Sunday, October 17

Why I won’t be a wedding photographer again

I’ve never worn a suit. I haven’t even owned a pair of shoes. I have not dressed in a jacket either. However, in 2019 I went to about 30 weddings.

I am freelance, I pay my living (and the fee) with three tools: video, photography and writing. Two years ago I decided to do the wedding season, even if that was the antipode of what I look for when I click. A colleague – the best BBC photographer (weddings, baptisms and communions) that I know – offered me a job in his small company. The best thing about the job was going with a friend who enjoys his job. Sometimes I looked for motivation by believing myself a Truman Capote from the Madrid suburbs. I limited myself to listening and immersing myself in that heteronormative Spain that was exposed (drunk) before me.

The liturgy of the word

“Yes, I do,” replies the bride. The doors of the place where the wedding ceremony was taking place open and a dog of the Pitbull breed enters with two engagement rings decorating his necklace. That was one of the various frames that I filmed and photographed in order to go on vacation to Argentina.

From “tonight you wet” to “little money through the little hole”, the song with which friends coerce the guests to put bills in an empty bottle in exchange for a piece of the groom’s underwear while they walk him half-naked. Possibly the most violent for a person who works in weddings are the friends of the newlywed: passing by that table means exposing oneself to any ‘machirulo’ comment that marines their evening. To recall a single passage, I remember a group of men who came out of the bathroom after putting makeup on their nostrils. One threw me: “Since you record me now, I’m going to have to blow you up.” I didn’t even have the camera in shooting position. The photographer or wedding photographer has something of a punching bag, of a jester in which to deposit any message.

During the banquet, the most uncomfortable thing that can happen to you is that they place you at a table as if you were another guest at the wedding. “But that’s better, right? So you’re more attentive to picking up the best moments,” said some newlywed couple to persuade me. A table of people who know each other sitting with a stranger, a difficult situation, especially when people, for the most part, seek intoxication and one is there to work. Not to explain the reasons for vegetarianism between bleeding sirloins or dismembered piglets a la Segoviana.

As a person who does not eat meat, more than once I had to taste a children’s menu, some (delicious) green alternative or a tortilla skewer. It was not an inconvenience. He was not going to taste but to work. Neither to drink although many couples insisted (quite) on inviting the cameras to have a drink at the open bar.

Of course, thanks to a wedding (pre-covid) I shared a glass of Vega Sicilia wine between four colleagues. Only once did I park the camera and party. It was at a Civil Guards wedding. They were very attentive to us at that wedding, especially a man who dressed in white, like a sailor. After the banquet, the groom insisted a lot that we leave the camera and that we feel “like one more guest, I’m going to get angry if you leave without having a drink,” he stated. I stayed until it rang Pagan party and did some pogos with the marine. A couple of nudges here and there and I’m off.

The rite of marriage

Weddings in the middle of summer or in the (rather more) inexpensive fall. There are weddings that are held in the penthouses of the hotels in the city center and ceremonies that take place in the middle of the Cobo Calleja de Fuenlabrada polygon in which you have to avoid seeing the Chinese letters of wholesale stores. Ultra-Catholic ceremonies, evangelists (without alcohol or cheers) or those that are officiated by humorous friends. Weddings without a bridal dance or with choreography inspired by Game of Thrones. Honeymoons in the Fiji Islands or in the village.

After this experience in the trenches, I think that this type of social celebration has something in common with the holidays. In general, in both events, the people who organize them save for many months to live for a few hours something that, sometimes, can lead them to change social class. Middle-class people work to feel, for a day or several, as if they were a celebrity printed on the cover of the magazine. Hi there! – Subsection: I have worked in weddings where non-famous people have paid to appear on the web version of this type of media.

As for the people who have decided to marry and who have a notorious previous financial backing, I have not perceived that there is this search to change class – it is true that people with a lot of money do not hire the companies for which I have worked. -. Instead, the working class has been more paradoxical to me in terms of their metamorphosis for a day, “the happiest of their lives.” Mortgages for life. Friends who give a large-cylinder motorcycle to the friend who is getting married so that he can walk (and smoke), together with his wife, at the tables of the invited people. Even some couple who spent it all on the wedding event and couldn’t leave honeymoon.

€ 286.15

If you are a worker or self-employed worker, you will easily recognize the figure that this last block titles. Shortly after delivering this article, a colleague sent me the following WhatsApp message: “Do you rent to come to a wedding on Saturday?” I looked at the status of my bank account on the 30th of the month and after almost two years without doing a wedding I said yes, I do. Never say…

Saturday. 13 hours. “Love is choosing the same person every day of our lives,” the priest who officiated this ceremony has just assured. After an hour we leave the church and go to a park with the newlyweds to pose. While filming, the couple argue. “For me I would have come in T-shirts,” grumbled the husband. We keep walking. They do not kiss. My photographer partner asks for a little kiss: “Nose to nose”, he encourages. Zero passion. Between chambers we bet on the expiration date of this marriage. The photographer assures that two years, “they are young”. I bet one. We’re leaving the park. We return to the luxury car that they have rented for the event. The groom asks for a photograph of him alone with the car, never seen before. The bride says she does not want to photograph herself with the car.

This is one of many post-ceremonial scenes that makes you think how forced some of these rituals are. How determined some people are to follow the normative steps. You record audiovisual couples apparently very in love who embrace the legal process but, on many occasions, you question the act and the forms. Is it necessary so much deployment? Such expense and waste?

Don’t you rent more for every day of your life invest in other things? In couples’ health, in mental and marital health, before dedicating so much time to the selection of the playlist of the banquet or the sweets of the candy Pub. I bet the best investment for an “eternal” union of this nature – without going into the abolition of marriage – is to hire a specialist in emotional well-being rather than a mariachi band that comes in and sings – right now, while I finish this column in the first person – a topic titled Kill them: “Friend, what is wrong with you? You are crying / Surely it is because of women’s disdain / There is no more deadly blow for men / Than the crying and contempt of those beings.”

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