by Norman Phillips Published 01/08/2010
Having photographed well over 3,000 weddings in a 50-year career I decided my wedding photography was to end, though there were a few occasions that I relented either because they twisted my arm with money or because of a sentimental connection with the parents or because of a special relationship with one of my own family members.
But there are two families for whom I feel obligated to photograph their daughters' weddings. I would be most excited to photograph all of them because in some ways I feel part of the family and have been treated as such but mostly because I have watched them grow and mature.
One of these is the Rutledge family: four daughters (and one son, a monster football player and all-state wrestler) and when I suggested that by the time these young women get married I may no longer be capable, the mother said it would not be problem as they would wheel me down the aisle. I am still trying to picture that!
I have been photographing this family since the girls were babies and have watched them grow into delightful young women. All of them were into ballet and we created some striking images, unfortunately mostly on film, so there are no digital files available from the film era. The youngest is just 14, so I need to stay in shape for at least another 14 years. Two of my portraits of these girls earned me PPA merits. Just recently I photographed one of them for her high school senior portraits as she asked her mother, "Can we get Mr. Norman to do my senior pictures?" and it was quickly arranged.
Their home is almost a gallery of Norman Phillips' portraiture with framed images on every wall in their home. A series of images of these girls adorn the pages of my book, Professional Posing for Wedding and Portrait Photographers as well as one or two other of my nine books. To say that I feel close to the family is true, as I have met with mother for lunch a number of times so we could update each other on what is going on in our lives. It is a lifetime connection.
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