Sunday, April 7, 2013

Wedding Bell Blues

Spring is here again, and as the grass turns green, photographer's thoughts turn to weddings.  On this spring day, however, I formally announce my retirement from the wedding game.  I enjoyed it so much that I photographed my own wedding, twice.  The first, shown above, and my real wedding below, which I photographed with a 4x5 view camera.  I don't really want to give it up, thus the title "Wedding Bell Blues", which for you youngsters out there, was a song popularized by the music group "The 5th  Dimension" in 1969. The song was written by the late great Laura Nyro, who is one of my all time favorite singer/songwriters.  Laura also wrote songs recorded by Blood, Sweat & Tears, 3 Dog Night, and many others.  I first heard her on a bootleg compilation album called "Heavy Sounds 1971". Included on that record were "Sweet Blindness" and "Time & Love", both Laura Nyro classics.

Her best work was characterized by more than a hint of elemental foreboding, so the use of her song title for my blog is appropriate, given the circumstances of my retirement.  Since my exit is not my preference, some explanation is due.  Years ago, when I was a teenager, I would regularly visit a photographer in Havre, MT by the name of Mr. Miller.  He had a first name, I'm sure, but I always called him Mr. Miller, and have since forgotten his first name.  Anyway, I was in his studio one day, and he announced to me that he was giving up weddings.  His reasoning was vague, but he pointed to a tall, thin man in a photograph.  He told me the man was sending him a clear message.  

Me Working

So his pointing out some guy in a photograph meant nothing to me, other than solidifying my suspicions about Mr. Miller.  But a year ago I began noticing a tall thin man in some of my wedding photographs.  Not the same wedding, mind you, but the same man in different weddings that I had photographed.  Never in the same type of clothing, he often blended into the crowd or background.  When I inquired who he was, no one knew him.  No one recognized him.  Furthermore, his facial features were unnaturally blurred, as if he wasn't entirely real.


And then, late last fall, I photographed Dillon, now a senior at Glacier High in Kalispell.  He introduced me to the concept of "Slender Man".  Research revealed that although the "Slenderman" name is a fairly recent internet phenomenon, the mythology of such a being goes back as far as the Babylonians and flourished in most cultures since that early time.

A Slender Man

I am not generally a superstitious man.  I am a God fearing, Christian man who does not submit to foolishness such as "Slenderman" and the like.  Still, I'm not stoopid.  When the signs are there, I heed.  The image above is from a wedding last fall.  The last wedding I photographed--the last I will ever photograph, unless the money is really really good.

So that's it for me.  I had a great time while it lasted, which was quite a while.  I don't know why I was targeted by "Slenderman."  My instincts tell me not to question.  My gut says, "keep moving, nothing to see here."  So I move on without weddings.  Below are some of my favorites:

Seattle, WA

Big Sandy, MT

Seattle, WA

Billings, MT

Big Sandy, MT

Pullman, WA

Virgelle, MT

Seattle, WA

Big Sky, MT

French Polynesia 

The brochure was better