Wednesday, January 14, 2009

The wedding photograph

When Gert and I married a couple of years ago, it was all very low key. We had no money and we didn't want a fuss.

I almost gave a boutique owner a heart attack when I confessed that, on the day before the marriage, I was looking for a wedding dress. I was very relaxed, she seemed shaken. She had nothing in stock in my price range and it was okay.

The night before the wedding, I was photographing a friend's reception here in Belgium. She had no idea I was marrying either and might have been a bit cross with me for doing the free gig for her.

One of things that always surprised me about Gert was that this suited-civil-servant guy would find a wandering photographer, an Istanbul-based English-teacher and New Zealander marriageable but he did.

Although I think I tested his resolve when I insisted on wearing my favourite shoes as my wedding slippers ...

This photograph is my favourite wedding photograph. For me, it captures so much.

The dress had travelled with me a while as well. When my first marriage ended, I experienced the humbling slide from middle-class into the category of government beneficiary. I was studying at university at the time and suddenly had to make do with a very small amount of income.

The dress was part of an incentive payment to welfare beneficiaries and was purchased with money given retrospectively, once it was known that I had gone out and found my own part-time job.

The clothing for interviews allowance.

It seemed appropriate to wear this dress from that past - from the months I spent on welfare, studying and working part-time, through into my 2 years in Istanbul, where I dragged it out for the marathon of parent-teacher interviews (I had 160 students) - appropriate to be wearing it as I stepped into this Belgian present.

It's still in my wardrobe. Gert's not sure about it but I call it my Pacific-Island-Princess dress. I love the flowers and anyone who knows me, knows I prefer the illusion of invisibility given to me by wearing mostly black however this dress is exempt.

The shoes passed away about a year later ... mostly because Gert pointed out that the staples holding them together shone quite obviously and I don't think the New Zealand shoe company, The Last Footwear Company ... is making this style anymore.

I now, mostly, put the cds and books back in the shelves in alphabetical order and I mostly use the shoe rack after removing my shoes. Gert doesn't do the dishes immediately after dinner anymore and we're still happy together.

Just so you know ... ;)

P.S: sorry, this isn't the anniversary, it was one of those whimsical posts that came about after showing Shannon this photograph last time she was over here.


paris parfait said...

Congrats to you both! Happy, happy anniversary (and will email you later today after I figure out some travel issues). xoxox

Simon said...

Lovely dress. Glad to hear you're still happy.

Kiwis in Eizer said...

Thanks for sharing Di - that was nice. Gosh has it been two years?

Shashikiran said...

And a very interesting story. Good wishes for happiness forever.

furiousBall said...

how is it that i can tell the two people in the shoes love each other?

Cherrye at My Bella Vita said...

At least you can still wear your wedding dress, right? That is more than most of us can say, although I'd be more like that poor dress store owner - FREAKED over last-minute shopping! ha

Di Mackey said...

Thanks Tara, but it's almost been two and a half years now ... I think. Gert's the official keeper of records, fortunately it was the day before Jessie's birthday, so I never actually forget the date :)

As for coming to stay, no worries, just when it fits xo

I think we are mostly, Simon. He still stands the wild stuff I bring home ... the television documentary crew, the wild ideas about art exhibitions, the public poetry readings. He's a brave man.

Indeed it has, Mr or Ms Eizer Kiwi.

Thank you Shashikiran. There always seem to be stories in my life but it's fun.

Well I guess the fact that the nice shiny black shoes person agreed to be photographed with the brown leather-sandalled person. It's a giveaway, Van ;)

Hi,My Bella Vita, and yes, I can still wear the dress, although only if I pre-warn the Belgian bloke ;)

The whole ceremony was slightly surreal, in Dutch you see ... although Gert's friend, our celebrant, was so lovely and read a beautiful poem in English out to us afterwards.

Peter said...

I really like the dress Di, especially since it evokes
so many memories.

Although I haven't been (legally) married even once, your post reminded me of "The Starter Wife", about an independent woman who successfully starts over again after a divorce.

Di Mackey said...

I'm not sure about the 'successful' part, though bedankt for the compliment Peter :) See you Friday xo

Manictastic said...

Di always looks fabulous, a bit like Sandra Bullock if I write that name correctly. Great post, Di, especially about the bit about compromising like leaving the dishes waiting for a wee bit :P I'll use that excuse now for sure :D But Di said,.... :P

Di Mackey said...

Oh Manic, the money is in the mail ;)

I'm okay with you using me as a quotable source on dishes and when they should be done.

I dream of a dishwasher ...

Jule's Short Story said...

Thank you for making my morning, a lovely post. I so love that photo and remember when you sent it out with the announcement. Very special.

Not sure if Last Footware is still about, I can check :)

RD said...

I absolutely love this picture and the story that goes with it! Very special. What a life you've lived!

Me and my camera said...

Beautiful story, wonderful photograph!

Di Mackey said...

Thanks RD. The strange thing is that it feels like it's been kind of ordinary mostly. I mean, I think these things happen but you're living in the moment and it's only when you look back and realise that the strange things kept happening and that you're towing a bit of a load as you go.

I do know, that had someone predicted my life a few years ago, I would have known that they were completely insane.

Thanks Me and My camera, I was glad I popped over and caught up on your latest work. Beautiful capture of the newspaper readers :)

Gary Rith Pottery Blog said...


Di Mackey said...

Are you teasing me, Mr Rith? :) A kiwi can rarely take a nice comment at face value ... we're raised tough, well actually, mocking and sarcasm are a huge part of the great kiwi experience.

Thanks Gary.