I have always loved a good "work memoir." As much as I don't enjoy working jobs, I do enjoy learning about them, particularly ones I know I am never going to do. This was the case with Claire Lewis's new memoir Exposed: Confessions of a Wedding Photographer.
I know I'm never going to be a wedding photographer not only because I'm not a very good photographer, but also because I hate all things associated with weddings. I disliked every moment of planning mine (well, picking out the food was okay), even though we kept it as simple as possible, and to this day I rather wish we'd eloped. Live and learn. Lewis's memoir was pretty much what I expected it to be: the unreasonable demands of mothers-in-law; working with bridezillas; wedding day disasters (evidently it never, ever works for your wedding attendees to release butterflies that they sell in individual boxes, just for that purpose--where are the PETA people when that crap is going on?); and rare anecdotes of joyful couples who are just happy to be getting married and take everything in stride.
I also enjoyed the interactions between Lewis and her assistant, Sarah. During one of their meetings, Claire was complaining about one particularly picky bride who was emailing constantly with messages like "We are having a MAJOR PROBLEM.* We want to use an ivory tablecloth on our cake table...People are telling me the ivory doesn't photograph well?!! We're pretty upset about it because it took us a super long time to make our linen decisions and it wasn't easy..." To which her assistant advised her on the following course of action: "Just tell her that ivory won't work and will look terrible. Then she'll have to start the whole linen planning over again. She'll be in heaven. It'll give her and her fiance something to worry about. Happiest time of their lives. They'll never have so much in common again." (pp. 131-146.) Ha!
In between her work experiences, Lewis also relates the story of her own romance, marriage, and childbirth, although those chapters felt a little rushed and slight to me. No matter: this was still a light, fun read. And now I can officially add "wedding photographer" to the long list of jobs I never want to hold.
*I also got a chuckle out of this book because it never ceases to amazes me what people categorize as "problems."