I recently shot a wonderful 5-day Hindu wedding and when I got to the end of it I felt an immense sadness. This most definitely had to do with the fact that I push myself beyond what is normal when I shoot any wedding and had a bad case of adrenal burn out which is something I suffer from, but it also had to do with the realisation that it was the last wedding where my assistant Elizabeth would be working with me on a typical wedding shoot.
The assistant photographer relationship is a close one! I have probably spent more time with Liz than I have with my boyfriend. She knows everything about me and the girl still likes me!!!! That has to count for a lot!
Lizzy worked for me for over four years and she is without a doubt one of the most loyal, reliable, dedicated and emotionally intelligent beings I know! I don’t’ know anyone that can “can do” like Liz. This girl is not one to be upset by challenges, nope Lizzle thrives off them. She can whip a crazy, 13 strong bridal party into shape in two seconds flat and will think nothing of carrying a 3-meter ladder up a hill to get the shot. Liz has held an umbrella for me in the rain and snow and has also got sun burnt to a crisp in 40-degree heat whilst shooting. Liz has the loudest voice, which you can hear her 5 doors down when she gets going but this is only matched by her heart. She has been my support, voice, helper, friend and educator on how to decipher the latest cool youth lingo.
It wasn’t’ always like this though. She drove me batty in the first year and I am sure she was ready to quit on many occasion because she found me to be ghastly but we learnt to know each other and with that has come a deep love and understanding.
In the last four years Liz and I have been to Mauritius, Sweden and Namibia together. We have, travelled in boats, bakkies, taxis, golf carts, game 4×4’s and aeroplanes together. I was there when Liz saw her first Lion in the wild and ate her first artichoke! We have stayed in six star hotels and absolute dives. She has hated me with her eyes when I have said “ Just a few more dancing shots” after working for 15 hours but never said a thing when I have given her death eye when it really wasn’t her fault that the lighting wasn’t working. We have photographed weddings on beaches, game parks, farms, mountains, hotels, wine estates, tiny villages, big cities, islands and in the middle of effing nowhere. Lizzy knows what I like to eat and when I get my period! She was there when I met Riaan, she knows my family and has helped me move three times, she held fort when I went to Bali to eat, pray, love for 2 and a half months, she was there when I said I had found a house I might like to buy, she was there when I started and finished refurbing the Mouse House and she was there when I said I am going to finally start doing those workshops I have been talking about ……..
And let’s just call a spade a spade here ….. Lizzy literally helped me turn 40.
I have seen this wonderful soul grow from a 21 year old girl who was a bit like a bull in a china shop into a woman with a formidable force that I know will take her to places that I can only imagine. Of course her lighting, Photoshop, business, social and camera skills have all improved but the huge growth that I have seen in Lizzy goes way beyond ISO’s and apertures!
Liz is a special one and whilst I am super sad to see her go, I know for sure that she is going to do amazing things with her life. It’s like a happy break up. I am miserable but I am also aware that I can’t be selfish and keep this one forever. She needs to fly now.
I love you my Lizzy. You are special! Never ever forget that!