This is why I do what I do
My Mom hated having her photo taken. She had an awkward smile. She would look off in different directions. The more you tried to coax her to look natural the more she would do weird things with her face. I was completely perplexed as to why this was such an issue for her, but I accepted it. I occasionally got a candid here or there or just honored the fact that she felt uncomfortable and didn't take photos at all because I knew it stressed her out.
When I got married in 2008 we had a small wedding in Tennessee with just a few family members and friends. We planned a more casual reception back home in Maryland for the rest of the family a few months later. This meant hiring two photographers in two different locations. You would think this would be easy, as I'm a professional and have lots of contacts, plus I know what I'm looking for. It took forever to find someone (two someone's) who fit our budget and I liked their work.
I settled on Jason Putsche as our Baltimore photographer because when I looked at his work it looked exactly like mine. When we met for the first time we immediately hit it off and I knew he was the one. We actually started working together after that meeting and when I look at the images from the weddings we've shot together I can't tell the difference. We knew each other quite well by the time the reception rolled around and I was confident he would capture everything we wanted with little instruction from me.
I love the images he took. It is an exact portrayal of what happened that day. He captured amazing candid images of everyone. I look back at these photos and I smile because I feel like I'm there experiencing it all over again. I was sure he would get great photos of everyone but what surprised me were the photos of my Mom. She was smiling and in the moment. Unaware that he was photographing her. She was just being herself and enjoying the day. She was wearing her favorite dress and she looked relaxed and happy. This is how I remember her.
My Mom passed away in 2015 after two years of treatment for cancer. I was with her at every doctors appointment and every treatment. I somehow managed to run my business and take care of her at the same time. As soon as she got the terminal diagnosis I knew I would do whatever I could to help her in her final days, months, years. She was my best friend, my closest confidant, and I loved her more than words can express. She made all the decisions about her care with my support and died with dignity, living on her own until her final days. I can only hope we all have the same privilege.
When clients ask me why I photograph for a living, or I see them stressing over the details of planning, I want them to read this story and see why it's so important to have good photography at every stage of your life. I didn't know my Mom would be gone seven years after our wedding. I wasn't thinking of the family members that would pass, I was thinking of my wedding day and how much fun we would have. But the reality is that these images are so much more precious now and I'm so appreciative that I chose someone who would focus on the joy and the laughter, not just the cake and the flowers.
Photographs courtesy of Jason Putsché Photography