January 14, 2009

Stars of the Show

Recently, I got my first taste of wedding stardom. It was a blast of reality on just how not “real” or comfortable that stardom can be.

That taste came one sleety, dark and gloomy day in late December, when MM and I had an engagement photo shoot here in Ottawa with the fantabulous team from Irina Photography.

And while the photos themselves don’t show it, the whole shoot was one of the stranger, more surreal experiences of my life.

It all sounded good in theory. Do a professional photojournalistic shoot of the two of us together just being us. The resulting photos would be reminders to one another of each other that woud would help to assuage the long loneliness of being separated from one another for six months by MM’s overseas military tour. Setting aside our self-acknowledged and often-demonstrated lack of ability to be photogenic, for one day we would be be the stars of the show, the focus of attention. We actually thought of it as a kind of practice for the Big Day, when all kinds of people would be watching with all kinds of recording devices.

Well, if that is practice, I cannot say I’m looking forward to that aspect of the reality of being the stars of our own wedding show. It is one thing to snap a few photos of yourselves while on vacation, or on a special event in your life. It is quite another to have two people following you around with cameras blazing on a cold nasty day, coaxing you to “act natural”. So you do your best to ignore the cameras, and you walk hand in hand, smile, kiss, whisper sweet nothings and cuddle up to your beloved on a park bench as if it were any other day.

But if it were any other day, you’d be at home together cuddled under a blanket on your comfy couch with a favourite DVD playing on the flatscreen. You would not be outside in the freezing rain of a December afternoon in your best coat and jeans, walking next to the frozen Rideau canal, with your hands freezing cold, your feet soaking wet, the wind whipping the hair in your face and your eyes tearing up so bad from said wind that you can barely see the man you love standing in front of you. You would not be sitting on a freezing cold and wet slab of concrete, wondering if you should have worn your waterproof ski coat and earmuffs instead of your new pretty photogenic coat and scarf, with a bare head and hands. On any ordinary day, MM would not set foot on my university campus, let alone trudge through mounds of melting snow and freezing ice to go into one of the buildings for ten minutes and pretend, with me, to admire the mosaic artwork of the walls that, normally, from him, would elicit only perplexed stares and slightly catty comments. You most definitely would not be out playing in one of the childrens’ playgrounds on base, calf-deep in wet snow, trying not to fall flat on your butt while you nevertheless frolic in the snow as requested and try to show to the world and the cameras how much you love each other while dreaming of your flannel pajamas, your warm duvet and a good strong hot coffee.

I can’t tell you the number of times MM remarked to me during our three and a half hour shoot “this is soooo frickin’ weird!”. I’d have to agree. While the end result was definitely worth it, and Irina and Mihkel showed that even MM and I can be photogenic if shot by the right people, I would not want to have to repeat that more than once in a lifetime.

But, luckily, with MM being the star of my life show, I don’t expect to ever have to repeat it again.

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