On Being a Photographer - Part One

Last August, Popeye and I were invited to a wedding.

The bride-to-be had asked me to be their official photographer. After all, I had been their photographer whenever they wanted/needed pictures taken (free of charge, of course). A lot of pictures of their children and last but not least the pictures for their wedding announcement .

I was still feeling quite tired at the time because of the aftermath of the pulmonary embolism... And on second thoughts... She no longer was as sweet as she used to be and I simply did not feel up to being a slave (to my craft) from the wee hours in the morning while she’d be getting ready for her big day until very late at night... So I turned down this dubious honor.

She hired a photographer (a young man) to do the job. “This is so expensive, Olive! You wouldn’t believe it!” They are quite well-off so she did not manage to make me feel guilty...

At the wedding reception, we were seated with the bride’s mother and her partner plus the groom’s father and his new wife. (Meccano ® families which I usually like.)

We introduced ourselves since they were not overly friendly. We were brief but we never forget our manners!

After a while, the bride’s mother looked at me: “Oh, now I know who you are! You are the photographer who took pictures of my grandchildren and the pictures for the wedding announcement. You take good pictures. Why did you refuse to take the pictures of my daughter’s wedding?”

This was embarrassing, I have to admit. People were obviously getting a little bit worked up not to say inebriated.

I laughed. “I am not too much into wedding pictures.” (And my nose started to stretch... I was turning into Pinocchio. I have taken tons of wedding pictures and I love doing it... for real friends.)

“But you are taking pictures all the time, aren’t you?”

Well, actually I am. All-the-time. She was so right. Some people walk their dogs. I walk my cameras. All-the-time.

And occasionally I take a very good picture that will end up being exhibited in nice galleries and art fairs... Some even encounter a (very
bright) art collector and I have to let them go. This does not happen all the time, don’t worry.

This was definitely not something I wanted to tell the lady. So I mumbled: “Oui, oui” while I was fiercely kicking Popeye’s ankle so that he’d get the message to keep mum.

She took a deep breath. Honestly she did.

“Well, it is a nice hobby for a woman.”

I giggled. Nervously, very nervously.

“Well, this is not a hobby. You see, this is my job. I work full-time as a photographer. Except that I am not really into wedding pictures.”

She was staring at me. They all were staring at me while Popeye was fiercely kicking me under the table.

“Well, the way I see it, Madame Olive, this is not a real job. For me, it is a hobby, a nice hobby. For a woman. Period.”

The reception was nearly over. Time to go home, Popeye!

The most painful part being that at the time, I was going through some dry spell if I may say so. It happens from time to time. Sometimes you need to do some real soul-searching to make headway. Sometimes what you’d really like to be working on remains at the planning stage for the longest time, so it seems. And then one day, your finger releases the shutter and there you go... deep into the unknown. Pure bliss!

Meanwhile I keep walking my cameras... One never knows!

*Good Luck, and Good Night*