Here's to old friends...
I don't exactly remember how old we were when we met, but I remember the day. I remember the instant conversation we launched into about what kind of music we liked, and although we were supposed to be bitter rivals, (*Nsync vs. Backstreet), we bonded over our mutual love of 90's boy bands. We spent the entire night in that garage at Brianhead blasting music from the car and dancing, comparing narratives of our lives lived thus far. It was an instant friendship, a friendship that at one point was as strong as the relationship between some sisters.
The next 4-5 years of our teenage years were similarly spent like that first night in the garage--dancing and laughing our way through life. We did EVERYTHING together. Anywhere I went, you went, and anywhere you went, I followed. Our friendship was a constant adventure of mostly high's and the occasional unfortunate low that only strengthened us. We carefully navigated high school, got each other through heartbreak, attended as many concerts as we possibly could, and blew WAY too much money on concert merch. All in all, our lives weren't all that bad! It was like that until the day I was forced to make the biggest decision I'd have to make to date--It was with that decision that our previously shared road to adulthood started to divide.
It was only a few days after making the initial decision to leave home that I was saying goodbye to the one person that meant the most to me at that time in my life. When your home life isn't the greatest, you make your friends your family, and you were the sister I needed during those difficult times. In fairy tales, a prince on a white horse always saves the girl—I just so happened to have a girl in a Honda Civic come whisk me away from home.
The night before I left, we spent the whole night driving around the Las Vegas Strip doing what we did best--listening to music, killing time, and just enjoying being silly and stupid together. The mood shifted dramatically though when you started heading back to my house to take me home for the last time. That 10 minute ride felt like forever as we rode together, both of us silently crying, afraid to look at each other. Though we vowed to stay close, I think deep down we both knew that things would never, ever be the same.
Where I went, you followed....
It was only one year of high school we had to get through until we could be reunited. In the fall of 2004 we were moving our things into our college dorm, happy to be together again, and excited to be roommates and sisters at the most exciting time of our lives! We were college freshmen--on our own, but together!
Like most 18 year olds with their newfound freedom and plethora of social circles and activities, we were finding out who we were and who we wanted to be. It was during that time that our differences were revealed, and we started growing in separate ways. At first it was gradual, but by the end of that first year of college, we were practically strangers, barely even speaking to each other. There have been many times where I've tried to pinpoint exactly what went wrong, but it's not exactly something I like to sit and think about as I was once again losing the most important person in my life.
What I do like to reflect on are my thoughts on love. It's my personal belief that when you love someone--truly love them for who they are, that love never goes away. That's why it baffles me when two people break up and put so much effort into painting the other person as some horrible monster, as if they never cared for them at all. How can that happen? Are they not the same person with the same core beliefs? Do all those previous happy moments shared together suddenly not count? Much to the dismay of people, you can't erase the past, and as hard as you try, how the past made you feel will always remain, if even just slightly. It's those beliefs about love that make me incredibly, sincerely happy for you, Jessica. I would never want anything but success, happiness and love for you-- for the woman you are today, for the person you were when we were 17, and for your future self.
If someone would have asked my 17 year old self whether I'd be standing next to you years down the road on your wedding day, I would have said "fuck yeah!" without a second thought-- It wouldn't have even been a question. 5 years ago, and even 5 months ago, I would have only thought I'd skim across an update on facebook. After how far we've ventured, I consider myself lucky to have had the opportunity to attend your wedding, in whatever fashion that may be. It means a lot to me that you asked me to photograph this moment in your life--that you would trust me with that task.
So, as I sit here writing this blog, I'm thinking about how funny life is. I was fortunate enough to still there next to you on your wedding day, I just happened to be a few feet down the aisle looking up at an old friend on one of the most pivotal moments of her life, smiling, seeing both the girl you used to be and the woman you are today.
It was my honor, and my pleasure to be there with you on this day in your life. I hope I captured your most cherished memories for you, and I hope you carry these memories with you for years to come.
