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The Photographer’s Wife

February 14, 2010

I don’t usually post on the weekend but since today is Valentine’s Day, and I’m lucky enough to have an amazing wife who understands and supports my all-consuming photography habit, I thought I’d gush a little about her.

My wife’s name is Melissa, but everyone calls her Mo.  We’ve been married for almost 5 years, together for 6.  She’s my best friend, my favorite adventure model and hands-down the best road tripping/hiking/camping/mountain biking/canyoneering/backpacking partner on the planet.  She understands my passion for photography.  She feeds it, she supports it and she’s my number one fan.  She also taught me one of the greatest lessons I’ve learned as a photographer.

Aspen Trunk & Leaves, RMNP

You see, there was a time when every trip I took, every trail I hiked, was with the intention of making images.  If the weather didn’t cooperate or the light wasn’t right I’d throw a little fit.  Some times the little fit turned into a big fit.  On one of our first outings together, in Rocky Mountain NP, we hiked all day, got lost, didn’t find the lake we were looking for and it started to rain.  Sunset was going to be a total non-event.  I was used to spending all my outdoor time alone and proceeded to throw a little fit.  Melissa is a strong woman.  That is, she doesn’t take any shit and she has no reservations about telling you exactly how she feels.  She put up with my temper tantrum for a few minutes before stopping in the middle of the trail under a misty sky to say these words, “You’re either going to learn to enjoy being outside with me regardless of whether you’re able to make any photos or this just isn’t going to work out.”  In that moment she put it all into perspective for me.  She literally turned my entire attitude around with that one statement.  It was an eye opener.  Really, is it that big of a deal if we go out to make a photograph and come home empty handed?  Nope, it isn’t.  I ended up making one of my all-time favorite images that day, not more than 30 minutes after her stern warning.  Had she not stated so succinctly what I should have already known, I would have walked right by this little scene with a scowl on my face and never even given it a second glance.  As you can see, this simple little lesson is reason enough for me to gush about how wonderful she is.

But it doesn’t end there.  When I suggest that I might need to buy a new piece of equipment, very rarely does she ever object.  And when she does, it’s only to make me stop and think about whether I really need a new this or that, or do I just want it.  When I come to the conclusion that it’s a want and not a need, more often than not she let’s me get it any way.  When I sell it on eBay a few months later because I barely used it, not once do I hear her say “I told you so!”

Melissa carries my business cards with her everywhere she goes and regularly runs out of them.  She tells everyone who will listen, and even some who don’t, about my photography.  When I’m slacking on a project she rides my back until I’m focused and on track.

The Photographer's Wife, In Action

She’ll make ridiculous leaps over and over again until I get just the right photo.  She automatically plans her outdoor wardrobe around what colors will contrast best with the environment we’ll be in.  She stays in camp to make dinner while I run out to shoot sunset.  When I’m too busy to gather gear and pack the car for a road trip, she just does it without me having to ask.

In short, she’s the most amazing woman I’ve met and I’m incredibly proud to call her my wife.  So today, Valentine’s Day, and every day before and after – I love you with all my heart, Mo.  Thank you for putting up with me, for supporting me, for loving me, for choosing to spend your life with me and for giving me the sweetest, cutest and most awesome little Adventure Baby a guy could ever ask for.  You truly are the love of my life.  Happy Valentines Day, sweety!

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 14, 2010 11:17 am

    Bret,
    I’ll definitely have to get Christina to read this when she wakes up. I love the fact that she is so involved. I always thought that was you in the jumping shot at Delictate Arch.

    From a business aspect and your wonderful description I would have to guess Melissa is Jamaican with all the different job titles she fits, advisor, marketing, adventurer etc.

  2. February 14, 2010 12:25 pm

    Nicely said, I have a wife like that too.

    http://www.akphotograph.com/Alaska%20Blog/?p=2125

  3. Kent Mearig permalink
    February 15, 2010 12:41 am

    Awesome!

  4. Sonia Driscoll permalink
    February 15, 2010 6:14 am

    I have felt this way about Mo for so many years. I am so glad that you have found each other. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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