About that whole photography thing...

I wrote in my last post how I enjoy taking pictures, but I don't feel that I'm especially good at it. Well, after posting, I decided that tonight was a good time to practice! I had done a beginner's boudoir shoot with Sam a few nights ago (and some of those turned out AMAZING! ...and others, not so much) and since then, I've been itching to try my hand at it again. Sam bought a flash and a new lens for the camera today, so I decided I would give it a go, and take a few engagement ring pictures.

When Mikey proposed, we snapped a few quick shots with a digital camera, all of which ended up looking something like this:

Which is sweet, because the moment wasn't about the ring as much as what it symbolizes.

When Sam did our first engagement shoot, she caught this shot, which I love:

...despite how dirty Mikey's fingernails are. What can I say, he's a hard working fella.

Before I got engaged, I would see pictures of rings taken in flower petals and in books, and I didn't quite get it. In fact, if I'm being honest with you (and myself), I found them kind of materialistic and show off-ish. Why a picture of the ring? Wasn't being engaged enough for these women? Did they just want to prove to everyone that their man could afford a certain diamond size?

I know, I was being mean. However, once I got engaged, my views on the whole thing changed. Not just because I had a ring (even though now I understand that while it is a symbol for something much greater, the ring is a symbol, and it's very nice to take the time to appreciate that symbol, what it embodies and stands for) but because of the story behind the ring.

Mikey didn't actually buy me a ring. He got it polished, and fixed a few weak prongs, but besides that, it wasn't a purchase. Most men save up (well, they're "supposed" to, by societal standards) 3 months salary to pay for this thing, and Mikey got away with paying absolutely nothing. How did he do it?

The ring used to belong to Mikey's mom.

Mikey's mother, Carol, passed away from a blood virus she got during chemotherapy for lung cancer. I regrettably never got to meet Mikey's mom, but I do feel a sort of connection towards her. From the stories I've heard his family exchange over drinks, she was an eccentric hobbyist, some of the most eclectic ranging from collecting costume jewelery, to paint-by-numbers, to an avid e-bay tycoon. She had a penchant for anything gold, and for our halloween party a few weeks ago, 3 out of the 6 spray paint cans were left over from Carol. She used to be an aide a bus for autistic kids (I'm currently a therapist for kids with autism), and had a very deep love for her children. Mikey was the baby of the family, and he was still in high school when she passed away. He got to spend a lot of time with her in her last few years, and all of Mikey's siblings agree that he was her favorite, her baby. I think that's what we have the most in common- our love for Mikey.

When Mikey wanted to propose, he asked every member in his family if it would be alright if he used the ring to propose to me. It was the ring that Mikey's dad had used to propose to his mom. Later on, when his parents were more financially stable, Mikey's dad bought his mom another ring, and the one I'm wearing now became a keepsake. The fact that his family agreed to let him use the ring to propose to me means so much more than if he had gone out and bought a ring. Knowing the ring that he gave to me once belonged to his mom makes me feel more connected to his family, and lets me have an actual connection with his mom, the woman who raised the man I love.

So, the idea of taking pictures of this ring didn't seem quite so silly anymore. The first two pictures I took are to represent Carol and me. Carol's is the first picture, the sepia toned one. It reminded me of the old photographs I've seen of her. Slightly faded, maybe a bit curled on the edges, but still beautiful. The black and white one is to represent how I wear the ring today. It may be a different time, but it's the same ring, the same idea of marriage behind it, and the same ring that's been worn by two women who've loved Mikey with all of their hearts.

The picture for Carol...

And the picture for me.

The rest of the pictures, however, aren't so sentimental. They're fun, they have pumpkins and chess pieces, and they were an exercise in patience and manual focus. And althought they're not as meaningful as the first two, I think understand about the ring pictures a little more. These pictures are there to show that the ring is timeless, everlasting, and that there is beauty in such a commitment as marriage.

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