In 1980, I started photographing weddings. As a young photographer in Chicago, I had aspired to something more exciting like magazine work, photographing food on a plate or semi-trailers in muddy truck yards- and I did, but it really wasn't more exciting. I have shot images in nearly every kind of photographic category and as a result, I just kept getting better at observing this one ritual that nearly everyone plays some part in.

There is little else that comes close to the variety of human emotions that flows throughout this highly charged event. I have been both the fly on the wall and the choreographer, the little dictator and the counselor confidant. I've laughed at absurdities and cried with the group. The most valuable lessons I have learned from photographing weddings is the power of quiet observation coupled with the application of almost all photographic genres rolled into one single day.

I have spent much of this time striving to find something as consistently traditional yet always different; where tension, apprehension and edginess is downright happy about something; where silly seeming sentiments give way to inspiration, longing and meaningful promises; and so here I had remained for the beauty of the serendipitous moment.

Being a wedding photographer means being a jack-of-all trades. I cannot think of one type of photographic approach that doesn't wind its way into a wedding in some way or another. Perhaps underwater photography could be ruled out as unlikely to occur, but then again...

It's a great training ground for the novice photographer precisely for the lack of control over just about everything. You learn how to think on your feet amidst the technical mishaps and the personalities that one meets on every lovely weekend.

Wedding photography is really hard work and I've heard it compared to combat photography. I wouldn't disagree, however, a wedding is also hope on display.