Preserving Memories: A Weighty Responsibility on Photographers

By now this wedding photo should look familiar to you. This wedding photo has been circulating the Internet and the media for about 8 weeks now. It has been featured not because of the gorgeous couple or the stunning location. It’s been circulated because the bride in the picture was diagnosed on New Year’s Day 2014 with terminal brain cancer. The bride had a name. Her name was Brittany Maynard, 29. Little did she know that a year after this photo was taken that her life would be in grave danger and that she would become a household name and the center of controversy.  Some feel as though she did fight for her life, some feel as if she fought harder for her death. No matter which side you find yourself on the fact is that this is a tragedy.

As a wedding photographer, I cannot help but feel the weight of this image. The truth is we don’t know what tomorrow holds.  Which makes our responsibility as photographers even greater. I’m glad that Brittany and her husband Dan volunteered to share their wedding photos for the world to see. It’s wonderful that she had the opportunity to experience her wedding day. It was the happiest day of her mortal existence. And if I was that photographer I would be honored to be the one to capture what we now know to be the pinnacle of her life. So this is a call to action and attitude adjustments my fellow colleagues. When the deadlines are looming and the editing seems tedious. When we’re attending workshops and frustrated with industry woes remember what we are really called to do.  Above all else we are called to preserve our clients’ memories and to also serve the ones who will cherish these beautiful images for generations to come. May we all approach our job with fervor and responsibility knowing that this may be the only memento that people will have to remember their loved ones by after they’re gone. Really and truly it’s up to us.

You can read Brittany’s story here 

Photo Credit: Arrowood Photography


Brittany Maynard

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