Hotel du Vin Poole Wedding Photography : Steph & Ryan

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As much as in meeting them and finding what they are in their words, deeds and actions, there is often much to be found in encountering the things that people have created and left for others to experience. In this respect, even though I wasn’t to meet with her in person until some five years later, I first gained a very strong sense of an intrinsic aspect of Steph’s nature when I came across… her cupcakes. Yes, her cupcakes. They really did make that much of an impression on me; exquisitely – with each syllable of that word enunciated with the utmost clarity – crafted, evidence to me of a creator with exceptionally well developed attention to detail and pride in the results of her creative endeavours. And they very much tasted at least as good as they looked, too. Steph used to operate a bakery business and I first came across her masterpieces at one of the first weddings that I photographed back in 2009, that of Emma & Ian in Bournemouth, then a second time in 2010, at the wedding of Meleza & James on the Isle of Purbeck. I’d sent Steph copies of the photographs that I’d taken of her creations and she – it transpired – kept track of what I do, through my blog, down the ensuing years.

I was really rather flattered then, when Steph made contact with me to ask if I might photograph her forthcoming wedding, her marriage to Ryan and the celebrations that would ensue. People involved in creating things for weddings tend to have access to a good deal in the way of examples of the works of photographers, and knowing that my mode of image making spoke perfectly to her and to Ryan made for a very happy prospect in my mind.

They married on the anniversary of their very first date, with a ceremony at Poole Guildhall and celebrations a short walk away at the Hotel du Vin. I am always cognisant of the notion that a wedding’s significance is in some part about the gathering of people, sometimes in large part, almost as much in some sense as it is about the act taking place at the centre of it all. Typically though, through my relationship to such an event, my sense of occasion does centre most strongly around the couple but Steph & Ryan’s wedding day left a clear impression upon me of an event that had been thoughtfully designed in such a manner that the act of a marriage celebrated would serve as a catalyst for a resounding gathering of family, and of friends with bonds as strong as family, to bring an interlinked array of people together in one place and to celebrate the bonds that linked everyone, bonds that wove a pattern around – and to the epicentre – of that occasion. It really did work that way and was additionally enriching to experience as a result. This is the story of Steph & Ryan’s wedding day… View full post »

Voewood House Wedding Photography : Sophie & Donald

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All these words, all these words on these pages; all these words come from my head. Actually I was taught all of these words by other people, down the years; all credit to those people. The choice of combination of all of these words though, the context in which they come forth; all from my head. Imagine, if you like, a Newton’s Cradle meets a Bagatelle table. And a keyboard. Anyway, when somebody has read a portion of my words and still proceeds with booking me, I know I’m on to a good thing, job-satisfaction wise (or maybe those that book me have just looked at the pictures) (actually, I know that many, most even, have come through the words intact :~). Getting through a ‘phone conversation with me and then booking, that’s something… again. I tend towards being prone to the discursive end of the spectrum in conversation. If I’m to be honest, I’m often more there than towards. I do always circle back somehow to the crux of the matter though. It’s much the way that I photograph an event, an occasion, a wedding let’s say because that’s what I tend to photograph the most. I always know what it’s all about but I find fascination in all of the things that it might not seem at first, on the surface, to be about. Somehow my mind latches on to those things as being important and it turns out that actually, they are; they are important, they do say something meaningful about that event, that occasion, that day. So all of these words, they come from my head, in response to the world I inhabit. The nature of my images, in a way, very much so too.

