Cublington Wedding Photography : Stuart & Siân

Stuart & Siân grew up in a Buckinghamshire village with a remarkably pleasant social dynamic to it, one that continues to this day. Next to the gates of the village church sits a rota – populated with dozens of different names – for mowing the grass in the church grounds; no sign of a very small few holding on to tradition but one of a community still living up to the spirit of that term (Stuart, as it happens, mowed the grass in the days leading up to his and Siân’s wedding). Across the road and a few paces down, then just a couple more, the village pub serves as a hub for that same spirit of community, equally as welcoming to strangers as it is to those that cross its threshold on a regular basis. Down the road a little further and around a corner, the village cricket ground serves not only for the playing of cricket but also for all manner of community celebrations.

I found the village (and its denizens) so pleasant that I’ll not make specific mention of where it is just in case certain elements of the outside world stumble across this blog post, recall its existence and decide afresh to plonk a third airport for London on top of the place.

Along a friendly side street off the diminutive main road running through the village, Siân lived a little closer to one end, Stuart at the other, their two homes but a couple of literal stone throws apart. I feel quite certain that the distance could be spanned by just a couple of stone throws but I didn’t test my hypothesis out. It wouldn’t have looked good. Back to the story at hand, one might say that Stuart & Siân were childhood sweethearts but to be more precise, they were into their later teens when they became that much more aware of each other and together they’ve been ever since. They now live and work in London but they carry that spirit of village life in their hearts and manifest it in their demeanour, day to day.

I was happy to have the opportunity to meet with them at their London home some months before their wedding, to enjoy the wide slice of sky that they’d managed to find as a view from their window, the uplifting sense of openness along the nearby walk that they frequently enjoy and that I shared with them on that occasion, and the particularly warm, cosy and welcoming pub at the end of that walk, one that might as much have been in a village as in a city so large. I really enjoyed my time spent with them then and all the more again come the day of their wedding. This is the story of that day, of Stuart & Siân’s wedding… View full post »

Iceland Wedding Photography : Nichola & Marcus

I imagine an artist’s palette daubed with splashes and whirls of paint, spreads of white and spreads of black, an expanse of blue; green, greens, multifarious hues of green, dotted and striated and folded one into another and through and into colours other. Ochre, yellows, browns, oranges and reds; colours of the sky, colours of the sea, colours of the land and that which lays beneath. Then I picture Iceland and I see an artist’s palette; an artist’s palette on a grand, grand scale. Further, I picture Nichola & Marcus, she wearing a gown of snow and he wearing a suit of black volcanic ash and I see them smile like the sky and roar with laughter like the sea breaking on the shore, in their element, part of the elements.

We went somewhere really quite magical, they to make married and I, with my daughter, to see and tell as best we possibly might, all.

I’d known Nichola for a good number of years. Once upon a time she had been a student of mine and in her final year of studies, she asked if she might assist me on a wedding shoot. We worked together on two weddings, ultimately, and her work was fantastic, her way with people equally so. After graduating she worked as an animator in the realm of children’s television for several months, her own business as a wedding photographer quickly sky-rocketing so she moved full time into that realm. Something of a human dynamo, effervescent in nature with a capacity for deep reflection, Nichola has always been great to work with, now to work for, to share an adventure with. I didn’t meet Marcus himself until we were all in Iceland at the same time, though I recognised him well from all the photographs that Nichola had taken of him, or had taken with the two of them featured side by side. He had proposed to Nichola in Iceland a year before their return to the country to marry. I saw photographs and video of the proposal and their surrounding travels which had triggered in me a compulsion to visit the place myself. I found Marcus unshakeably likeable from the off, someone of discernible inner substance with a markedly healthy appreciation of others, someone that I sensed strongly wanted to do good. I enjoyed every moment of observing and photographing the path he and Nichola shared on this particular leg of their journey together.

