I think too often the groom does not get the recognition due at a wedding. To be fair, it is no one's fault - in fact, I am more likely to encounter the groom who really does not want to spend time with picture taking and is content to let the bride take center stage.
But recently I photographed Hannah and Jason's wedding, and Hannah was insistent that she wanted Jason and his guys to be get some special treatment. It was arranged that I would meet up with them at the Peter Kern Library bar in downtown Knoxville, what is considered the town's "speakeasy" at the Oliver Hotel. A good location: dark woods, masculine feel, it is perfect for Jason and his groomsmen.
The bar is not large; in fact, it is pretty small. But people are kind - when two couples saw me photographing the guys at the front of the bar, they immediately offered to move from the nook in the back to accommodate Jason. Because, after all, it was his wedding day.
Hannah wanted to show Jason that he IS her hero - and so arranged for the guys to sport super hero socks with Keds, both fun and comfortable.
But why stop at socks? Hannah told me, each of the men would be wearing a super hero t-shirt beneath their dress shirts. Could I take a picture of them revealing their hidden identities?
Now, I had seen this shot before. Usually, the guys are lined up, grinning and pulling aside their shirts. And it's fun, but . . . I think we could do better.
I hustled the guys from the bar to a nearby landmark, Graffiti Alley. It's a narrow alley behind some of the shops and restaurants in Knoxville's Market Square where local graffiti artists have been permitted to decorate the walls, Gritty, urban - and frankly, somewhat smelly due to the restaurant's trash bins - it was a good setting for what I wanted to do.
And what I wanted to do was this:
Sure, a shot like this takes a little extra effort by both me and the guys, but giving your photographer some leeway, even if you are in a time crunch, allows us - and you - to have some fun.
I remember an early mentor telling me, "women want to look good, men want to look cool." Sometimes, women worry too much about looking good and it can be hard to get them to relax in front of a camera. That is why I enjoy working with men - often, they are more relaxed and more open to some whack idea that might pop into my head.
Special thanks to the management at the Oliver Hotel for allowing the use of the Peter Kern Library bar.