This is going to be a bit of a rant; I can't help it - I'm a bit of a ranter! What this rant is about is the attitude of Anglican vicars in general, to wedding photographers. You see, I did wedding photography for many years until I gave it up about five years ago. I knew it was time to give up, because when I asked the grandparents to come and join the family group, the grandmother tripped and fell, hitting her head on a gravestone! I had decided anyway, that this would be my final wedding, but that really put the cap on it! Fortunately, the dear old lady wasn't too badly shaken up, and was soon frollicking with everyone else in the general reverie. What has that got to do with vicars? - you may ask. Well actually, nothing at all except that the accident happened in an Anglican graveyard, so maybe the vicar did have something to do with it! Oh, I forgot to mention, I also reversed my car into a guest's car when I was trying to park in the obscenely cramped and poky church car park. That must have been the vicar's fault as well, I'm too perfect a driver. The ides of March (it wasn't March - but who cares) were definitely against me on that day. So was the loss of my no claims bonus!
Anyway, back to vicars. As a general rule I don't like them. As an even more general rule, when it comes to wedding photography I absolutely cannot stand them - they drive me mad!!! When it comes to wedding photography they lose all sense of proportion. If they were Christian before, they certainly ain't Christian when it comes to wedding photographers - oh yes, and sometimes videographers. You see, they just don't seem to understand that the bride and the groom are paying a large sum of their hard earned money to have their wedding photographed - ALL of their wedding photographed. Lets face it, if you don't photograph the actual ceremony, you haven't photographed the wedding - only the bits around the periphary! But vicars, just don't seem to get it! OK, I can understand being asked not to use flash - thats an obvious distraction - but no photographs at all - thats just plain barmy. Now, I am not saying that all vicars are like this. They fall along a sliding scale from fairly liberal to complete arseholes - and the scale in my experience is weighted heavily towards the latter. I had rows with two vicars who seemed to think that visibly doing your job and taking photographs during the service was committing the ultimate sin for which you would deservedly spend an eternity in hell. After all - how dare I even think of taking a photograph - the bride and groom didn't want it, no, they only sold their souls to the devil asking for it and saying its ok, the vicars all right and won't mind!! They just don't get it. You see, they get wedding photographers mixed up with the paparazzi - in their warped and blinkered minds, they ARE the paparazzi! One vicar told me he couldn't concentrate on the ceremony with the photographer taking photographs. Now, if that isn't pathetic, then I don't know what is. They spend years learning how to take services, preach sermons and EVEN take wedding ceremonies with crowds of people looking on - but when it comes to a man standing in the aisle with a camera on a tripod, not using a flash, and taking discreet shots at moments designed not to cause a distraction - they fall to bits and just can't handle it! One vicar told me that I was the most intrusive photographer he'd ever met. You see, I had dared to place myself in a good spot, not in anybodies way - but unfortunately not invisible as he would have liked me to have been. I had also dared to have the audacity to carry out the bride's request to photograph her walking up the aisle at the start of the service. The guy was a nutter! I noticed, at this particular wedding, that there was a lone video camera on a tripod up to one side of the alter, but no videographer behind it. Puzzled, I asked the videographer afterwards why this was the case, and was told the vicar would only allow the wedding to be videoed if the camera was operated by remote control. The idea of the guy actually standing with his camera was too much to bare! WHAT is WRONG with these people??? They don't come from this planet - they are all lizards in disguise! They are not Roman Catholics. What! - Did I say they are not Roman Catholics??? Dead right I did, and the reason is that I have photographed absolutely loads of Roman Catholic weddings and the priests were all wonderful and placed virtually no restrictions upon me whatsoever. Now, I am sure there is nothing in Roman Catholic doctrine which singles out wedding photographers as people to be nice to! But what is very noticeable, is that Roman Catholic priests seem to me to be much happier people with far fewer hang ups than Anglicans. Anglican vicars seem to be permanantly constipated, while Roman Catholic priests obviousely have good bowel movements! "Blessed are the unconstipated, for they shall inherit the respect of wedding photographers". Maybe thats a verse from the "Jerusalem Bible" (the extremely superior translation often used by Roman Catholics) - or maybe not! If I'm bound for hell for all the sinful shots I took as a wedding photographer, then its as sure as hell that I'll be meeting a lot of Anglican vicars when I get there. What I won't be doing, is taking their photograph!
Renée C. Byer on the Art of Photojournalism - All photos copyright of Renee C. Byer and The Sacramento Bee I wanted to share this interview with you. Award-winning American documentary photojournali...
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