We took turns loading up his film and strolling the Think Tank around the bumpy grass. We watched from a distance, waiting for the obvious sound of the roll signaling a fresh batch was needed. We hustled, we took turns fetching water and we cooed "ooooh, that's sooooo his style!", from behind-the-scenes. As much as I love photographing weddings I find that when time permits, it's just as important to me to assist other photographers when I can. I try to never pass up the opportunity to help a fellow industry peer and moreso find it's in the in between moments where you yourself grow. As I inspected his wedding gear set-up: two medium format camera bodies, three lenses, a fun rolleicord camera, one video light, a tripod, a flash and a few extra film inserts, I gawked at the simplicity of it all. I'd go so far as to say I even felt a wave of panic rush over as if I was given these pieces and asked to shoot in a myriad of conditions for 8 hours. But watching him roam the reception lawn, conversing with guests about his cool old camera and getting in close to the action all while hardly being noticed I accepted the freedom in traveling lightly. To show up with what you need to get the job done, nothing more, and let creativity lead the way. Less swapping of lenses and frantic camera changes and more being in the present moment on a wedding day. Most of all, getting creative with what you've got! In the digital (well and film!) world it's easy to get caught up in having every.single.piece of new gear for every potential photo opt, but if you can get it done with one camera and one lens, why the hell not? Why in the world spend thousands on a 10 pound lens you only use for 3 minutes of the day, or have multiple flash accessories that restrict rather than excite you? (Yes, beautiful light can be EXCITING! ahaha). As as propped his camera onto the tripod for an "experimental long exposure" that I was 100% sure would turn out incredible, I left my job as an assistant feeling lighter. Freed up to the notion that you've got to have it all to be a professional, simply master what you've got. Ignore the 'standards', find your own way, try new things and make your own route. Sure, I like to come prepared (you never know when you'll need extra slippers or an umbrella!), but you don't need every lens, filter, flash, remote, lens hood and tripod stand to take beautiful photos that are completely you, it's just more to think about. Plus, he said his back hardly hurt at all! Say whatttttt? Never heard sucha thing.
The next weekend, forced to travel with a carryon (that still managed to weigh 40 lbs), I welcomed the idea and downsized my ginormous suitcase into a compact and efficient bag of tricks, picking up my toy Diana camera here and there, leaving the rest on O'ahu. And you know what? I didn't miss a single piece.