a cheap holiday in other people's oddity

by Heather Young

I once edited a wedding where the groom was so aggressive about shoving the first slice of the wedding cake in his new bride's face that she was picking crumbs out of her eyelids, leaving big black smears of make-up around her eyes. Either the bride found it genuinely amusing, or she was talented at hiding her emotions, but she seemed to take it with good humor. Hooray for the happy couple and all, but I have to say every time I see this kind of thing, it squicks me out. Personally, I find these kind of displays mean-spirited and disrespectful. After all, brides spend a ton of money and effort on their appearance on their wedding day, in all likelihood more than they'll ever spend on any other day of their lives. The cake-smearing ruins that carefully achieved effect, meaning that in every photo afterward she'll look worse. Considering that those hours will be the most photographed hours of her life, and the fact that those photos will last for generations, having your make-up ruined on your wedding day is a very bad thing.

These days, most of my time is spent editing weddings. And weddings... they're odd. Oftentimes it's adorable oddness (the groom with Darth Vader boutonniere, the bride pushing her groom on a swingset, the officiant reading from a math textbook during the ceremony). And sometimes it's a groom humiliating his bride with irrepressible glee in front of all of their friends and family by shoving a cake into her face like he's trying to suffocate her with frosting.

I will probably never meet any of these thousands of people whose faces I encounter in the images I edit and I don't see it as my business to pass judgment on anyone. My job is to edit to the photographer's specifications — and that's all. And yet the ugly-weird things I see, like the new bride Mrs. Cake-Face, do get under my skin. I guess it's funny to some kind of people, and it's not my business, so who cares? At the same time, I'm a thinking, feeling human being with emotions 'n' stuff, and maybe it's ok and normal that I can't turn my feelings off and be totally disengaged. It's one of the unexpected things about digital post-production — other people's weirdness gets shoved in your face, and all you can do is deal with it and move on. I suspect Mrs. Cake-Face is a wiser, more forgiving woman than I am. Still, I have to say — not having cake embedded in my eyeballs is a nice feeling.