I am a wedding photographer.
My story doesn’t begin there though. My photography story begins in my apartment as a child living in the Castle Hill Housing project in the Bronx. A place where I noticed beautiful things and beautiful people as I heard others speak of the ugliness that they saw. I began to use the pencils that were given to me for school work to reproduce those beautiful things not realizing that this was a talent – simply doing what I did. As time moved forward I came to understand not everyone could do what I did and I derived joy not just from doing it but from the joy others had in seeing it. When it was time for high school I wanted to attend one of New York’s specialized high schools so I applied to and entered The High School of Art and Design. It was amazing. What I did was the norm. A preoccupation with the visual was not evidence of anything other than that you were an artist.
I loved it.
Then there was photography. Yes, photography. I didn’t like it. It wasn’t what I wanted to do. Give me a pen and ink or pencil and gum eraser…give me some charcoal. Just don’t give me a camera. And so I didn’t try.
Not one bit…
and it showed.
I doubt my teacher did this often but he suggested that if I never picked up a camera again…well you can guess where that story goes.
And so when I, many years later, pick up a camera and actually look through the viewfinder it amazes me how much there is a craft to the whole thing. It amazes me because what I come to realize is the difference between someone who takes photos and a photographer. I discover for myself the art in it.
And, I am thoroughly and utterly hooked.
Then one day I am allowed to take the pictures at a wedding. I showed up with a camera completely unprepared. I am armed with a T3i and its kit lens plus a 70-300mm lens (the one you think is really nice because it gets really close). I struggle in that church to get shots but I am lucky because as an artist I understand light and because of that background framing an image is not a foreign concept. When the pictures are ready the couple and others who see them are very happy and while the reaction is priceless – I am not happy. I know what can be done if I actually know what I am doing and so I begin to set myself about the business of learning.
I am still learning. I think that will always be the case. And that is what allows me to deliver my clients something special. I am growing (learning) driven by a desire to capture the beauty and emotion of your moments.
Gary Winfield is a New Haven, Connecticut area engagement and wedding photographer.