Diary of a Marriage: My Husband, The Camera Man

The unspoken rule of marriage: Once you become her husband, you also become her personal photographer

A rare shot of the men behind all our photos.

It happens at every wedding/party/special occasion: A line of guys stand before us, armed with cameras, patiently snapping away as we smile, pose, and angle for positioning that makes us look skinny. But these snappers aren’t paparazzi, or even professional event photographers. They are our significant others and, right now, they hate us.

“One more,” someone inevitably says, running late to our spontaneous photo op. “Can you please just take one more with this camera?” There is a collective groan from our photographers, but someone always gamely steps up and takes the camera. And then we resume posing, arms draped around one another, as each husband/fiancé/boyfriend shoots away. They grumble as we race back to them to make sure we have at least one good one where all of us are smiling and looking at the camera. Even if we don’t have one good one, we don’t say anything. By this time, it’s too late: Our photographers have dispersed, some to the bathroom, some to the bar, some back to the table to eat the cake that we’ve left untouched. We’re too busy taking pictures of each other to eat.

At first, I thought it was only J. who despised these photo ops. Then I quickly realized that male hatred of photography is a universal thing. If we left it up them, our lives would go completely undocumented. There’d be no trail of snapshots to look back on, no scrapbooks or photo albums. I bet Flickr wouldn’t even exist.

“It’s just annoying,” J. said with a weary sigh when I pressed him to tell me how he honestly feels about being my designated cameraman at weddings. “Everybody poses and it’s like, seriously? This is not the Oscars. It’s pointless.”

Pointless? Those are our memories! Those are the very pictures our grandchildren will look back on one day. They’ll pore over them and marvel at what we wore and how young we looked. How could they be pointless?

He became thoughtful, and then he brought up the photos I snapped the time we met Eddie Vedder, and the close-up shots I got of Roger Federer at the US Open that one year. “Yeah,” he said, nodding his head. “Those are cool.”

Finally, he relented, in a statement that I’m sure would elicit a chorus of groans from camera-toting men all across the world: “I might hate the process—and in fact I do hate the process—but it’s nice to have them in the end.”

It was a small admission, but for women everywhere who have to deal with eye rolls and grunts of displeasure every time they so much as reach into their purse to grab the camera, it’s a monumental step. He didn’t hate all photos. There was hope for him yet.

Still, it’s tough to wrangle J. into an impromptu photo session, which I try to do at major holidays and anniversaries.He limits me to under five shots (which, when you’re dealing with a self-timer on a camera precariously balanced just-so on a stack of books, is really not that many), and he complains every time I nudge him to smile—“A real smile, come on!” He still joins the other men in their eye-rolling as my friends and I ask them to take just one more picture of us, and he balks when I ask him to hold the camera in his suit pocket. But in the end, we both get what we want: I get my shot, and he gets to complain about it, as real men do.

Is there something with your guy that you’re always insisting on, and he always gets annoyed about? Is he like J. with this picture business, or does he happily smile for the camera—or snap it whenever requested?


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