“There is no such thing as a weird human being, It’s just that some people require more understanding than others.”
— Tom Robbins
It was a beautiful day in the Boston Commons, lovely weather, a bit overcast, perfect for an outdoor ceremony.
The above image isn’t one you typically find in the collection of images from a wedding day. And, the shot didn’t just happen, the zombies weren’t just hanging around waiting for their 15 minutes.
After Stacey & George’s ceremony, we took some photos of their friends & fam, and then the skies started to darken. A few drops came down, so we all walked, rather quickly, to the waiting carriage just outside the Commons gates. As Stacey & George got in, the skies opened up & poured down. They wanted one quick ride alone around the park, so I waited, under a family members umbrella, for them to return.
As I stood there, a few interesting young kids walked by … I say ‘interesting’, because of how they looked. A bit goth, a bit tattered & torn, a bit, well, bloody. Then I saw a few more. And then I heard this sound, this uproar, of groans and screams and whoops, behind me. I looked, and it was a sight I had never experienced before:
A parade of zombies.
I was at once shocked & delighted! I became really excited when I saw Stacey & George’s carriage coming towards us all. At the point they pulled up to pick me up, the zombies had descended. They stood on the sidewalk taunting and begging for my couple’s brains. The rain was pouring down, but neither the zombies, nor myself, cared. (do zombies feel rain?)
I started shooting the zombies, their expressions, their toying with Stacey & George. But, I realized, as I was shooting, that anyone can take a shot of a bunch of zombies collected together, right? How would anyone know that this was part of a wedding? I needed to tie that in & fast. So I moved myself around the carriage, stood in the street. In Boston traffic. Being angrily passed by Boston drivers. Yes, I am happy to be alive & not a zombie 😉
As I was shooting, I knew I needed to make it about the zombies, yet have my couple be present and engaged. I quickly framed up the zombies with the natural shape of the carriage, keeping my couple on the side of the frame, looking towards the bloodied gang. I had focused a few shots on my couple, while leaving the undead a bit out of focus, but it just looked like a colorful sea of confusion. So I chose to keep my focus on the zombies, keeping my frame as clean as possible, so the viewers eye would be directed to the mass of mayhem, yet still feel the presence of Stacey & George, hopefully with a laughing expression on their faces.
Moments like this happen in an instant. You do not have time to stand there and think ‘hrm, how should I work this one?’. You can’t ask the zombies nor your couple to stop, wait a second, let me get a game plan. You need to be quick on your feet, fast in your thinking, and pay close attention to your gut. The whole time I was processing my thoughts, I was shooting, re-evaluating as I looked through my view finder, as well as my surroundings (that’s why I shoot with both eyes open, always!). Please notice I said ‘view finder’ in the preceding sentence, not the back of my camera. Big difference when you’re faced with mere seconds to shoot.
And no WAY Jose would I ever ever stage or re-stage something like this. Never, ever. No. Boo. Bad documentary karma to me if I tried! The beauty of this shot is my subjects were engaged with one another, not me. No one needs to know I am there with a camera, the viewer doesn’t need to be reminded of that. I’m a given.
This zombie love fest happened in the span of about 5 chaotic minutes. Had I stopped, hesitated, at all, I would have missed this. Had I not listened to my gut, saying to re-frame it to show the wedding, my couple, it would have been just a ho-hum shot that anyone with a camera trained on the crowd of zombies could have gotten.
Instead, it has depth, interest, it makes sense in the story of Stacey & George. Dare I say, it’s a photo with brains. hahahaha, get it, brains?! ‘Cause the zombies, they like, brains?? *ahem*
I’ll be posting more moments soon, with my thoughts behind the story of how they came to be. In the meantime, get out there and find a story. They are everywhere, they surround you. Go get out there, get in it and then share it with us!
Telling stories is the reason I pick up my camera, sharing stories is the reason I love photography.
Ciao + love,