Surrounding, underscoring, indeed permeating the wedding itself, Iceland left a profound mark on me. I’ve reflected in more depth on my reactions to the place in a separate blog post. I’ll be back to absorb its environment yet more. I photographed the wedding with my daughter, Amelia, and was so impressed with the work that she produced, I gave her a blog post of her own. This is my take on the story of Nichola & Marcus’s Icelandic wedding… View full post »

Iceland

“Turn left in 198km,” the SatNav spoke to us, on a road that was straight, so straight except for when it curved a little. And it rained, and rained, and rained, and rained. And then it didn’t rain. Then it rained again.

But despite the bar-briefly relentless rain there was so much that emerged from the clouds that filled us with awe.

The variety, the sheer variety of landscape in Iceland, the variety and vigour with which it changes, often-times in an instant between one blink of the eye and the next; the sheer variety overwhelms, marvellously. It commandeers your perceptions; your perception of place and perception of self within that place. One moment a flock of incongruously rounded green hillocks that you would as much expect to see Dipsy or Po emerge from as you would an elf. Then suddenly a sea of staccato fractal ridges that look like pain ensconced in green velvet gloves. A little further on, equally as suddenly, what appears very much to have the same type of structure as the last but somehow softened, more rounded, reduced, an echo of the visual passage that had passed shortly beforehand, pain worn down to lingering acceptance. Then, an unrelenting flatness of black, stretching on for miles. In the distance clouds that on closer approach emerge as mountains and mountains that on closer approach emerge as clouds.

As we summited the brow of another headland and the next view was unfurled in front of us, a magnificent banner draped from sky down to sea, a voice softly underscored with awe issued forth from the passenger seat to my right. “I feel so small,” said Amelia.

I’d had it in mind for quite some time to take her on a memorable journey of some form or another before she reached an age where she’d no longer be interested in hanging out with her dad. “I’ll never get bored of hanging out with you, Daddy!” she declared when I’d first raised this notion with her. We’ll see, I thought to myself :~) A specific plan manifested itself when Nichola and Marcus got engaged. Over a number of years I’d seen images made by a variety of wedding photographers that had travelled to Iceland, sometimes images relating to weddings, sometimes images from personal travels. I’d always found myself thinking what a beautiful place it looked but there are many beautiful places in the world, many on our own doorsteps even. Then in February of 2016, Nichola and Marcus travelled to Iceland with a small group of wedding photographers and videographers. During the trip, one day, the two took a turn adopting the role of models for a staged couple’s shoot, the backdrop a flotilla of icebergs, the stage an expanse of snow and blue water. Un-staged, Marcus dropped down onto one knee in the middle of the shoot and proposed to Nichola. The video and photographs were a joy to see. I sent Nichola a message to congratulate her and related to her this notion that I’d been formulating of a journey with Amelia, telling her that her images from Iceland had tipped me towards choosing that country as the destination. She asked when I planned to go. I told her that most likely it would be during the half-term school break in the February of the following year, shortly after Amelia’s eleventh birthday and to mark that occasion. It transpired that she and Marcus would be returning to the country during the same week, to get married. Nichola asked if I would photograph the wedding.

And here Amelia and I found ourselves, a year later, in Iceland. Over the space of the twelve months between choosing the destination and first setting foot in the country, she’d evolved from child to nascent teenager. I did wonder more and more how she’d take to hanging out with Daddy 24/7 for, well, the 7 part of the equation as well as the 24. Turns out it would be brilliantly; an excellent travelling partner for a grand adventure, which we agreed to refer to it all in place of ‘holiday’ as there wasn’t enough in the way of lay-ins and general rest for the latter term to legitimately apply. So brilliantly in fact, we’re now planning our return visit to the country to celebrate a landmark birthday of my own later this year.

I wished that there was a lay-by hemming the road for the entire length of our journey because there were so many sights that I wished I could be static for the contemplation of. Such incalculable variety, all dependent, I imagine, on which volcano had erupted when, from what depth, to what magnitude and in which direction; how broadly the lava had flowed, how deep and what it had met on its way towards the sea. It’s almost as though Iceland were the palette upon which Slartibartfast had mixed his paints for his rendition of the broader world. View full post »

