London Wedding Planning : Sarah & Ben

I struck up a solid friendship with Ben during the late 90s when he studied computer animation at the National Centre for Computer Animation (recently fêted in a Guardian feature on the work of the Centre’s graduates on James Cameron’s Avatar). On graduating from the NCCA Ben went on to work for three years as a computer animation lecturer in the Design School at Temasek Polytechnic in Singapore (and put me in contact with School management there leading to my being contracted for a three year period as an external examiner on the work of their photography, animation, interactive media and videography students) then moved to Australia for a further three years where he worked in the commercial computer animation sector.

Back in the UK he now serves as Head of 3D at Nexus Productions in London and has been credited on an Oscar nominated short film, This Way Up.

A lot of threes floating around there. Quite a bit of a biography too for this type of post. Let’s say he’s a very creative type then, as is his fiancée Sarah who is an anthropological documentary maker.

When Ben sent me a message a while back to tell me that he and Sarah were to marry I penned a simple response, “Of course you are”. It made perfect sense to me, pure and simple. I then replaced that response with something more appropriately effusive by way of congratulations.

He and Sarah inhabit a fascinating shared mental map rich in creative contours with a strong river of incisive humour running through it.

The only slight hiccup when it comes to maps emanated from the fact that they weren’t quite sharing the same geographical one when I travelled to London this past weekend for a planning meeting – they commissioned me to photograph their wedding, by the way, which I consider a great honour – and to conduct a pre-wedding test shoot. At the last minute Sarah was commissioned by a client to fly out to India to work, for a single weekend, Friday out, Monday back in. And I thought driving into London on a Friday evening and back out again on a Sunday evening was intrepid! It was actually, if one can describe several hours sat in traffic jams as adventurous :~)

I decided I’d document a (Satur)Day in the Life of Ben anyway and Sarah’s temporary absence makes for a perfect excuse to pay a return visit sooner rather than later.

I did get a chance though to meet some of Sarah's personal artwork.

I also had the opportunity to peruse some way-markers on the aforementioned mental map.

I was also availed of fantastically crafted wake up facilities.

Ben is also quite the photographer himself. His work predominates towards urban and sometimes rural vistas and details that cumulatively project a distinct accented voice. This latest offering on his Web site (reproduced below with Ben’s permission) stopped me in my tracks.

Autostadt Powerstation © Ben Cowell, 2010

If you’re interested in visual effects, animation and commercials production you’ll find no end of fascinating insights on Ben’s personal and career blog at rethinkfx.

Back to documenting a (Satur)Day in the Life of Ben we go…

I once owned a sizeable Cafetière Italienne, purchased during a brief spell living in the South of France when I discovered the delights of freshly ground beans. These days I rarely drink coffee and it tends to have a profound effect on me, as it did on this particular Saturday!

I made my way up on to the roof garden above Ben's apartment. It was either that or stick to the ceiling of his living room as the caffeine took hold. The stairwell reminded me of the one that led to the apartment I lived in when I purchased my now long lost cafetière.

I suppose if obliged to haul them up several narrow flights of stairs each day you might be inclined to simply leave them there in the end.

The roof garden afforded marvellous views of the surrounding London skyline, all the more marvellous if one's eyes have a focal length of 135mm.

I had to come down eventually though, from the roof garden that is (the effects of the caffeine intake took several hours more to subside!) as we’d planned to head down to the Conway Hall Humanist Centre in Holborn, home of the South Place Ethical Society, where Sarah & Ben will be celebrating their marriage.

A tilt-shift lens is rapidly escalating its way up my business shopping list.

The main hall that Sarah & Ben have booked for their wedding day was in use when we arrived with a lecture being delivered on UFOs. We were however allowed to access the balcony seating area which I know I'll be making great use of come the big day.

Never falter.

Ben demonstrated his stretchy balcony arm party trick.

In nearby Red Lion Square we found Fenner Brockway, giving forth his oratory for time immemorial.

Somehow inspired to form a band, we needed a name, we also needed an album cover.

As well as looking forward enormously to Sarah & Ben’s wedding, as I quite honestly do for all my wedding commissions, there are some especially interesting transportation plans afoot for the day which I’m particularly intrigued by. More of that to come, come the time!

Contact Bournemouth wedding photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

Daniel Dunlap - I love this concept Phillip! You did an amazing job, truly. The shot of the bikes next to the railing really struck me. The light, detail, and contrast is perfect! Bravo!

Paul Von Rieter - Newport Beach Wedding Photographer - What a fun shoot! It was cool great to go on a little adventure with the two of you… Beautiful work

Heather Kanillopoolos | Mid-Michigan Photographer - Your choice of DoF is original and inspiring. I love the “making coffee” shots! :)

Leo Druker - Great series and intriguing concept. LOVE the balcony shot, very creative use of lines and geometric shapes.

Timothy E Kaldas - Phill, I really love this concept. Photographing the complexity of international relationships. It’s an increasingly common part of our world. I’m speaking to a friend in Finland interested in a someone in Germany while mentioning my recent trip abroad to see someone myself. This post really means a lot to me and you did an excellent job photographing the day to day absences.

Phillip Allen - Thanks all! :~) Indeed Daniel, when Ben saw the bike shot he immediately suggested that I blog it. The fact that I like his photography work a great deal will possibly inform my instincts when it comes to photographing his and Sarah’s big day.

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