Why I’m a Wedding Photographer

When I first started Rebecca Marie Photography, nearly a decade ago, it was not because of a lifelong plan (after all I went from being a nerdy oboe performance major to getting a degree in graphic design). But as is true with so much in life, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back over the years, I've realized why there was such a strong pull towards portrait photography, and in turn being a wedding photographer.

And it's because of this gal right here.
Spoiler alert: While you might think I'm the one on the left, I'm actually the chubby-cheeked little one on the right. #twinning

Meet my sister, Michele. Today, September 26th would have been her 38th birthday and (if you noted the past tense) it is because of this incredible power of photography that I was able to learn who she was. Stories were shared when photo albums were pulled from a shelf and flipped through. I learned what a tendency toward the center of a stage she had and her less-than-desirable nickname for me (Booger). I was lucky enough to hold snapshots documenting in-home theatrical performances, a Wish Trip to Disneyworld and a hospital bed covered in stuffed animals. Thanks to photography, I put visuals to the stories I grew up hearing. When I would learn a new aspect about her personality from shared 1st or 2nd-grade teachers, I could imagine what being in a room together must have been like, because I'd already seen those emotions captured in a photo and saved forever.

My initial pull towards photography wasn't because of photos that captured my own memories but gave me access to someone else's memories. This is what I think of when I adamantly say, the photos we take together, while important to you right now, will be that much more important in the decades to come. This is what I mean when I say "I am a photographer because of people."

If you've followed RMP for even the shortest period of time, I'm sure at some point you've heard me talk or write about the importance of legacy. And while buzzwords like "authenticity" or "legacy" pop up on nearly every photographer's website out there, for me it is rooted in a family history much deeper than its recent popularity.

When I harp on the importance of printing your photos I'm not jumping on a trendy bandwagon because a phone fell in a puddle and reminded us all of how fickle technology is. Facebook wasn't around when my sister was hanging out with my older cousins and my grandpa (above), never created a Facebook account to save all of his ridiculous jokes or songs we sang driving through fields. While it may seem impossible to imagine, social media might not be around for our grandkids to receive a notification bubble in the morning reminding them of what fun memories happened this day last year or 5 years ago. Let alone, 29 years ago.

What we create together isn't important because of Instagram likes or magazine features. In some ways, while of course, the photos are going to be important to you and your new spouse, these photos are going to be even more important to the people who won't have your memories. This is important because - when actually printed and held in your hand  - these photos will outlive us all. Your niece will be able to sit on the couch and flip through your wedding album, learning about the stories that came before her time.

It's because of future generations that I'm a wedding photographer today.

6 Comments

  1. Kathryn Allen

    Rebecca – this is so beautiful! I feel the same way about hold-in-your-hand photos. Right now we are going through many family photos from generations past, and delighting in the stories they have to tell. And also realizing how they spark curiosity to learn more about them – their lives, their families, their travels. You have expressed the wonders of pictures so powerfully! Thank you. And thank you for being you. I feel so lucky to know you – and your mom and dad.
    You all are just the best!

    Reply
    • rmpupdate2018

      Thank you so much Kathryn!! Couldn’t agree more about that spark of curiosity as well!

      Reply
  2. Ioana Qureshi

    This is so beautiful and i feel the same way- which is Im always known as the “picture crazy” one in my group of friends and with my family.

    Reply
  3. Doug Davis

    Rebecca,
    This is awesome! I obviously have so many fond memories of you, your sister and of course, Mom & Dad!
    Michele was one of the most beautiful souls that I have ever had the privilege of knowing. The laughs your parents have afforded me over the years goes without saying! The dream that you and Kevin gave me of finally going to Italy can never be relived! It was a most awesome trip thanks to,you guys and the invitation.
    I have already talked about going back again!
    Love you, love your work!

    Reply
  4. MJ DeLille

    Could feel the love in your story! Tears of joy and a twing of sadness in the memories of your adorable sis. Your Mother would ride her bike to our home with Michele who in turn would recite “the Itsy Bitsy Spider” or another little song she had learned. Thank you for sharing your story!
    Love and Hugs, Aunt Mary Jo

    Reply
  5. Kay Ickes

    Love you AND your memories ! Make me smile and cry. I think the picture of you and Michele was taken at our place. Beautiful and sad ! Nothing can replace these moments in history. Love you and our family ! Aunt K and Uncle B.

    Reply

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