Storyteller. Artist. Photographer

Storyteller. Artist. Photographer

1, Storyteller: there was a story to be told.

2, Artist: ordinary wouldn’t be good enough, it had to be artfully done.

3. Photographer: I would use my talent as a photographer to complete one and two.

How special is it when you are invited to share a special moment in someone’s life? Imagine if that was part of your job. How special would that be?

As a photographer, I have shared with clients celebrating the first birthday of their child and the eightieth of their parents. I have captured special memories of weddings and anniversaries. It’s all just part of the job.

Then along comes that special occasion that is more than just part of the job. I have watched people and relationships grow and mature. I choked up when someone I knew looked at me on her day and in an excited voice said “John, I’m getting married!”

These people invited me to be a part of their life on a very special day. They trusted me to capture these days and their memories.

Several years ago I wrote of the surprising pleasure when a young lady phoned and said she wanted to book me for her wedding. I hadn’t yet met her so my first question was “are you familiar with my work?” It was the first time I heard “yes, you did my parents’ wedding.” It wouldn’t be the last time I heard that.

Imagine my joy when a year ago my only niece announced her engagement and asked me to photograph her wedding. Actually, I had mixed emotions. I was honored and excited. I was nervous and hesitant. Can a seventy-year-old photograph an entire wedding? They are a lot of work and described by many great photographers as “portraiture on the run.”

In my private collection, are images of a wee Nicole being held in the arms of her grandfather, a teenager playing the flute, and a young lady playing rugby. I have watched my niece grow from a newborn to a capable young woman and registered nurse. 

Nicole got married.

Last week, November 20th, I watched as Nicole said “I do” and became Mrs. Forshaw. I had a very unique and special observation point of the day; the view of the photographer. 

Fifty years of photographing weddings gives me the experience to answer questions about which side the bride is supposed to be on, where should the corsage go, and how do you pin on the boutonnière. I chuckled a little when the maid of honor asked “how do you know this stuff?” I’m old!

As I said, I was a little nervous when I was asked to take the pictures. I have enough experience to know it’s too much for one person to do, so I called my friend Reid. Reid and I worked many weddings together back in the day. I’ll never forget the guest that came to me at a reception and said “I’ve never seen two people work together like the two of you. I want to book you for my daughter’s wedding next year. How much of a deposit do you want?” He was surprised when I told him he would have to send me an e-mail with the date so I could see if I was available first. I was, and Reid and I traveled to Niagara Falls the next year to photograph that wedding. 

Working with Reid again was a real joy. He calmed my nerves, kept me organized, and had us done ahead of schedule. 

Creating memories for people is special. Creating memories for the people you love is extra special.

Congratulations Nicole and Dakota!

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