I’ve worked as a photographer for over 10 years and at times, I’ve questioned the business I’ve gotten myself into. While I’ve always focused on trying to create genuine and meaningful stories, I’ve felt my work, my art, cheapened by the industry I’m in.
Too often wedding and family photography are connected to a useless and even harmful hunt for perfection. The industry in general profits from people chasing perfection, needing the perfect dress, decor, stationary… I sure do enjoy these things myself and put quite a lot of effort into our own wedding decor, just as I do in my home, wardrobe, social media… It’s one thing wanting to surround yourself with beautiful things, but when that becomes a cause for stress, perfection overall becomes the main goal, we’ve missed something. Something important.
With time I’ve realised the power I have with the stories I share, and how important I find it to show that my work is not about chasing perfection. When I join a family for a day I won’t frown upon dirty dishes and piles of toys left on the floor. On the contrary, if these signs of life have been cleaned out they will be dearly missed.
The same of course goes for wedding days. While I enjoy capturing photos of beautiful details around your home and the reception space, that doesn’t mean I will censure out the rest. On the contrary, a hallway filled with shoes of near and dear ones that have gathered to celebrate with you is a beautiful thing. Just as a dinner table with half drunk wine glasses and personal clutter gives a truer image of what your reception was actually like. That doesn’t mean the photo of the neatly set table before everyone sat down to eat isn’t necessary, I’m just saying they both are.
When going into more depth all of this becomes even more important. When only sharing the curated photos, filled with perfectly decorated spaces and kids standing neatly in line in their freshly ironed clothes, we tell the world what stories are acceptable. There is a thin line between telling what stories are acceptable and what people are.
In an already divided world it’s important we pay attention to what stories we share. Over the world, and closer than we would like to think, there are people that can’t live their lives without fear of losing it. This is a fact, whether we like to accept it or not. I need not give examples since the news from the last week are enough to prove this point.
While it’s far from enough, representation matters.
The stories we share matter, and that’s why I want to start something new.
I’m now writing to you who have felt like an outsider looking in when viewing wedding sites and photographer’s portfolios like mine. I want to do better and I want my photography to represent you too. If you would be interested in having me document your life and loved ones, but for some reasons have hesitated to get in touch, I hope you will do so now.
Professional photography is a luxury and I want to open it up to more people. I will open a file where I gather names on people who would be willing to share their unique situation, life, family, relationship, with me. When my work allows it, I will try to find time to meet up with you and tell your story. I will create these images for you and your wishes will be the focus of our session. To make my photography available to more people, I will offer these sessions at a discount, if necessary even for free, as I will take your own means in mind.
The difference between these “Extraordinary Ordinary”-sessions as I plan to call them, and a regular session, is that I do these in part pro-bono. I do them for you, for me, for us. I will fit them in if and when I have the time, so sending in and inquiry through the Extraordinary-Ordinary-form won’t guarantee a session. I will however save your name on file and maybe get back to you when my work takes me your way.
Starting a new project such as this feels a bit scary since I haven’t seen anything like it done before. In a way it’s like I’m merging my photography business with my art. I feel vulnerable trying something new but if I even got to tell one special story that would not have been out there otherwise, I’m overjoyed.
I have given this some thought and am excited to step outside my comfort zone. If you reading this come to think of something that I’ve missed, or that I could do better, please let me know. This is an attempt to give this work more meaning, to try to contribute to a world more accepting and loving towards people unlike ourselves. I have no idea how it will turn out, but I am ready to give it a go.
I won’t set down any rules or boxes for you to fit in, just say this: if you feel like you have a story that hasn’t been told or shown enough, I would be honoured to tell it through my photography. Don’t nominate other people, but let them know about this work of mine and let them sign up themselves if they’re interested.
If you want to add your name to my file for Extraordinary-Ordinary sessions, fill in the form below. You can write in English, på svenska ja suomeksi.