What Kristen Saw
The day after last month's Any Other Party, I was slumped in my window seat on a train speeding north, watching the terraces and fields rush past through the haze of a well-earned hangover, when Fin texted me to say that Edinburgh city centre was in turmoil. Streets were filled with shaven-headed fascist marchers and bespectacled anti-fascist protesters, the police a long yellow seam straining to keep the two apart. Ugly chants and crackling tension soiled the late summer air.
This would be distressing news on any Saturday in Edinburgh, but this was not just any Saturday. This was the day when my dear friend Kristen (who I've written about before) was second shooting her first ever wedding. In Edinburgh city centre. In fact, the wedding was being held in the exact. same. spot. where the demonstration was taking place.
But I should have known better than to worry. Not only was the bride an APW bride, and therefore more equipped than most to take a silly little fascist rally in her stride, but Kristen was assisting the supremely awesome Lauren McGlynn, who I am confident would take no shit whatsoever from those namby pamby SDL types. She might be a chilled-out American hippy but, believe me, those camera bags are heavy.
I have so loved watching Kristen's photography grow over the last year or so. I've always known she has an amazing eye - I've been admiring her artistic skills since she started doodling on her folder in Standard Grade Geography circa 1997 - but she really seems to have come into her own since she took up photography.
Kristen was the first of my friends to really share my enthusiasm for the blogosphere, and she began blogging her work around the same time as I began blogging whatever the hell it is I blog here. I've been lucky (and, erm, cheeky) enough to use lots of Kristen's work to bring light and colour to my own ramblings, for which I am forever grateful. So I was thrilled to be able to give a little something back by introducing her to Lauren. (Well, I say I introduced them - it was more like I wrote a blog post about the two of them and then I told Kristen that Lauren was really nice and she should totally just email her to ask her about wedding photography. Which kind of counts as an introduction in this internet world, no?)
Lauren, being the sweetheart that she is, immediately invited Kristen to join her as a second shooter on a forthcoming Edinburgh wedding and, well, I think the results speak for themselves. The full wedding isn't up on Lauren's gorgeous new site yet (have you seen it? It's sooooo pretty) but you can see some of Kristen's
shots from the wedding on her blog right now, and I could not be more proud of my friend. The fact that I played a very small part in bringing these two together is just the icing on the cake.
As a fairly competitive person (I may have once thrown a Scrabble board at Kristen's head) with creative pretensions of my own, it would be horribly easy to feel envious of Kristen and her talent. In fact, every time one of my friends gets an amazing new job, or goes off to live somewhere exotic, or buys a beautiful house, or loses half a stone, I could allow some small part of myself to feel that sting of jealousy, of bitterness, of why-not-me. God knows it wouldn't be the first time, or most likely the last. But I am becoming increasingly tired of the ways, big and small, in which women endlessly bring each other down and criticise each other, instead of celebrating each others' successes. Bitchiness, backstabbing, snide remarks, even just a raised eyebrow - I can't help wondering if we are not each others', and consequently our own, biggest enemies.
Easier said than done, perhaps. And I'm certainly far from perfect. But here are three things I do know for sure:
1. Life is not a competition.
2. Success is not a finite resource.
3. My friend Kristen takes seriously amazing photographs.
Congratulations, Kristen. You're a star.
P.S. Speaking of Any Other Party, did you read the write-up? So brilliant. I'm still laughing, particularly at this comment - clearly I should have set up some sort of appointment system, or maybe just asked people to take a number. It's so hard being popular. Sigh.