When I mess up my body does some weird shit. Like when I know that I have made a mistake my heart beats hard one time and sends blood shooting into my limbs making weird things like my elbows and forearms hot. When I do some awesome stuff, my body also does some stuff. My bottom left ventricle beats irregularly so when I get excited my heart beat becomes irregular and I have to sit down like a puppy or a little old lady. None of this is really purposeful besides giving you a glimpse into what its like when I have my best and worst moments since being a photographer.
My worst moment was a close call. I haven’t really told anyone this ever, because I don’t want to seem like I don’t have my shit together. I mean I don’t but I can always pretend right? I was working with a couple that had come from COLORADO, as in the state that exists practically on the other side of the country. As in they wouldn’t be able to come back for this moment for like months, as in they totally would have been pissed if I screwed up. We were at the Nelson getting ready to start shooting, it was a lovely evening, a little warm, but not too bad. For those of you not from Kansas City the Nelson is our art gallery with beautifully kept grounds. The front of the Nelson over looks an immaculate space, with beautifully kept grace and a long tree lined cobble stone walk way that leads to other out door art installments. I was SO stoked, I knew the girl and her fiancé was pretty neat, and I eagerly had them sit down on the large stone stair case that descends from the front of the museum. I assembled my little camera, which at the time was a Nikon D3200 (which just goes to show that you can start literally from scratch). I clicked my 50mm into place with authority and stood up. I had them cuddle up to one another and snapped my first shot. I leaned back to look at the image and noticed something rather odd. There was an icon in the top right hand corner that I had never seen before. It looked like Sandscrit and the more I stared the more I realized that it was a memory card icon with a line through it. Yes. Yes I really did that. I drove 45 minutes from home without a memory card for my camera.
My heart squeezed out all the blood and I felt sweat forming at my hairline like an anxiety army, ready to signal to everyone that I had fucked up beyond all recognition. I then did something I can’t believe I thought was a good idea at the time. I smiled really big and adjusted their position, talking in a really high squawky tone like the ladies that sell you make up at department stores. It was like I wasn’t even in my body. I floated just a few feet above watching sweat from and wondering if this is how dead bodies look when hearts actually quit beating. I told myself, “alright, here is the plan. Go through the whole shoot, when they ask to see pictures, say its part of the creative process and no Peaksies. After its all said and done say you had a card failure and then change your name and move to Pennsylvania to work in a McDonald’s and hide your shame.” I wanted to cry. I told them I needed to adjust a setting and clean my lens and frantically began digging through my back pack. Yes, when I first started out I didn't use a camera bag, I had a big black bath towel that I wrapped my lenses in like a burrito, and then shoved in a North Face backpack because I am #stupid and #innovative. I searched for anything trying to hide the fact that one single tear fell from my face and onto my bath towel. Then I remembered. I had been editing photos that day at school, oh ya the back pack also doubled as a my school back pack, and I had forgotten to take it out. I am not religious but at that moment, I knew there was diving intervention, because my dumb ass had been saved. I held it up like I had found Jimmy Hoffa’s pinky toe bone, and then quickly had to pretend like I wasn’t looking for a memory card and that I had the pictures all along. To date this was my worst moment in photography, the one moment that made me question all the things and my purpose in life.
My best moment, is markedly different. I would have to say that its the photoshoot that changed the game for me. It gave birth to what I would call my style, even though I shot in JPEG and had no idea how to edit, I will STILL post the photos because it is that good to me. My RA from college was one of my biggest supporters, she liked EVERYTHING. I swear to what ever higher power exists, there is not a single person on swap shops looking for a photographer that doesn’t know my name thanks to her. She commented first, she liked all her favorite photos every time even if she didn’t know the people personally. I had begged her to work with me because her and her boyfriend are adorable, he had been a javelin thrower for my dad. The clouds literally party and a chorus of young catholic boys began singing the day she told me that she wanted to book a session with me. Very soon after that I got a message from her boyfriend. He did that annoying that girls do when we want to set our boyfriends on edge he asked, “Do you mind if I ask you for a favor on the day we have our shoot.” I ran through all the possibilities, make him look taller? Make the dogs look smaller? Fix a chipped front tooth in all the photos? Which I have done before I might add, and with skill. He instead asked, “Would it be alright if I proposed to her?” I died. My heart melted. I may have voided my bowls. I cried. I was so dramatic but I was so stoked. We hid everything from her for a few weeks, and the night before we faced timed him and used my dad and sister to act out how the whole thing would go in my back yard. It was going to be amazing. I just had to find a location.
On the way back from the gym one day I caught sight of something that was going to change the game. I pulled my car over on the road, walked over some ancient barbed wire to a property I had known to be very much abandoned. It used to be a glorious plantation style home, one of the originals in my area, but no one had lived in the house for hundreds of years, the tobacco barn was more of an idea of a barn than a real structure, and the land hadn’t been used for years. Since the land had not been touched for crops for quite some time, the entire valley was FULL of white while flowers. I had never seen anything like it. It was breath taking. I sent a video of the field to the Fiancé saying I had found the place he was going to start his life with his soon to be bride. The day of I was a wreck. I so nervous, as we headed to the field of flowers I screamed, just openly screamed, for no reason (scaring the hell out of my sister) just trying to get my nerves to subside. We climbed the hill and began walking through the plan as we had reversed on FaceTime. With his bride facing me, I began snapping pictures of him behind her on one knee in the field of flowers. She had no idea and the whole day was spectacular. This goes down as one of my best moments to date because conceptually, I will be a part of that big day for ever. The other part? Someone, for the first time in what seemed like decades, plowed that field of flowers the next day, leaving a plot of mud and grass. For that brief moment everything was perfect, just for that couple, and the pictures I took will preserve it that way for years to come, even if they plowed over all the flowers like douche bags.