We sat under the Art Gallery in Victoria’s inner harbour catching up. Chelsea asked me where I wanted to meet earlier that week, and I said anywhere by the water. It was so good to be back in Victoria, to sit outside and not think about work. I spent the summer photographing weddings, and my work camera was packed away in my new apartment on the west coast. I have a bit of break now to get settled here, to make the adjustment from Ontario to British Columbia. I moved finally, and permanently at least for the foreseeable future, at the beginning of October. If you’ve been following my work on Facebook or Instagram you know this year has been a back and forth transition for me.
During the transition I began to play with a little film, I took a class with the define school and with a few great mentors I was feeling more confident that ever before. My first roll was a disaster, my second a little better and so on. This shot has put 50,000 digital frames to dust in the running for my favourite photo this year. The camera I used was from 1992, it fits in my pocket, and is basically a glorified point and shoot with a few manual settings. In the attempt to shoot more of my own life I’ve been carrying it around almost everywhere.
So armed with the experience of a few rolls of film and the Nikon Ti 28 in my backpack, I sat by the docks in the Inner Harbour, Downtown Victoria just after 2:00pm on October 18th.
Coincidentally, just under the Robert Batemen gallery, only meters away, just after 2:00pm the man below proposed to a beautiful blonde in a blue dress.
I wasn’t asked to take pictures, and I wasn’t prepared, I wasn’t even sure it was a marriage proposal (though I could vaguely overhear their conversation) until he was on a single knee. Chelsea asked me if I had a camera on me, and I pulled the little Nikon out. By pure instinct and the subtlety a small camera affords, I inched my way closer taking four frames. The one below being the final, and the closest I’d allow myself to get.
This was the end of their embrace, she had said yes and cheers from the patio above them had erupted and congratulations were shout onto the dock by other strangers watching on. I hoped they hadn’t seen me, and I hoped even more the photos had turned out.
Today when I had them developed I relived his nerves, her surprise, and the sweet minutes afterwards. It’s why I love photography so much, and why I hope I can find these two so they can relive the moment as well for years to come.
Congratulations to the fancy couple from the docks on the 18th, if by the curious ways of the internet you end up reading this story of your own proposal please send me an email, I’ll make sure you get a few photographs.