Seriously, even though I have been shooting weddings since 1972, have shot thousands of family portraits, headshots, and model portfolios, tonight, I came to the realization that I suck. It gets worse: Since I retired from running a photography business, I have been concentrating on Street Photography. Here’s what happened. I went for a walk, early this evening, with my wife. Normally, I carry a camera. It used to be a dSLR, but recently, it has been a micro 4/3s camera. As a minimum, I carry my iPhone 4s.
Tonight, I decided to not carry anything. My wife had her iPhone 5C, but she isn’t a photographer, doesn’t ever see anything worth capturing for posterity, doesn’t wear her glasses on a walk, so can’t tell if her smartphone camera is on photo or video. It’s OK to just go for a walk. One of my pet peeves is people who rush from Kodak moment to Kodak moment — seeing life through a camera, and never experiencing the moment. You see, I prefer to have a range of experiences, then capture a few of those moments. As I get older, my memory is getting worse, so I tend to take a lot more pictures than I did when I was younger and had a better memory. Also, digital is free. Film is expensive. Therefore, I can afford to capture more memories.
Back to my story. We were walking along the Huntington Beach pier, just before sunset. Suddenly, I see a guy fall to his knees, pull out a ring, and slide it on a girl’s finger. I have no camera. People are now applauding. Carmen, and her iPhone, is not within reach. I have no camera. How is this possible? I’m a photographer. A wedding photographer. A people watcher. A street photographer. Before my eyes, a man is taking the ultimate risk. He is on his knees, risking rejection while hoping for happiness. He is asking the girl of his dreams to spend the rest of her life with him. He is sliding a ring on her finger and I HAVE NO CAMERA!
All of you, I want you to close your eyes, imagine the tension on the man’s face, his hands shaking, the look of surprise, turning to excitement and happiness, on the girl’s face. The passersby stopping to applaud AND take pictures of the happy couple. I ask you to imagine this, because I had no camera!!! I suck as a photographer!