I was one of the first people to hear Stacey was getting married. She is a friend from my past life as a musician and I played in a band around the same time as her and we just ended up in the same sort of circles in a small music scene. We’d fallen out of touch somewhat in the last 5 years but had spoken a little about some promo photos for her new project that she was trying to get going. And in the middle of this conversation out of the blue she said:
Since I spoke to you last, my partner and I have decided to get married! It’s still hush hush ‘cos the family is away at the moment but we are booking in a few things we really really want and your photos are one of them.
I had photographed Stacey’s old band a number of times and I always really enjoyed spending time with her, there is this really wonderful sense of peace and serenity about her so I was excited to see her again. Tim on the other hand, I met for the first time a few months later via Skype when both of us had slight hangovers – in hindsight, probably not the greatest way to meet. But it was inconsequential, I liked Tim from the first moment.
Tim and Stacey had planned a somewhat unconventional wedding – a ceremony in the chapel of Tim’s old school in Perth, a train trip with their wedding party and friends to Fremantle for a relaxed reception at the Little Creatures Brewery. But it was totally them, there was family, friends, music, food, drinks and lots of dancing. And along with the images I took for them, that was all they had ever asked for.
It’s so easy to forget how to live a happy life. We’re constantly bombarded telling us to consume, consume, consume and regardless of our technological advances, we end up working harder and longer, leaving us will less time to enjoy our existence as human beings. And I’m not immune to this, life can get away from you sometimes – we’re too afraid to truly live, too afraid to die. And I think we sometimes need something to help reset ourselves – something that makes us realise what we should be putting our time and energy into.
On the morning of his wedding, I arrived early at Chris’ parents’ home a little outside of Geelong, the nearest city to Melbourne. I was sitting in his kitchen chatting with his dad and the phone rang, it was Chris’ nonna’s nursing home. The voice at the other end said that his nonna was quite unwell and wasn’t going to be able to make the wedding. I could see Chris’ mum keeping it together while she spoke on the phone but the moment she got off the phone and explained to the rest of us, the tears welled up in her and Chris’ eyes. Chris gave his mum a reassuring hug and they all continued with what they needed to do.
It was a 40 minute drive to where Jody was and the whole time I couldn’t help but think of Chris’ nonna. Up until this point, her health had been quite good and it was a surprise that she had taken ill that morning. Coming from an Italian family, the matriarch of the family unexpectedly not being at a family event this significant hurts, even for an outsider like me.
As the day went along, Chris and Jody mentioned that they wanted to go and see nonna at her nursing home on their way to the reception. They spent a few minutes chatting with her before the pressure of the schedule took over and we had to depart. Chris kissed his nonna on the cheek and walked out of the room, secretly wiping the tears from his face. And I might be wrong but I got the sense that Chris would have swapped everything else just to be able to have his nonna there, smiling and celebrating with him and his new wife.
That my friends, is what I think is truly important in life.