I had a really very enjoyable ‘phone conversation with Sophie, between her first emailed enquiry to me and her and Donald’s subsequent booking of my services. I’d never been to Norfolk before, where their wedding would take place, and was quite excited by the prospect of experiencing the place (and – note how I use parentheses in an attempt to corral my discursiveness – and a thoroughly enjoyable experience it was; I must admit that I’d not seen the North Sea up close before and it is something else again to behold, so different from the sea that I see from the Dorset coast – those that have seen it might hopefully know what I mean; the North Sea that is, or indeed both, for comparison – capable of being flat, edge to edge – we’re still back with the North Sea here – meeting the sky and the sky meeting it with no way of clearly telling where one form ends and the other commences. It’s as though one is observing the very edge of the world. It’s quite a journey from Dorset though, I swear more prolonged and arduous by way of travel than those commissions that take me out into mainland Europe, but well worth the effort). With ‘phone in one hand (we’re back to that telephone conversation again!) and laptop in… well on, my lap, I located their venue – Voewood House – on Google Maps, in satellite view (because it feels so much more real than looking at a mere outline map). As we chatted about wedding day plans I flew hither and yon across the landscape that would surround it all and a pattern emerged in front of me that met my naivety on the matter and really intrigued me. Norfolk was just so… Viking.

Kelling? Felbrigg? Letheringsett? Little Snoring and Great Snoring I’ll leave out of the mix though they did, funnily enough, catch my eye (and then on further research I discovered that etymologists consider ‘snore’ to be of imitative origin and that some of those etymologists refer to the Swedish, snarka, that is to say, snout). I’d always very much associated the historical assimilation of Scandinavian language into English place names and indeed dialects with the North East of the country but here I was, flying over Norfolk, in satellite view mode on Google Maps. Of course, the Vikings had also made it down to my end of the world, found Wareham on the Isle of Purbeck to their liking as a holiday home and had once gone shopping as far inland as Dorchester, and Norfolk still to this day has an awful lot of space about its character. Anyway, I’d particularly latched on to this phenomena as, at the point in time at which Sophie and I had found ourselves in conversation on the ‘phone, I had been avidly consuming episodes of Metro Goldwyn Mayer’s drama series, Vikings, on Netflix. I was really enjoying the series though I had, at first, found it very hard to empathise with the protagonists (an ability for which emotional connection I believe is key to the success of a drama) and had struggled with the first few episodes as it was all… well… it was all just taketaketake, frankly! And I was rather hoping that they would, well, give something back perhaps? And I might have been relating all of this to Sophie, as we chatted; in fact I’m quite certain that I was. And she and Donald proceeded to booking me. And… job-satisfaction :~) And this is the story of their wedding day… View full post »

Suffolk Wedding Photography : Alex & Jules

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Alex & Jules (or Jules & Alex, if we’re reading the opening image left to right, which readers of Roman based alphabets tend to do; if you’re a reader of another directional form, then they may indeed remain Alex & Jules, or top down, just the two of them). I might as well start again :~) Alex & Jules are ambassadors from another planet, a planet where everyone has learnt to fine tune their moral compass to confidently seek out all points, North, South, East and West and those in between, a planet where everyone has learnt simply to be downright decent to each other, a planet where studious thought is matched by laughter, by joie de vivre. They arrived on our shores back in… a little while back… I’m not absolutely certain; it’s all shrouded in mystery. Is any of this true, you might ask? Could they really be from another planet? I don’t know. It’s all shrouded in mystery. I’m certain though if there were such a planet and that planet did send ambassadors to live amongst us, then they’d be pretty similar characters.

Back in 2010, which isn’t the last century but might it now count as last decade, the ultimate year of? Back in 2010 I’d photographed Gabby & Gareth’s wedding day in a deep Dorset cove once the haunt of smugglers and that day and night the haunt of a truly, truly brilliant cast of characters. Alex & Jules had been guests at that wedding, though I’d not met them then in a conversational sense; I had done so briefly in a photographic manner as they swung each other around an ever so lively dance floor. When they contacted me some years later to ask if I might photograph their Suffolk wedding, I was delighted by the prescient knowledge that I’d really have a thoroughly lovely time of doing so because everyone at that prior wedding had been a downright delight to be amongst and everyone at this one would be, likewise.

