Photographer James’ life all reflected in B.R. Gallery exhibit

The wedding is later, and it, no doubt, will play a powerful part in Amy James’ photographs.

Not the conventional wedding album kind. James doesn’t operate that way.

No, the wedding likely will be documented in her next exhibition, because anyone familiar with James’ work knows that her exhibits are autobiographical, with one show starting where the last one left off.

And this one ends with James’ wedding on this particular Saturday to the Rev. Jay Hogewood at Ingleside United Methodist Church.

The photos depicting this phase of her life won’t show up until James’ next exhibit at Baton Rouge Gallery. But her current show, “Milestone,” chronicles the happenings in her life up to this point.

On her wedding day, where she installs her show in the gallery.

Crazy, huh? Not really. Everything has meaning for James, including the fact that she’s installing an exhibit on her wedding day.

“We’re having the reception in this gallery,” she says. “So, his family will come here tonight and see my work, then my family will attend church services in the morning and hear Jay speak.”

It’s all about family, after all, especially James’ family of two sons combining with that of Hogewood and his daughter. James’ photographs have always chronicled life with her sons, but suddenly, there’s a daughter in the mix.

“It’s the first time I’ve had a daughter,” James says. “She’s 14, and we’ve really become a family. She’s going to be my maid of honor tonight.”

James’ show will run through Aug. 29. She has been a gallery artist member since 2003.

“There are so many things that have happened in the past year,” she says. “My family and I are dealing with my father’s declining health in Ruston, my youngest son left home for college, I lost two dogs to old age and I’m getting married for the first time in 25 years.”

James points to a photo of her fiance, sons, daughter-to-be and dogs. The three men stand in a lake holding the young woman overhead. James’ two dogs swim toward the camera either side.

“I love how the dogs serve as book ends for this photo,” she says.

She’s right. There’s something about the dogs’ presence that completes the photo, the family.

“This was our first vacation as a family,” she says.

She’s quiet for a moment. This is probably the happiest photo in a year that’s had its share of worries and sadness. But it’s called life, isn’t it?

And visitors to Baton Rouge Gallery have an opportunity to experiences these special moments while, perhaps, reflecting on their own.

At this point, though, there’s still so much left to do. James has yet to buy a wedding ring for her fiance, but not before making sure everything is as perfect as possible inside the gallery.

Because two families will come together as one here later.

Marking yet another milestone in James’ life.