THE WEDDING I ALMOST DIDN'T MAKE....
My life is fairly free from drama and chaos, I don't have many circumstances in my life that provoke stress, and I don't like to involve myself in anything that may cause me to lose control or my ability to rationalize. All of that was shattered to shit last Wednesday when I missed my flight to Mexico for Dan and Jessica’s wedding. It being my first destination wedding, I thought I planned it all. I carefully selected what gear I needed to take, made sure I had all the right documents, considered every possibility I might run into shooting a beach wedding, and refined my timeline and checklist with the kind of detail a CIA agent could appreciate. What I didn't plan for was the hour long TSA line (the longest line I’ve EVER seen at Reno Tahoe International), the trainee at the front desk who was less than speedy getting our bags checked or the 1,000 other 5 a.m. travelers (seriously, who fucking flies that early?!?). I didn't plan on sprinting to my gate, only to see my plane sitting there, door closed, (7 minutes ahead of scheduled take off) with an unsympathetic gate attendant whose only response was, "I'm sorry, there's nothing I can do." I didn't plan on my flight being the ONLY Southwest flight that could connect me to Mexico before my wedding the next day, and I definitely didn't plan on a DEFCON 5 level meltdown in the airport lounge that would make a 5 year old blush. Nope, that was definitely not part of the plan....
(image from Google)
Every thought possible entered my brain within the time frame of 3 minutes: How can I get on another flight? ARE there any other flights? How much money am I going to have to throw down? Will it get me there in time? Can I drive? Dear God, why me, why now? HOW CAN I FIX THIS?!?! It was without a doubt, the worst day of my life that I had experienced in more than 15 years, and every wedding photographers worst nightmare. My brain was pounding, my stomach clenched tight and my nerves kicked it. I truly thought I was going to miss the wedding, I was going to let my friend down and I was going to leave her stranded without a photographer on the most important day of her life.
Before my original flight had even entered the taxi lane, I had multiple browsers on my computer open and a Southwest agent on the phone. I sat there in the airport lounge, scouring all the possible flights that could get me to Mexico before 11 a.m. the next day, praying that I didn’t just miss the last one. There was one flight left--just one. One flight, and one seat left on that flight. Without batting an eye, I pulled out my wallet and started entering credit card information. It was a redeye flight that would get me to Cancun at 6 a.m. the next day—I’d shoot my first destination wedding with no sleep and no assistant, but damn it, I was going to get to Mexico if it killed me!
I’m not sure what I would have done if I hadn’t managed to make it to Mexico in time to shoot Dan and Jessica’s wedding. The thought alone gives me a sickening feeling. Weddings are a one-time deal, no do-overs. We are capturing the most important day of people’s lives and if we slip up, that moment is gone forever. Being reliable as a business owner is so incredibly important—it makes or breaks your name in the industry. If you can’t be counted on to deliver, then word spreads fast in a small community like Reno and you’ll find yourself clientless with no business. Rachel Rose Photography was the least of my worries as I sat there in the airport lounge, still trying to get over the shock of what just happened. I was thinking about Jessica and Dan and how they weren’t going to have pictures of their wedding day to show their children. I though of Jessica’s phone call she made to me 5 months ago and how stressed out she was in an effort to secure a photographer, and I thought of an old friend who has countlessly been there for me in times of need growing up who asked me to do ONE THING for her.
An overnight flight isn’t something I recommend to anyone who has to go work 10 hours the next day. Pumping your body with 6 shots of espresso and little food isn’t something I recommend either, but hey, it’s better than cocaine! (that’s a joke, people.) Getting to Mexico nearly did kill me (at least it felt like it the next day), but it didn’t. I still went and shot Dan and Jessica’s wedding with as much energy as I would have had on a full nights sleep (adrenaline anyone?) and their wedding photos even turned out to be some of my favorite I’ve ever shot. Let’s consider this a learning lesson. ;)