Larmer Tree Gardens Wedding Photography : Julia & Simon

In opening his speech on his and Julia’s wedding day, Simon pointed out that whilst it was considered traditional for the groom to make his thanks for having been welcomed into the bride’s family, he didn’t need to employ such words at this juncture as he had been included immediately and fully in that family since his and Julia’s relationship had begun quite some years earlier. His saying this struck a resonant chord in me; it spoke clearly of a family that act in an inclusive manner, open, warm-hearted and welcoming and I myself have enjoyed and appreciated that shared spirit in my encounters with them now dotted across several years.

I had first met them in early-2010; a family gathering of seventeen – sixteen humans and one characterful dog – joined to celebrate three birthdays; an eightieth, a fiftieth and a seventeenth. Julia was then working as an events coordinator at a lovely rural Dorset venue – Holton Lee – where the year before I had photographed one of my earliest weddings and having seen my photographs from that wedding she asked if I might be interested in photographing a family gathering that they had planned. Accustomed already to immersing myself amidst throngs of people up to a hundred strong or more, I wondered if my presence as a stranger, as a photographer might prove a little unsettling to a relatively smaller and tight knit group but all seemed wholly accepting of my presence from the off, were thoroughly welcoming and they proved to be the most enjoyably enthusiastic subjects that I might wish for as I went about my craft. It was a great pleasure indeed to experience the dynamic of this group.

Five years later, I had a throughly enjoyable time in photographing the wedding of Julia’s sister when Nicola married another Simon and it was fantastic to be able to do my thing amongst these same people once again. Some months either side of that wedding I also had the pleasure of working alongside Julia at a couple of weddings, she in her capacity as a wedding planner demonstrating complete command of the role wrapped in a demeanour imbued with grace.

Then came 2016, the final month of the year and it was Julia and Simon’s turn to tie the knot, another family gathering of great note and an excited me along for the story-telling ride. In some sense I’d been photographing Julia & Simon for seven years at this juncture, albeit not continuously but invariably a fun thing to do what with Julia’s aforementioned grace and her particularly kind spirit and Simon’s irrepressible humour and bonhomie. They married at Christchurch Priory in Dorset and celebrated into the night at the Larmer Tree in Wiltshire. This is the story of Julia & Simon’s wedding day… View full post »

TWTYTW

2016 was the year that the wedding banana became a thing and may it emerge as a tradition that stands the test of time. My research into the fruit – for the purposes of producing this blog post though subsequently I felt that it was a journey best engaged with on an individual basis so I’ll leave the pleasure of discovering all the facts in hands with such interests – has convinced me that I need to eat more of them. That aside, it’s great to see such innovation at work and my thanks for my exposure to this particular innovation goes to whichever of Laura & Tim’s friends presented them with such a fine gift on their wedding day.

I’m not sure that it is something that would sit well, in the long term, in a frame but a framed photograph of the artefact should do the trick just nicely.

I travelled 6774 miles by road and a further 2020 miles by air throughout the year finding myself in East Sussex, Somerset, Gloucestershire, Cornwall, Suffolk, Leicestershire, Cornwall again, the Venetian gulf, Dorset, Cheshire, Shropshire, Warwickshire, Gloucestershire a second time, Buckinghamshire, another part of Dorset, yet another part of Dorset, County Down, Bedfordshire, London, Hampshire, Somerset again then Wiltshire. I enjoyed the variety of landscape. I’m looking forward to driverless cars achieving ubiquity.

