Black and White — A Personal Post

 

I had planned to post Ann & Michael’s Oregon wedding yesterday and write a little more about the bridal show today, but I didn’t get there. And this has been on my mind. So…

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I feel in love with photography when I shot black and white film. Of maybe, that’s not really the truth.

I’d always wanted to be an artist, to create things. Early on, someone told me I didn’t have the skills to be an artist, and I pushed that part of my dreams into a dark, dusty corner of my heart. Too many of us spend years of our lives thinking we’re not “good enough” to do something. To follow our dreams. In middle school, I discovered that I could take better than average photos, and no one told me I couldn’t be an artist.

At Gonzaga, I took a ceramics class. They have a different professor now, but my professor, he was amazing and terrifying at the same time. He was big and loud and honest. I sucked at ceramics. I made these ugly, lopsided pieces not even my mother loved. But I also made some fabulous pieces. Pieces that my professor told me to be proud of. And I was. I ended up taking two ceramics classes from Professor Gieber. I made a lot of ugly pieces. Those recently finally were donated to charity – enjoy those ugly coffee cups, Spokane! But there are a few pieces that are decent, and even fewer pieces that are amazing. Some are boxed up in our spare room. Some are displayed in my home. Some are displayed in my parent’s home.

I enjoyed my ceramics class. And it taught me that you have to do some crappy work before you can make beautiful work.

LGBT Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

My senior year at Gonzaga, I took a black and white film class. We shot on film cameras, and developed the film in our darkroom. We picked what to print and learned how to develop them. At the time, I’d been shooting freelance work digitally for the past three years. I had come to the conclusion that, once I graduated, I’d give up art and get an office job.

But watching my prints appear in front of me in the darkroom, that changed things. Watching a concept I created and shot come to life, that changed how I felt about photography.

I fell in love with photography because it gave me a way to be an artist, and to capture the world as I saw it. And then I shot photography. I was taking pictures all the time, those pictures slowly lost their value.

Hundreds of images. Thousands of images.

But then, there was that film class. Reminding me to have patience, to thing things through. To remind me that sometimes, what we think will look great really does look like crap.

Aunties Bookstore Spokane // Emily Wenzel Photography

Shooting film taught me to be patient again. To set the shot up, to think things through. Like my ceramics professor always reminded me: I needed to have an end goal before I started. I should let the situation speak to me, to form my ideas, but I needed to have a plan too.

Film made me realize that.

Shooting film made me fall back in love with photography.

So, earlier this year, when I was in a funk again, I turned to film.

I turned to film and I shot as much as I could. I traveled all over and I carried that 1980’s film camera in my bag.

Oregon Destination Wedding // Emily Wenzel Photography

I shot in color and I shot in black & white. And I felt that love for photography come back. Last weekend at the wedding show, I remembered why I love weddings so much. And it reminded me of that black & white film class.

Weddings aren’t about the fancy dresses, the beautiful flowers, or the amazing cake. No matter what the magazines and blogs say. Weddings are about the marriage. It’s about the joy and the wonder. It’s the happiness of marrying the person you want to spend the rest of your life with.

And I guess what I’m saying is, don’t let the details of wedding planning detract from that joy. Hold on to the pure wonder and happiness, because the details aren’t important.

 

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