Last week a day or so after agreeing to take some photos for a friend who was asking a woman to marry him, you know secret-like, this article on “How Not to Propose” came out in Catapult Magazine. And rule number 8 specifically, states:
Do not have someone secretly filming or photographing the event.
First, this is creepy. Second, it’s sort of dishonest. She (or he) doesn’t know that someone is there, recording the images of her every emotion — surprise, happiness, excitement, anger at being spied on. It’s like the paparazzi.
Ah, well, knowing that a refusal was not likely in this case I did not call back and cancel, proceeded to rent the long lens (Oh, my I want one of these, but it costs the price of used car or a really nice camera), and proceeded with a tightly planned Saturday morning and afternoon. You see where this is going, don’t you?
Leaving Edwardsville, IL at 12:30pm for a secret photo shoot at the Missouri Botanical Gardens at 1:30pm does not leave a lot of margin for error, and for slow traffic due to construction. And even with a secretly-relayed-through-my-brother call pushing it back to 1:45, I was still huffing and puffing through the Gardens, lugging my equipment, with my only identity obscuring article of clothing being a floppy hat (yeah, that’s going to work). Looking out for the couple and spying them, I tried to race around them while she was looking the other way.
She: “Hey, isn’t that Adrian’s brother running over there.”
In the Japanese Garden (which is amazing always but especially just now), there is not a lot of cover, or, more accurately, not a lot of cover that you can legally, non-creepily occupy, especially without not rearranging the dry zen gardens. So, I sat on very exposed bank, under a small tree disguised by my floppy hat and waited for them to pass behind me.
Now it was time for the would be groom to face his planning issues. Upon arriving at the picturesque wooden bridge, he found a tidy little notice stating that it was closed for repairs. After laughing a while, he pushed on nonetheless, and I began shooting. And the very first shot was of the prospective bride looking right into my long lens. Cleverly, I deftly moved the lens away and pretended to take pictures of the pink bushes across the lake. I would have whistled nonchalantly and looked innocent too if they were any closer.
At any rate, there was conversation, the creaking down on one knee, the appearance of a ring, more conversation, the creaking back up, the wiping away of tears, a peck, and smiles, lots of smiles. Then, through the lens, I saw that I was being waved down to meet them.
So, if you want secrecy, I am evidently not your man, as a paparrazzo I will never be, except with friends who cannot but know I am there and put up with me. And do they ever
At any rate, despite the breaking of rule 8, the story does end well, as I was able to get some nice close-ups of the couple and the ring, and share in a special event.