I want you to be happy

I want you to have happy engagement photos.

But I have a Tyra Banks problem: I don’t want you to be a model.

Models are amazing, and they are paid to create an artistic vision. They are not paid to enjoy the experience. 

When we bring the aesthetics of modeling into mainstream photography (I’m looking at YOU instagram), aren’t we just saying to people that their experiences matter less than how good they looked in them? 

We have fetish-ized looking obliquely at the camera. Frowning ever so slightly in the distance. Being stone faced in front of shadowy buildings. 

What happened to real joy. Like, unabashed hilariously giddy happy joy? That is what I document. That is what I want you to feel. 

I don’t really want you to “smize”. I want you to laugh so hard that your eyes crinkle up and you pull your partner right next to your face and you smile together. 

I don’t want you to try and be a model. I want you to live this life and I want to document it.

And so all I’m going to say about these images of John and Taryn is this: They let me put them into a lilac bush in the setting sun and document their total utter happiness.