The world is drowning in photographers. A medium that once evoked so much intrigue that onlookers could only explain the process by magic has become so commonplace that a camera rests in nearly every single back pocket.
It seems like everyone has a camera-wielding relative who knows just enough to be dangerous. As tempting as it may be to find a photographer that you can pay with Pokémon cards and McNuggets, just think for a moment about how significant your wedding day is going to be. The photos are the only things that will last after the decorations come down and the family goes back home. Tilted horizons, selective color and oversaturated prints just wont be cool in five years. Or ever.
Still, within the realm of competent photographers who have enough foresight to create images that you wont hate, there is plenty of room to wander. Artistic taste is a subjective thing and selecting a photographer is a personal process. Find someone who meshes with you aesthetically and socially. If you’re not comfortable with them on both levels it will show in the finished photos.
After all, according to the philosophy of local photographer Justin Hackworth, you’re not just making pictures, you’re making history. Hackworth is a nationally-acclaimed photographer who has received attention for his weddings and his “30 Strangers” project, in which he takes portraits of mothers and daughters, strangers to him, and tells their unique stories.
A certain natural elegance permeates all of Hackworth’s work. “I go into each wedding without any preconceived notions,” Hackworth said. “Nothing is staged. I steer clear from artifice and trickery because I don’t like stuff that’s fake. I trust that magic will happen and I know I’ll be there to catch it.”
If you can’t sense Hackworth’s deep sincerity through his imagery, although you certainly will, it is particularly evident through personal contact with him. Hackworth oozes with authenticity.
When asked what his ultimate goal as a wedding photographer is, he said with a smile, “I want the couple to cry… And I want the kids to fight over the prints.”
There are certainly a large handful of photographers in the Valley that deserve your attention—Hackworth being at the top of the ranks—so your decision is going to be difficult. But just like the process of finding your soon-to-be spouse, a photographer is out there. There are plenty of fish in the photographic sea. Just please don’t pick one that takes pictures on railroad tracks.
By Clark Goldsberry
Elisabeth Kate Studios
Joey M. Ferguson