2016 was also a year that seemed to go bananas, though not in any sense that might be related to the wedding banana. Indeed as the year progressed I often found myself thankful for the great solace that I found in those events that I was privileged to be included in as a story-teller, that in addition to the thorough enjoyment that I always find in such occasions, in my work. I got to know anew and I got to know afresh and further people that nourished my mind and my soul much as bananas might nourish my bones. Not those metaphorical bananas of course but our real bananas as pictured. I look forward to finding similar sustenance in 2017’s weddings and for now will take sustenance from revisiting those that I photographed during this year past. View full post »

Northern Ireland Wedding Photography : Emily & Matt

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Preposterous. The word kept vaulting around my mind throughout Emily & Matt’s wedding day, though entirely stripped of any unfavourable connotations, clad instead in entirely positive tones. Positively preposterous. Preposterously positive. The enormity of… everything. Emily’s dad cooking for what I estimate to be around 200 people. Her mum spending weeks scouring the north-eastern quarter of Northern Ireland for flowers, wild and cultivated. A host of family and friends worked double-time and more to bring everything together come the week of and the day of the wedding itself. A palpable and enormous sense of community in it all. Aside from the marquee, I was the only thing they didn’t make themselves. I was totally made up by the experience though, which is an awful pun but that’s just what I was; totally made up by the experience.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised though if they got back to me to tell me that one or more of their party had actually made the marquee from scratch.

I’d first encountered Emily – but then ever so briefly – at a wedding in Dorset four years earlier, that of Kataya & Richard. Amidst the flurry and whirl of engaging in observational photography, on request I’d taken a posed photograph that featured her before reverting to the hunt for unposed moments of human interaction. When it came time to edit the images from that wedding I came across that photograph and was struck powerfully by the sense of a particular spirit emanating from this individual. It’s only on a handful of occasions in my practice as a wedding photographer – and then so with at least a digit or two to spare – that I’ve allowed myself to behave in so presumptuous a manner but I chose to include the photograph in a blog post and tagged on a note to the effect that my services as a photographer were offered, should they be required in future. I practically scandalised myself in doing so but the resolute notion that there was something of worth that might come out of the intimation won the moment.

Three and a half years passed. Not that I was awaiting a response :~) Three and a half years passed then out of the blue I received an email from Emily which proved that I’d done the right thing. Or maybe she would have contacted me anyway, solely based on the results of the photographs I’d produced for Kataya & Richard. Well, at least my presumptuousness hadn’t scuppered the prospect of my being commissioned to photograph a certain wedding. Emily told me of a brilliant man that she was now engaged to, we discussed potential dates and my availability and everything worked out just perfectly, then of a weekend of cross-country travelling I was able to meet up with her and Matt and found that Emily was everything that I’d sensed from that one photograph and that Matt was exactly as she had described. The time that I spent with them throughout their wedding day built upon this estimation. If the world is a tapestry within which people are threads travelling hither and yon, their paths crossing to create patterns, a picture, then these individuals, these threads, are the type that contribute to the making of a picture I’d most like to see of that world. It was an enormous pleasure to me to make pictures for them and for the truly, really very excellent collection of characters that shared in their experience.

Emily & Matt’s wedding was set on the Ards Peninsula in County Down, Northern Ireland. They married at The Portico of Ards in Portaferry, an amazing building fashioned in the Greek Revival style. Two of Emily’s grandparents had themselves married there. Celebrations ensued on the coast of the Irish Sea in and around a giant marquee on a harbour-side, next to an old lighthouse keepers’ cottage where Emily had spent numerous childhood holidays and where she and Matt had become engaged.

This is the story of their wedding day… View full post »

Dorset Wedding Photography : Hana & Doug

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This is an important thing to me. To gather the right words for this story. This was an important wedding to me, to be at, to photograph. Not to diminish how much I give myself to every wedding that I photograph but there is a particular story to this, one which requires words to relate while the images relate the beat and pattern of the day in their own essential way.

I felt as though I were a bridesmaid of sorts myself on Hana & Doug’s wedding day. Bridesmaids and groomsmen serve an important function in lending support, practical and emotional, to a couple. I was there to perform a particular role, that of documenting the story of the day in images. That I did. I thoroughly enjoyed the role. I always do. I was made to feel though that the value of my presence was intrinsically as important as the value that would be brought to bear in the images that I would produce. That, to me, was a very big thing.

