Why I don’t include albums

Fall autumn wedding corn stalks brown tux champagne gown

Ask me where my wedding photo album is, I dare ya. I’m ashamed to admit this but it’s the fact of reality: it’s in the original black box. On the bottom of my book shelf. Covered in a bowing stack of to-read books. Ask me the last time I leafed through the album…ummm…it’s sad that I have to sit here and really THINK about it…*sheepishly replies*…it’s been long over a year….probably safer to say 2, closer to the 3 year range. Scratch that, I think it’s been more like 4…

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Ask me where my favorite 16×20 mounted print from our wedding day is. In our living room on the same wall as the TV, in a beautiful marbled bronze frame that matches the tones of the fall foliage on that blue sky, white puffy cloud day. I look at that picture at LEAST once a day. Other days I gaze into those smiling faces and get transported back to that exact moment; with the splendor of autumn’s colorful canvas behind us, we snuck in one last photo request from my mom. We snuggled in close and had that newly wed glow on our smiling faces. Enjoying each other but eager to get the party started at the reception. We had just said “I do” a mere 35 minutes before this picture but it feels like that one image was where the most memories started. The middle of our story so we can decide to play it over from the beginning before that point or skip to the wild and crazy shenanigans that played out after the harvest moon shone bright.

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That’s the ONLY image I have from our wedding on our walls. I paid a pretty penny for it and was incredibly sad that after paying the photographer for his time, the album and also their videography fees (we received 3 DVDs…ask me how many times we’ve watched THAT! I can count on one hand with fingers to spare and we tied the knot in 2008!) I didn’t have more money left over to purchase additional prints so I could bask in their glory of one of the biggest milestones in our relationship. We got married 5 months after I graduated college, I didn’t find a job until a month after our wedding day. We finally moved into our house on New Years Eve that same year. Then the school loans started…money was tight. Very tight. No one tells you about the complete panic that is all consuming once you get your diploma in your hands…you think you are FREE !! finally! from your college days… Only to be reminded once a month how dearly you paid for that piece of paper. I get it.  It’s the scariest feeling in the world. And I’d be lying if I denied stating that PSU took my first born child and a nice big house. Yea, I have both now, but I had big aspirations and unfortunately, dispite patience being a virtue, I wanted it. All. NOW.

 wedding day 2
I would trade every penny we spent on the album that came in the photographer’s collection they had bundled with their hourly rate to have a canvas wall portrait collection. Or even three 16x20s on the wall. Add insult to injury…the paper prints in the album are a 4×5…try to frame those. They look silly in a frame. They look lovely in the album…that is white and ornate and beautiful…that I don’t want sticky toddler and elementary aged fingers to love and cherish. Which is why it’s hiding in a box where Lily and Malcolm can’t get to it. This was also prior to “DVD of images”. That infamous quote wasn’t even available. I can’t even print my own images. I can scan them…suuuure. And violate copyright laws and have a terrible quality print that’s so grainy you can’t even make out if that’s an eye ball or an ink splot on the paper. (NOTE: a photo scan will NOT print pretty. Ever. And don’t even try to enlarge it. Everyone is going to look at the photo and call their eye doctor immediately…)

I get more joy out of that one print than I do the entire collection of 300+ images I have from my wedding day. Albums are great. They tell your story start to finish. They remind you of tiny events that happened that you might have missed or just don’t recall. Albums have a place and purpose…YOU must decide if an album fits in your life. Is it something you are going to trip over and spend time dusting it off for the next 50+ years? (Maybe it just gets tossed in the tupperware tote with the rest of the wedding memories!) Or will the album be set out for display where guests can pluck it off the shelf and feel like they were right there in the audience watching your first kiss as Mr. & Mrs. unfold?
Oh…and apparently this “hiding the wedding album” phenomenon doesn’t just happen in rural PA…

“…I photographed this wedding in 2001, received a call from her last week and she said that her album was ruined because they had a backup in the sewer of the older home they just purchased. Their album was on the basement floor in a cardboard box and it sat in water for over a day…” – Debbie Kertz, Ehlmann Photography
I am sure they just soaked thousands of dollars worth of photographic memories in shit stew. Which begs the questions: Why was it in a cardboard box? And in the basement of all places?
Or perhaps the better question is:
Has the album served it’s purpose in your joy? …by merely the purchase of the album, that thrill of the buy. So…is that why it ended up in a cardboard box in the basement? Because it has fulfilled it’s purpose in your life?
My wedding video is in the protective case among the rest of our DVD collection. I watched it once or twice after receiving it in 2008 (the year we got married) and I don’t believe I have watched it since. My main motivation to have a videographer there was to be able to share my wedding day with my children and grandchildren. They can experience our wedding day as if they were there with us, smiling and crying as they’re overcome with emotion. My daughter is 6 and I haven’t sat down with her to watch it yet. For her 4th birthday, I did take my wedding gown out of the box and dress her up in it for some photographs. But I have high hopes that Lily will want to incorporate some of the items Scott & I included on our wedding day as part of her own wedding day celebration if she chooses to. My wedding day had a lot of unique elements that strayed from the traditional. All of it was tasteful and beautifully done. I want my children to see that straying from the norm is a wonderful thing and nothing to be ashamed of or feel guilty in throwing tradition out with the bathwater.
In hindsight, I REALLY wish I would have invested more money into large wall portraits and canvases instead of the album. I purchased one 16×20 print that hangs on our wall and I look at it everyday. It’s beautiful, stunning and radiates our love. The rest of our love from that day is hiding in a box collecting dust…
As a photographer, I have designed wedding collections to include large portraits. At one point I had a collection that was only a beautiful canvas wall gallery and included digital negatives. No one wanted it. I switched back to the albums I had in my collections before the change and quickly no one wanted those either.
“I am only looking for the digital negatives, I do not need anything else.”
How sad. Digital negatives are only as good as the computer equipment needed to read and extract the files; Photographic prints are forever. Same as canvas and albums. (Ya’ll remember those floppy disks??No? That’s because they are obsolete…)
I am very happy that I invested money in both a photographer and videographer. I want the generations of my family tree to see my wedding day, the love my husband and I share and family members they may have never known. So while I may not be fully enjoying them now, I know I am leaving a legacy for many more to enjoy as the future unfolds.

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