Five years ago today it was foggy and miserable. Five years ago today my motivation to go outside and photograph like I planned was out the window and 100 miles down the road. Five years ago today I was pushing myself out the door and begrudgingly starting up my car.
Five years ago today was one of the most memorable days of my photography career.
Five years ago today, September 11th 2009, I donned on some ratty sweat pants, fingerless gloves, an oversized hoodie, my torn up converse, grabbed my camera bag and headed out the door to do some scenic photography. I was a college student in Tennessee at this point in my life and begging to graduate and get on with my career as a photographer. I’m not sure why it had all hit me that morning, but I was rebelling against my own will.
As I approached the parking lot for the dam, I noticed several men walking around in tuxedos. I had assumed the dam would be vacant due to the weather and the early hour at which I arrived. Curious, I parked and poked my head around the corner. More men in tuxedos, a few well-dressed ladies and a younger boy running around with a point-and-shoot camera taking pictures of these people.
Piecing together the idea that this very well might be a wedding or some big to-do, I asked someone what was going on.
“My daughter is getting married today,” the Father of the Bride answered me.
I congratulated him and he started to chat a bit. His daughter, Ashley, and soon-to-be son-in-law, John, had been planning their wedding for next summer. Ashley, a school teacher, had to plan everything around her school schedule, but John, who was an enlisted Marine, found out Monday of that week he was being deployed early.
This was their last minute wedding.
I had a heavy tug on my heart and a pressure on my tongue to ask if they had a wedding photographer. After debating in my head for a little while, the urge grew stronger. Suddenly, before I even decided to ask, I heard myself saying, “do you have a photographer?”
One syllable and I knew I needed to do something. One syllable and I realized my purpose for going to the dam the day in the miserable gray weather at such an ungodly hour.
Now, every time I am burdened with stress, lose sight of my purpose of begin to lack motivation and think ‘I’ll just stay inside today,‘ I remember that foggy September morning. I remember the lack of motivation I felt and I think of the wedding photographs Ashley and John would not have received if I had stayed in bed. I remember that I have this day to live, these memories to make and there is no time like the present to live.