotional together when a couple is just so much in love that you cannot help feeling a bit mushy.
The wedge in the fine tuned balance sometimes makes it's appearance. They make many images by pressing the shutter button only once. They generally outnumber us. Their legs are inadequate so they need to carry three extra ones everywhere they go. These extra legs are sometimes used to attack unsuspecting photographers - I saw Carolien being purposefully bashed with a tripod once! These strange creatures almost always grace many photographs with their wonderful presence, regardless of the fact that they do their utmost best to be subtle by placing their three legged support structures in between the bridal couple in order for them to have something to hold onto if the service goes on for too long...
Our carefully constructed and acquired balance would shatter if Carolien forgot to tell me (five weeks in advance) that we would be having videographers at a wedding. She would usually remember to tell me when we were about 10 minutes from the venue. Panic, disaster. The dutch grump -gene on steroids. Tantrums, tears, desperation and a dark emotional abyss. Letters of resignation. Threats, wolf howls. Pulling over and lying in fetal position by the side of the road. Immediate conference calls to the family shrink. Divorce letters dictated to the family lawyer (my little brother) via Voice Note.
Stop at the venue, tog smile on face, star pupil of the school of cool.
But time and experience has taught us both that we were in the wrong. It is not our wedding. It is our client's wedding. And communication with the enemy is possible, over time we learnt that even cooperation and friendships could be possible between the P and the V.
After many talks and discussions I have also realized that they are almost like us. They have businesses to run, some of them are even married! I do quite often catch them sneaking into corners with colouring books and crayons from the children's table at weddings, but I understand that things may get boring if you only press the button once every hour... To each his or her own...
“I believe it boils down to getting your ego under control. My happiness (comfort?) is far less important than my client's happiness”
But on a serious note:
I believe it boils down to getting your ego under control. My happiness (comfort?) is far less important than my client's happiness. And lying in fetal position next to a road is not good for my creativity during the rest of the day. And tantrums and emotional responses are not good for number one when, later on, she needs to give her all when the sun is setting and the light is going during a couple shoot.
Our clients made a decision that they wanted their special day captured on video, and we respect that. We believe that some elements/moments of the wedding 'belong' to the videographer, and some elements/moments 'belong' to us. We find that a nice chat on the wedding day, if and when possible, to kindly state what our expectations are and find out what the expectations of the videographers are, makes for smooth sailing. We only revert to tazing and other violent measures and methods when kindly stating did not have the desired effect.
Personality clashes do happen. Some egos cannot be ignored or effectively kept within certain confines. That is a fact of any professional situation. But the client comes first, and that needs to be respected.
There are many videographers whom we love, and we mean that word, dearly. We get excited about working with many of our dear videographer friends. They are good company, they are excellent at what they do, and we love them to bits. We look forward to meeting many more!
Here's to the five legged ones!