Their wedding, in a manner, ran across three days. I think weddings need to last this long, really. The evening before, early-comers congregated for a pre-wedding catch-up in a Bury St. Edmunds wine bar, then the day of the wedding itself with celebrations taking place in the garden of Alex’s family home, then a gathering again the day after. This is the story of Alex & Jules’ wedding… days… View full post »

Black Mountains Wedding Photography : Sadie & Paul

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There’s something, a really rather significant something, in a couple’s choice of location for their wedding day and the manner in which they choose to set the stage upon which their commitment is observed and the occasion is celebrated. Whilst amidst this setting I will find myself observing – with my eyes and with my ears – the actions and interactions of people, trying to encapsulate the social essence of the day and the spirit of those people that make it what it is, I will also be mindful of the fact that setting and decor can speak volumes about the inner spirit of the people at the very heart of it all. I travelled to the locale of Sadie & Paul’s wedding the evening before it would all take place and set about checking that my SatNav would take me to all the right places come the next day. On arrival at Great Campston, in the Black Mountains, I found Sadie & Paul and family members hard at work bringing together the finishing touches of a piece of magic; I felt as though I had walked onto the stage for a gathering of elven-folk, a yurt decked with fresh hops about its supporting poles, tables adorned with an abundance of fresh flowers grown in the garden of Sadie’s mum and dad – arranged by her mum that day – eclectically colourful papier-mâché animals roaming across each table with spirit breathed in to them by Sadie’s artistic temperament, a plethora of objects and items of decoration that sang together in harmony. A great deal of work, very hard work, the results of which resonated beautifully throughout the ensuing wedding day.

The yurt sat atop a hillside, a hillside that I could quite happily have spent a holiday perched upon, that I could quite happily have settled to live upon. Simple, powerful, environmental perfection. That environment, that decoration, reflected a great deal in the combined natures of Sadie & Paul and it gave me great pleasure to see all of that and to experience what they were as people.

I’d been lucky to meet them some months earlier, in the Midlands, stopping off from my journey back to Dorset from a wedding in North Yorkshire. They treated me to a lovely lunch and we took photographs in the rubble strewn extremities of a car park at the rear of the pub we’d met in. The photographs worked well. The setting for their wedding day made composition all the easier again :~) It was a real pleasure to leap from that stepping stone into the crystal waters of their wedding day and this is what I saw and what I experienced, this is the story of Sadie & Paul’s wedding day… View full post »

Windsor Wedding Photography : Katerina & Mark

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There’s a lot to be said for job satisfaction and undoubtedly that’s something that I gain from the crafting of a good set of images and the relating of a resonant story but most potently of all, it comes about for me in spending time with people that I simply like, people that nurture my faith in the human race. I’ve always found that if someone, a stranger to start with, likes the manner in which I express myself in the images that I make, there’ll be a commonality in mode of thinking to be found that makes for a comfortable meeting of minds. I’ll meet the people that having found my work, having found that it was in tune with their appetite for the embodiment of their story, have gone on to commission me and I’ll find great liking for who they are and how they do things. I’ll see them in action throughout what is likely to be amongst the most positively charged and emotional days of their life, a day on which they can only be themselves, and I’ll like what I see. And I’ll learn more about them on that day than I had already learnt along the way, quite often in how others speak of them, very often in the form of speeches where the more elevated virtues of unassuming characters more fully come to light.

I found all of that in meeting Katerina & Mark, in immersing myself in their wedding day, in piecing together a story for them to look back on. Two ceremonies in one day, a civil one in Windsor Guildhall and a Jewish ceremony in the back garden of Katerina’s family home on Ham Island, under a Chuppah designed by a friend – these two observations of commitment joined together across the day by a procession through the streets of Windsor led by a New Orleans style jazz band and a boat cruise along the Thames – were followed by the party of parties and then quite something of a party again. I was left dazed and amused by it all.

So here, here where I find enormous satisfaction in my job, here is the story of Katerina & Mark’s wedding day… View full post »