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 »