Photographable Moments

Those fingers in the frame are why he’s the photographer

Being a photographers wife means you will spend most of the photographable moments alone.

Or not alone, perhaps. Maybe just standing next to a person who is seeing that moment through a lens. Focused on focusing, rather than experiencing the moment with you. Maybe chasing after him while he chases pictures of this couple or that group of selfie-taking tourists, watching whatever happens without comment in case talking about it causes him to miss the shot.

Visiting a thousand year old Hindu temple? Prepare to give yourself a tour while he captures the moment the light hits the spires just so. Found yourself on a tropical beach at the edge of the world, watching the most incredible sunset you’ve ever seen? Have fun drawing pictures in the sand while he tries to get the perfect shot of pony carts gliding through the surf for the next hour. Impromptu Indonesian Independence parade has just erupted on the crowded market street you were strolling down? Sorry kid, you’re on your own for that one too.

And sometimes you resent it. And sometimes he feels guilty that he’s so distracted. Again. And you’re on your own. Again. And that guilt means he’ll probably have a bad day shooting as he gets stuck in a brain loop between putting down the camera and trying just one more time to get the picture he’s after.

Little known fact about photography: you have to have really good knees

But here’s the thing. This is why you love him. Not the being on your own part — admittedly, that does suck, and if there was a way to split him in two for those moments, you’d probably sign up immediately — but the creative part. The part that processes the world in visual ways, and gets so caught up in capturing a moment he sometimes forgets the rest of the world exists until he lifts his head for a second to smile — a mix of contrition, gratitude, and relief that you’re still waiting while he does his creative thing — and says, “hi. Sorry. Having a hard time with this one” before he squints again and his face disappears once more behind the camera. The part that looks down a street and sees light, and life, and exquisite moments where other people just see hassle and hardship and the stuff you have to walk past on your way to where you’re really going.

And after awhile, you start to see it too. And even the most ordinary moments will be photographable whether there’s a camera or not. Even when you’re just sitting on the porch together at 4AM watching the rain glitter through the street lights because neither of you could sleep. And for that, you’re the one who’s grateful.