Bailey Roberts and I have been friends since high school, when we both had epic long hair and nerdiness abounded. We also ended up going to the same college, where our coolness continued… And where I witnessed her beautiful photography skills for the first time! Later, she photographed my wedding, and I’m not sure I’ve ever looked as amazing as I did in her pictures…
This is one of my favorite pictures from that day! Okay, okay. Without further ado, here is our Artist of the Month with her thoughts on beauty in chaos:
Weddings! I love weddings! Drinks all around! I think Captain Jack Sparrow said it best and speaks for all of us.
Who doesn’t love a wedding? Even more than I love attending weddings and celebrating the marriages of dear friends, I love photographing weddings.
For some of you, the thought of photographing a wedding is exciting and some of you are experiencing sudden uncontrollable eye twitching right now at the thought. For me? It’s both exciting and eye twitch inducing. I have ADHD, OCD, social anxiety and I’m a wedding photographer. How have I not combusted yet?
To be honest, I’m not sure. But what I do know is that what might otherwise be the perfect cocktail to leave me in a hyperventilating puddle in the corner is actually one way in which God is using my weakness for His glory, particularly when it comes to the loving, adrenaline filled chaos that surrounds someone’s wedding day.
People constantly say to me that they don’t know how I do it and that they wouldn’t be able to handle the stress and the pressure of photographing the most important day in someone’s life. I won’t deny that there is a great deal of pressure (I mean, it’s not life or death pressure, but still, it’s not as though I could recreate the day if I missed something) but to tell you the truth, I thrive on that stress. And here’s why.
There is beauty in chaos. When you are in the midst of it, you can’t see it, but when you’re removed from it, it’s as though time slows down and allows you to experience what others may miss. The bride may be focused on getting ready and putting on the gorgeous gown that she has been just dying to wear, so she may not notice the tears form in her mother’s eyes. The couple may be so excited to see each other at the end of the aisle that the rest of the world ceases to exists.
In those moments especially, I take it upon myself to photograph not just how the couple experienced their day, but also how those around them experienced it. In situations like those, having social anxiety gives me the ability to make myself nearly invisible and just watch the scene unfold. At the same time, my ADHD proves useful and my brain and eyes are playing visual ping pong, darting back and forth between the bride and groom, the guests, the details, the checklist in my head, the lens I need to use, the composition that I want to set up and whether I can do it all quietly without tripping over my own feet. It’s as though my own internal chaos calms the chaos around me and slows it down to show it for the beauty that it is.
How true is that of every day life too? Whether going through the best or worst times in your life, there is still beauty in the chaos. And that beauty comes from the outside perspective, the eternal perspective of our places in the world. You may not be able to see the beauty in the moment, but just the fact that God has a plan and sees everything at once gives such an immense, comforting beauty to the craziness of life. Beauty isn’t just in the moment. It’s in the story. It’s in the plan. It’s in all of the steps that God has ordained that lead us to where we are and to where He wants us to be. Stepping back from our current situation, whether good or bad, allows us to connect the dots and see the bigger picture that God has already composed. And what a beautiful picture it is. It’s a picture of our God waiting for his bride, the church, patiently waiting for us and simultaneously pursuing us in ways our greatest earthly love stories can just barely reflect.
Because I’m a visual person, I want to share some photos with you. I like to think of God waiting for us much like these eager and anxious grooms waited to see their brides for the first time on their wedding day.
The pure joy and euphoria on a wedding day may be some of the best ways through which we can glimpse the immensity of God’s love for us.
They say that if you want to see what a person truly values, look at what they photograph the most.
I value marriage, and I value love, but most importantly I value God’s desire for my life and my marriage and that it is all a reflection of Him.