I first met Hana some four years earlier. She was a bridesmaid to Sarah, when Sarah married Jon. Hana exuded a powerful sense of loyalty towards and protectiveness over Sarah. I found her energy a little intimidating. At first :~) After that wedding Hana started to share my work with her friends and colleagues; not just that from Sarah & Jon’s wedding but others that I photographed and blogged subsequently. We followed each other on Twitter. I spotted her tweet to a colleague, excited that I’d blogged a new wedding. That, to me, was a very big thing. Another of her colleagues, Natasha, booked me to photograph her and Sam’s wedding the year after Sarah & Jon’s. That, to me, was a very big thing. A lot of big things adding up. This was an important thing to me.

I next met Hana a couple of years later, at Nic & Curt’s wedding. Nic had also been a bridesmaid to Sarah. The three of them, Hana, Nic and Sarah, have been best of friends and thick as thieves since being knee high to a grasshopper. Or maybe it was from the age of seven or thereabouts. In the immediate lead up to Nic & Curt’s wedding I’d corresponded with Hana on the subject of appropriate colours for nail varnish at such events. A colleague of her’s had insisted that a certain colour was inappropriate, for certain reasons. I sent Hana a picture or two of the apparently inappropriate colour used to perfectly appropriate effect on sets of nails at weddings I’d photographed. She painted her nails a different colour that day anyway but I’d enjoyed the collusion all the same.

And it was at Nic & Curt’s wedding that I met Doug, which made for a great pleasure. He was there with Hana. Late into the evening Doug engaged me in conversation about my work. Hana had been showing it to him with some enthusiasm. That, to me, was a very big thing. Doug related to me what he understood from my work, what he understood about the underlying rationale of what I did, certain things that underscore the surface nature of the imagery alone. He clarified for me a number of things that I am largely unconscious of as I go about doing what I do. When I mentioned to Doug – on meeting up with he and Hana in the run up to their wedding – how much I’d appreciated his insights on that occasion, he told me that his recollection of what he’d said wasn’t at all clear but… in vino veritas, I say. Come to think of it I’m not at all certain I say that too often but erudite minds have a way of soaring gracefully in such conditions and it was a great pleasure to meet Doug’s mind and to find another character of value.

Almost a year after Nic & Curt’s wedding I received an email from Hana, then on holiday in Spain with Doug. He had proposed to her the previous day and she had accepted. They wanted to know if I had any dates free for the following year.

That, to me…

I don’t even need to say it (huge thing). View full post »

Cornwall Wedding Photography : Sarah & Andrew

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Sarah & Andrew married and celebrated their wedding in a verdant Mediterranean garden floating through space in an expansive dome, drinking in the day’s sunlight, looking out onto a cinematic expanse of stars at night and sheltering all from the odd bit of rain between those two points of the day. I’d not expected to encounter rain in space. It didn’t hinder celebrations in the slightest, all the same.

Sarah had been a guest at two previous weddings that I had photographed; firstly that of Sarah & Jon back in 2012 then at Ruth & Neil’s wedding in 2014. I just looked through the entire set of images from Ruth & Neil’s wedding to see if Andrew was there too, and he was indeed. I have one photograph of the back of his head. I made up for that come his and Sarah’s wedding day. Ruth & Neil had also been guests at Sarah & Jon’s wedding (Ruth had delivered a reading). Also at Sarah & Jon’s wedding was usher extraordinaire, Adam, who with his fiancée Rachel was a guest at Sarah & Andrew’s wedding. Six weeks later I would find myself photographing Adam & Rachel’s wedding and meeting with Sarah & Jon, Ruth & Neil and Sarah & Andrew all over again. A veritable skein of weddings my experiences of which have traced the line of a strong thread of friendship.

As it is said, birds of a feather flock together. I’m not fully privy to the dynamic that underpins the strength and longevity of the friendships that link these weddings but in all of them I have been privy to experiencing a level of shared, individual and personal kindness attenuated in a way that makes an unique impression upon me. In Sarah I found this kindness in abundance and combined with Andrew’s gregariousness and warmth all made for an experience that was an utter pleasure for me. This is the story of Sarah & Andrew’s wedding day… View full post »