go big, or go home
Defined by the Urban Dictionary, as “an expression the speaker says to the listener to encourage the listener to be extravagant, to go all the way, and do whatever you are doing to its fullest [and] a phrase describing a champion’s lifestyle. A way of life. An attitude.”
Part of my photography, especially my self-portraits, has been about going big, because frankly, I’m not ready to go home. It’s not about getting attention, or getting a rise out of the viewer; it’s about doing it right, being true to my concept and not letting the fear that someone may not like it keep me from shooting it exactly the way I want.
I started my photo project: “Be the Bride: 2011” as a way of connecting with brides, to put myself in their shoes (even if just for an hour or two during the photo session) and especially to show them that there’s more than one way to get married. I want to encourage brides to have the wedding that they want, not the wedding that their mothers or family members or bridal magazines tell them they want.
My specialty is offbeat weddings. Like I’ve said before: McGyver weddings. Offbeat can range from everything to choosing to not be married in a church to being married on the plank dressed up as pirates. But all offbeat brides have one thing in common: they know what they want and they’re determined to make it happen. And pretty much 100% of the time that I’ve seen, they go big. Even if it’s small, they go big.
No vows? Not a problem. Female groomsmen? It’s pretty common. The family first-dance? Catherine & Tommy pulled that off beautifully.
Ladies! There are no rules when you’re getting married; just like there are no rules when you fall in love. This is a concept that is really hard for us to feel comfortable with, because our society is all about rules, expectations, “should’s” and “shouldn’ts”.
But as the year progresses and you see more of my “Be the Bride” self-portraits, you’ll hopefully see that no, dammit! You do not have to be photographed looking off into the sunset and if your groom doesn’t feel comfortable jumping with the bridal party then nobody should make him do it (especially me, because besides the whole “do your own thing” I’ve got a real bone to pick with the jumping shots and I simply refuse to shoot one). I know that Blaise thinks she’s going to get me to do one at her wedding next year. LOL. We’ll see.
So here it is: the first of my series in a bride’s shoes (not terribly comfy shoes, I might add). Now, something important about this shot, and why I chose it for the coming out piece: I saw something similar to this set-up a few months ago: a bride sitting on a toilet. I showed it to Mr. Susan and said, “this is a bad photo. Do you know why?” He didn’t. “Because,” I said, “this photographer has the beginning of a great concept, but he’s afraid to take it all the way and do it right. He’s afraid to go big. And to be successful with a concept like a bride on a toilet, you must go big. You must not care if someone will be offended, because honestly? If someone is offended by this photo, then that person is not somebody I would shoot. Not just because they don’t like this photo, but because they’re in a different zone than I am; they think differently than I do; they find humor in other places and those are so important to me in a connection to my clients (or potential clients).
I’m guessing a lot of people will love this photo. A lot of people will not love it; in fact, maybe hate it. That’s OK. It’s not a picture I took to please everyone; it’s a picture I took to please myself and to get a point across.
Do I look like I’m ready to go home?
No. Not by a long shot.