To "cull" a large number of photos is a term for when I'm playing that bizarre role at the pearly gates (for pictures).  It's when I tell each image whether it's going to live on forever or possibly be forgotten. A little strange, I know. But that's how much pressure I feel when I'm making those choices.  It's honestly much, much tougher to pick and choose photos than it is to edit them. 

Some photos make it easy, though. They stand out from the get-go. Those end up sealed in my mind, because I look them over so many times.  

But then there are those photos that I didn't really notice before, that is, until I get around to the slow-motion view that is known as editing.  You get to analyze each image and watch it come to life while you wave a magic wand over the distractions and highlight the most beautiful elements. That's when you get to soak it in, mull it over and then react.  

This image had that kind of narrative: It was simple... simple enough that it didn't catch my attention before.

I hope whatever she felt in that moment is something she feels every time she sees this photo.  That blissful, never-felt-before kind of joy.  If she ever doubts how loved and known she was that day, or if she ever needs to be reminded of how clear her "choosing" of him was, or if she ever wonders if she is beautiful... I hope she feels all of those things again just by pulling this photo out of a box or passing it on a wall. 

That intangible long-gone moment with dense feeling all around her and in her, that kind of joy is worth far more than a pretty smile.  I hope she has the strength in the future to see past every little flaw she can find to remember those dense, deep feelings of joy. 


p.s. I don't know the full story about the bracelet above (at the very top of the page), but I know she does. It mattered, and I'm so glad she told me it did.  The little that I do know: her soon-to-be husband lost his grandmother during the months leading up to the wedding and her husband (the groom's grandfather) in a very tender moment following her passing, loaned his wife's bracelet to the bride. It was an incredibly meaningful "something borrowed", from a long-standing, well-versed marriage to the beginnings of a life lived together.