The Nature of the Job
Jack was in his car, almost at his destination, and he was muttering to himself: ‘So I wanted to become this great nature photographer, but I end up, weekend after weekend, if I’m lucky, being a wedding photographer. At least the site of this wedding could be a beautiful one, a park between a forest and a lake. If I’m lucky, I might be able to see and photograph a deer or some other animal that has natural beauty, not the manufactured looks of the members of your typical wedding party.’ He ended his thoughts with a wolf-like snarl.
Jack and Sherry the Wedding Planner
Jack got this particular job through Sherry, a wedding planner that he had worked with several times before. They got along fairly well, sharing stories of the craziness that they had encountered with the people that they were working for. She seemed to be quite happy that the wedding was taking place in the park, and commented about that when they saw each other an hour or so before the wedding took place. She had been thinking of specializing in ‘Planning Weddings in Nature’, and was thinking of asking Jack to share a wooded wedding picture with her that she could have reproduced on her website, or put on her business cards.
Rounding Up the Bridesmaids
As soon as Jack arrived, the bride walked up to him and asked him to “round up the four bridesmaids”. A variety of cowboy scenes danced in his mind, but he didn’t say what he was thinking, just “I’ll get right to it ma’am”. At least they would be easy to spot, he thought. He had seen one of them as he entered the park. No one else would be wearing what he would want to call, if asked, ‘a violent shade of pink’. The next two then were quite easy to find. They were standing by the table that was playing the part of a bar for the pre-wedding party. He asked where Emilee, the fourth member of their group might be found. He thought that she might have been ahead of the others in the drinking, and had headed for the ‘Ladies’ before she dampened her outfit. But one of them exclaimed that ‘she went over there’ and pointed to a path that led into the woods. Maybe the washroom was taken, and she couldn’t wait, was his first thought, but he didn’t mention that. He merely said ‘thanks, my dear.’
As Jack strode down the path, he saw that the scene around him got more and more wooded, more and more wild, what he thought might be a good place to see and photograph a few wild animals. He had his camera with him, so maybe he would be able to take a good ‘nature picture’ or two, before the otherwise unrewarding job he was going to be paid for started.
Then he heard a high-pitched and rather feeble cry for help. He looked around and saw some distinctively bright pink by a large tree, so he headed for Emilee. When she saw him, she looked up at and pointed to one of the biggest branches on the tree. His eyes followed the direction of her pointing, and was surprised by what he saw, but was also excited by it.
Then she spoke, breathlessly, “What is that? It looks like pure evil.” When he saw the animal that looked a bit like a big black cat, he recognized what it was from pictures he had found looking through nature books. He had never seen one in the flesh before. It was a fisher, a large species of weasel. And it was staring down at Emilee. He didn’t know whether or not fishers could see pink.
“Is that beast going to attack me?” Emilee asked. His sarcastic answer came out without more than a moment’s thought. “Not unless you look like a squirrel or a marten to him, and neither of them wear pink. It is a fisher.” She actually laughed in response, but it was probably a laugh of relief, rather than thinking he was clever with the jokes.
Then he got a photographic idea. “Emilee, point up at the fisher, and I will take a picture of the two of you.” She pointed and froze in what looked to him like a pose informed by ballet lessons she had taken as a child. She almost tipped over, but stayed unsteady on remarkably small feet. Jack moved quickly from place to place, taking pictures from several different artistically inspired angles.
Then the other ladies came into view, a pack of pink they were. He quickly exclaimed that there was no danger, as the animal in the tree only attacks squirrels and martens. Then he asked them to circle the tree and point at the black beast that hadn’t moved all this time. Some of the bridesmaids danced, and some posed provocatively, which he also caught with his camera. The drink must have aided them in their creativity.
Back to the Wedding
After he had taken around ten pictures, the bridesmaids and Jack then made their way back to the wedding that was shortly to begin. The story of their photographic adventure soon was told to all those attending. Sherry the wedding planner was particularly amused, and jokingly asked whether she could hire the fisher for future weddings
The rest of Jack’s wedding photography was rather mundane after the fisher photos. When it was all over, he asked for and received pleased permission from all of the bridesmaids to do what he wanted with the picture. These Jack sent, with short commentary, to a nature photography magazine in which he had long wanted to have pictures published. He did not have to wait very long before he received a positive reply from the publisher. The editor suggested that the photo article should be called ‘Beauties and the Beast’. Jack believed this was a far better choice than the one he had put forward. He had thought to call it ‘The Fisher Queens,’ an allusion to the 1991 movie “The Fisher King, starring Robin Williams, Jeff Bridges and Amanda Plummer, but realized now that such a title would be more than a little bit obscure a reference. Beauties and the Beast it would be.