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An Ode To The Elderly

As I have grown as a photographer and an artist over the past few years, I have found myself searching out the little moments that usually go unseen. The bride and groom are completely consumed in the whirlwind of what is their wedding… laughing with their friends, doing the Dougie with their dad, cutting their cake. Meanwhile, in the background, there are things happening. Things that I think are absolutely beautiful and worthy of being documented.

I find that some of the most interesting and captivating images are often of elderly people at weddings. Most of them are utterly unaware that I am taking their photo, so I get completely genuine moments. Their bodies seem to tell a story.

I find something captivating in the contrast.

The contrast of a young couple… beginning their journey… full of laughter and energy… not a worry on their minds. Coupled with someone that has seen it all. They look at the giddy couple longingly… remembering all those years ago when they held tight to their new spouse, yet at this wedding, many of them have no hand to hold… instead they cling to their grandson who is helping them walk to a seat nearer to the dance floor for a better view.

Their wrinkles are like rings in a tree trunk… each one representing another year under their belt and a head full of memories to take with them.

Of all the things that inspire me as a wedding photographer and make me smile or stop and ponder when I am culling through thousands of images from weddings, without a doubt, these images of heritage bear the most weight on me. I love the stories they tell and the beauty they bring to my wedding collections.

A few months ago, I shot a beautiful wedding. The bride and groom were glowing and energetic. I was really proud of the images that came from it. A few days after sending the photos to the couple, I received an email from the mother of the bride. Her words struck a deep chord with me and inspire me to continue searching out those unseen moments. Here’s what she had to say:

We are just in awe of some of the pictures and wondered just how you knew what we wanted to remember about this special occasion. Many photographers capture pictures but you captured memories… from the picture of my elderly mother looking out at the dancing from her seat inside to the look on her Dad’s face as he walked her down the aisle… you captured it all. Thanks so much! Wonderful, wonderful memories!

Take your time scrolling through these images and allow yourself to consider the stories that could be behind each of these beautiful people.

May your wedding be marked by heritage and emotion, and not merely a trendy detail or a catchy playlist to dance to.

July 13, 2012 - 9:34 am

Cat Neumayr - Speechless. Amazing post!

July 13, 2012 - 5:22 pm

Sarah Postma - I love old people! So precious. :) thanks for sharing!

July 13, 2012 - 6:52 pm

Ashley - Absolutely breath-taking Ryan. Amazing. I’m in tears over the beauty of your words and the story your pictures tell. You have amazing gift!

July 14, 2012 - 10:57 am

Anna - Thank you for valuing the elderly and displaying them as the treasures they are.

July 20, 2012 - 1:03 am

Katie - This definitely brought tears to my eyes. These photos are just so amazing; I can just feel the moments. Your words also spoke to me. My own grandmother is turning 100 soon, and some of my favorite pictures are of her. Anyway, another spectacular job. You really touch me.

October 21, 2012 - 11:48 pm

Melissa - Chills…. Gorgeous photos