The Life Formula

Photographers working for Life magazine in the early years--when the photo essay was a developing art form-- worked to capture a variety of images that would tell the story of the event they were covering. Those images fit together to give narrative structure and variety to their story. Included in their shot list were: 1) an introductory shot to set the scene; 2) a portrait to provide characterization; 3) an interaction shot to create drama; 4) a signature shot to capture the essence of the story (this would often serve as the opening or cover photo); 5) a detail shot to highlight a story-telling element that would otherwise go unnoticed; 6) and a clincher to bring the story to a close.

Because I spent so many years working as a photojournalist and teaching photojournalism, this method of story-telling with a camera is ingrained in my DNA. When I photograph a wedding, I am constantly thinking of how I can provide the narrative structure for a meaningful story about the particular event I am covering. Every wedding is different. The story that develops from each wedding is different. My goal is to create images that reflect that uniqueness.

Here's a photo of groom Mica Maddry from a wedding I photographed in November of 2007 that was created to move the photo story about the Maddry-Pease wedding along through characterization.

Mica Waits