I am strange. After every wedding I shoot, I come home, download the images and worry they will all be out of focus–every single one of them. Strange, fearing an improbability, I know, but I worry about it, nevertheless. It’s an irrational fear, akin to a phobia, albeit a phobia lacking the characteristic aversion, since I do not go to great lengths to avoid photography, or even avoid downloading my photographs. I toyed with the thought that my fear was masochistic, but then, on examination, found that definition lacked many of the characteristics of masochism too. So I just called it strange. But enough of that.
My strangeness really manifests itself, however, in my taste in photographs. For me, all a photo needs in order to be good is that it evokes an emotional response. That’s it. If one of my photographs is able to convey a feeling, one in which I say to myself, “awwwwwwwww” as if I were looking at a basket full of newborn kittens, then it ranks as a good photo, regardless of the technical details good often connotes.
That is the joy of being an artist. Your entire life’s work dwells squarely in, what Benjamin Bloom et al. have styled as, the affective domain–the realm of feelings. Don’t misunderstand me: I do not subscribe to Bloom or his Taxonomy. I find his Taxonomy to be hogwash. Anyone, Bloom or et al, who relegates knowledge to the lowest rung of the cognitive domain (the realm of the mind) and purports to tell us that the real goal of education is the modification of the affective domain, is a peddler of buffoonery of the highest order. You will get no support from me, as worthless as my support is, if you assume to tell me that because knowledge is so simply taught and simply evaluated, that it is frequently emphasized all out of proportion to the development of the individual. That is sheer and utter malarkey. But again I say, enough of that.
As I was saying, before I was gripped by a tangent, the joy of being an artist is you get to work entirely in the affective domain where all your work is governed by feelings. If a teacher of mathematics were to tell you 2+2=6, that teacher would be wrong. There is one answer to that question, and an easily measurable one at that, though Bloom would urge you caution that you not emphasize that knowledge out of proportion, mind you. If that same teacher were to tell you they are not emphasizing the knowledge that 2+2 does not equal six 6, but the development of the student feelings about that knowledge, then you will have before you a staunch Taxonomist, firmly entrenched in the world of the unmeasurable–the affective domain. Who is it that can say your feelings about that equation are wrong, let alone measure them? The same can be said about my feelings toward my photography; I look at a photo and it either elicits the appropriate emotional response or not. If it does, I like it. If the emotional response is significant, then I like it more than some others. I think it is properly said that the real goal of art is not knowledge, but modification of the affective domain. If Bloom had been talking about art, and not something as important as education, I would be inclined to cut him a little slack. As it stands, no slack for you.
Instead of all the previous, I could have just said, beauty is in the eye of the beholder, but that statement does nothing to organize my thoughts, nor does it explain my greatest photography secrets.
I was recently asked, have I ever photographed Bridezilla, and my honest reply was, no, I have not, nor have I met any of Bridezilla’s distant relatives. That I have avoided Bridezilla and her kin is because of the way I advertise. I am very specific in that, and I run the risk of being called cold, or calculating, when I tell you how I advertise: I only post pictures on my blog that I feel have the best chance of eliciting the same emotions in my potential brides as they elicit in me. If I have a bride who likes the same things as I do, then I can safely assume that she has chosen as her groom a man who has similar feelings as she. Then, when the three of us get together for a wedding, I never have to worry that the bride, groom or I will be at odds.
In this way, I already know that I am going to attract a specific client before we ever meet. That’s why, I am certain, that I have managed to land amazing clients like Andrea and Jamie. I first met them for coffee months before their wedding, a coffee that for me, was just a way to confirm what I already suspected: they would be fun, and easy to photograph, as you will soon see.
But, before I get to the pictures, there is one more thing to explain: the first picture I have posted is my favourite from the day. Why? Well that is the joy of being an artist, I suppose: you can’t tell me that my feelings about my wedding photography are wrong.
You, however, may like which ever photograph you please; or, you may please to like none at all. This is, after all, the affective domain we are talking about here.