Shropshire Wedding Photography : Hannah & Aled

Let’s talk about the weather, because that’s what we do. In fact I’d rather talk about Hannah & Aled and their wedding which I will indeed do but talking about their wedding wouldn’t be complete without talking about the weather. Hannah & Aled wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony. They really wanted an outdoor wedding ceremony. They had a Plan A, a ceremony beneath a rocky fountain waterfall in a wooded garden. Naturally they had a Plan B, too, should the weather not allow for Plan A to take place. Plan B would see the ceremony take place… outdoors, in a flag-stone paved courtyard imbued with classical architectural character. Outdoors. Still. There was also a Plan C with a large entrance hallway at their venue, Walcot Hall, already filled with chairs and an aisle down the middle but really Plan C was Plan Z, with no other plans to fill the gap between it and A and B. Really, it wasn’t even a Plan Z to Hannah & Aled’s minds. It was Plan W. We’re not using that plan. We’re getting married outdoors.

As far as I’m aware, Hannah & Aled live in an abode that would be easily recognised as a construct that serves the purpose of human habitation. I haven’t seen it myself but I had an address to send their final image set to that read like that attached to such a habitation. Their spirits though are such that I don’t think can be bound by walls and ceilings, in the slightest (and whilst there were four walls surrounding their evening celebrations on the day of their wedding, I’m sure it was a good thing that the ceiling was a particularly high one because any lower and the roof would have been in danger of being lifted clean off!). So married outdoors it had to be.

And back to the weather. It wasn’t simply the case that the weather might impinge upon their wedding day as an external force, that it might affect certain aspects of it as the weather is prone to do sometimes for the better as much as for the worse. The weather visited Hannah & Aled’s wedding day. It stepped in to the day’s events. It became a key actor in the manner in which the day played out. It spoke it’s own presence and conversed with the wedding. Across a number of days beforehand the wooded garden became waterlogged (Shropshire is a verdant county for good reason!). Plan A was hung out to dry. Rain threatened on the morning of the wedding and it wasn’t at all glib in what it threatened. But then it wasn’t a threat; it was an announcement of intention to be there, to be part of it all. A good supply of umbrellas, flag stones into which feet would not sink and a little bit of an over-hang for couple and celebrant to stand under would allow Plan B to take effect and it all came together to reflect Hannah & Aled’s natures beautifully. We’ll be back to the weather anon but for now, this is the story of Hannah & Aled’s wedding day… View full post »

Iceland Wedding Photography : Nichola & Marcus : By Amelia

My daughter, Amelia, turned eleven this January. During the February school half-term break we embarked on a grand adventure together, spending a week in Iceland. The decision to make Iceland the location for this adventure had been triggered by our seeing Nichola & Marcus’s photographs and videos from a trip they had taken to the country last February, in particular those featuring Marcus’s proposal to Nichola on the shore of the glacier lagoon at Jökulsárlón. Our trip would also coincide with Nichola & Marcus returning to Iceland to marry, with a ceremony at Búðir Church in the Búðahraun lava fields in Staðarsveit and a visit a few days later to Jökulsárlón, to the very spot that they had first become engaged. Nichola & Marcus asked me to photograph these two occasions and as she would be my assistant, Amelia suggested that I buy her a camera for her eleventh birthday. So I did; a nice little compact camera with enough in the way of features for her to grow in to. As yet I’ve provided her with no direct instruction in photography, made no attempt to influence choice of subject matter, composition or timing; I was keen to see how she would work her way into using the medium and all that I have shown her is how to charge the battery in her new camera. Everything else she has thus far worked out for herself.

Every photograph in this blog post was taken by her. Originally I’d had it in mind to include a few of her images alongside my own when it came time for me to blog this wedding. When I saw what she had produced though, I knew immediately that I wanted to give her work a blog post of its own. I am amazed by what she has created. I’m thrilled to have this new insight into the way that she sees the world. I was impressed by her professionalism, calmness and perseverance throughout and am immeasurably proud of her for this and for all that she is.

I sense that it might well be me assisting her at some point in the not too distant future!

Thanks to Nichola & Marcus for having us both along for their Iceland wedding and for the world of wonder that it introduced us to. I’ll be back in time with my own take on the adventure but for now, this is the story of Nichola & Marcus’s Iceland wedding, through the eyes of Amelia. View full post »