I have this slightly kooky belief that we’re not entirely in control of our identities, which definitely goes against a rather American belief that we’re fully capable of being exactly what we want to be. When we send seniors off to college, we tell them that it’s a fresh start and that they can remake themselves to be their ideal self. We cling to the idea that we are fully autonomous and if we wanted to be a hardworking achiever who is selfless and true to our values, that we can be exactly that.
And yes, to an extent, if I want the above description to apply to myself, I can work on producing good work and volunteering for causes I believe in. But, here’s the thing– perception, no matter how much we can try to write it off, matters. And although many people may think I’m a hard worker and am nice and kind, if there’s someone who reads my my conversations with them as being mean and see my volunteer work as sucking up to someone, well… I have no right in claiming that someone’s perceptions are wrong. They just are, and I think that’s important to understand. There is no right, or wrong, but only perceptions that we place more or less importance on in our lives.
So here’s the thing– we are many things to everyone in this world, and these perspectives differ in many ways, but partially in terms of depth. Someone passing by me on the street may only glance at me and think, “she’s a blonde, white girl.” The post office worker who I share small talk with knows a bit more about me, so he may have a slightly more detailed personal understanding of me; maybe he thinks I am witty, although flighty (I recently forgot my wallet at home on a trip to the post office, much to my chagrin). I’d argue that I’m not characteristically forgetful nor flighty, but since he only sees me a few times a week he has limited information from which he can create an understanding of me.
We can’t do anything about how other people understand us, but I believe we can choose who we spend most of our time with and whom crafts the most detailed perspectives of us. I’m a full believer in the cliche romantic phrase “I like who I am when I’m with you,” because the best people make you feel like your best qualities (or the qualities you wish others to perceive in you) are being noticed and understood. It’s a good feeling, right?
Here’s where I come in: as I am the one documenting your wedding day and documenting your relationship with the love of your life, your friends, and your family, it’s incredibly important that you like me and that you take a moment to get to know me and what I stand for. Although I try very hard to keep myself out of the photography process, it’s impossible– my perspective on you and your wedding day will inevitably be reflected in the photos I take. Simply put, it’s not enough to just like my style– I think it’s of utmost importance that you like who I am, or at the very least understand what makes me tick. It’s for this very reason that I really like to meet with prospective clients, to see if we’re a good match, and why I really like to do engagement sessions. I don’t want you to look at your wedding photos and think, “ah, my wedding photographer didn’t understand us or didn’t capture our wedding in the way we experienced it!” I want to make sure I perceive you well and portray everything that you love about yourself and your relationship in the most accurate way possible, so let’s meet up for coffee and shoot the breeze!
Also, take some time today to tell the people you love why you like them. Make them feel understood and secure in their life decisions. It’s always good to receive affirmation that your actions and your words are being noticed.
Because no post is complete without a photo, here’s a sunset I recently took in MDI, on my way home from a senior session. Lovely.