It was The Day of Obama. October 2, 2009. Copenhagen, Denmark.
I did not get closer than his big black beasty car, but that is ok since I got a good shoot of both Michelle Obama, Oprah Winfrey, the Danish Queen and the Prince Consort Henry, the day before. I was on the way back to my car parked not far from the main entrance of Hotel D’Angleterre in the midst of Copenhagen, when this young voice spoke to me from quite close. I had not seen her before she spoke:
Are you a professional photographer? You look like a professional photographer with that camera. Have you anything that you need to do tomorrow?
I looked at her: I could say “yes” and I could say ”no” since I am not a professional photographer all of the time. Only when I get paid for it. So I went for the middle. Well, not exactly, but I can shoot some pretty good pictures from time to time. Why?
I am getting married tomorrow and I need a wedding photographer. Could that be you? I simply have forgotten all about having a photographer. I’ve been so busy. Then I saw you. If you don’t come we will have no photographer for our wedding.
The voice belonged to a beautiful black woman. Mid twenties, dark skin, black hair and a smile that did not seem to want to leave her face.
I looked at her. A bit puzzled. In Denmark it is not that common that strangers approach each other on the street, so how can I be sure that you aren’t just pulling my leg. Besides, I don’t shoot weddings. I never have, so I am afraid that you have to find another photographer.
But you are a professional. You look very professional to me. If you don’t come to my wedding we will have no photographer. She kept insisting. Have you anything else to do tomorrow that could prevent you from shooting my wedding?
I said that I didn’t. Because I didn’t.
It is at Gentofte Rådhus at 10.00 tomorrow morning and there will be a reception at Lighthouse Hotel (name changed) at 12.30. Have you got time to go there as well after the wedding ceremony? Maybe you could stay with us for a couple of hours. Please come and shoot my wedding. It is too late now to get another photographer. So you need to come. Can you promise that you will come?
I’ll think about it. I’ll give you a call.
Can I ask you what you charge?
Well, what I charge? I gave her a price by the hour.
You can call my husband if you don’t believe me. His name is Henrik.
Is he Danish then? Are you marrying a Dane?
Yes, he is. You can have his number and call him now.
No need for that.
I could give you an advance to make sure that you come tomorrow. Can I be sure that you will be there?
No, you can’t. Most likely I will not be there.
What could I say: What is your name then, and I need your phone number as well. I need to do some checking before I will say yes to this. Could you write if down for me? Have you got a piece of paper?
On a piece of paper she wrote Thandie, her last name and her phone number. And when the wedding was and where is was.
And what is your name? she asked. And do you have a phone number as well? Oh no, I thought. Let me check your story first, and I will call you. You don’t get my number. I will call you.
She went off in a taxi shortly after. I got a chance to look at her from I distance. She was a good looking girl and she wore good cloths and light blue rubber boots. I could see that.
And I was turning into a wedding pro. Maybe.
Later that night I told the story to Kirsten. She was greatly amused and she said of course I must go. It is very exciting to meet someone this way she said, but I insisted that I would not go. Of course she is not only pulling your leg. Why would she?
I am not a wedding photographer. I don’t want to have this responsibility, and I will not go. Have you any idea how difficult this is?
Of course I will not go even if Gentofte Rådhus is just up the street, and I know Lighthouse Hotel pretty well. However, can’t be that bad, can it? The places are certainly right. But I won’t go. These things just don’t happen. Not this way. And I will make a mess of everything. You need trained people to shoot weddings. Lamps, tripod and all.
I picked up the phone late that night. Hi Thandie it’s your photographer. I have decided to come to your wedding tomorrow, but you have to call me back and confirm that there is a wedding. I need you to call me tonight so I can prepare this a bit. I expect you to call me if you want me to come. Thanks.
Thandie did not return my call that evening. That was late The Day of Obama. October 2, this year. And besides I don’t do weddings.
(To be continued).