One from every wedding I have photographed : A decade of weddings : 2009

#1 – Petia & Chris

Short of any very last-minute Christmas period bookings, I recently photographed my final wedding of 2018, rounding off my 10th year in the field.

This is how it started, back in March 2009.

Chris worked at the same university that I was a lecturer at but in a different faculty to me; a face that I would recognise in passing but not someone that I knew. It transpired though that we had a friend in common, also working at the university, another Chris. When another Chris had a birthday dinner I brought along my camera and took some photographs – between courses and after the meal had been consumed – in the non-posed style that I favoured. Chris and Petia had been at the same dinner and having seen my photographs, Chris approached me to ask if I would photograph their forthcoming wedding.

The conversation went something like this.

“Will you photograph our wedding?”
“Sorry but no; I don’t photograph weddings.”
“Oh, why not?”
“To be honest, I couldn’t think of anything that I’d enjoy less than orchestrating processions of posed photographs.”
“That’s exactly what we don’t want, either. We want what you do.”
“Oh!” I was intrigued. I’d always assumed that wedding photography was about that process that I had little appetite for, photographically speaking. Then, “Still, no.”
“Oh, why not?” again.
“Well, if I made a mess of it, it’s not like I could offer to come back the following weekend to do it all again!”
“I understand, but it’s either you or table top disposable cameras.”

That was it. I had no choice really. I had to save them from that fate.

So I photographed Petia & Chris’s wedding and had fantastic fun in doing so. After their ceremony at Poole Guildhall, a small group of us travelled by yacht from Poole Quay to Studland where the two made a beach landing and I channeled Robert Capa (indeed a number of blurry images surrounded the one posted here!)

I’d considered the assignment as being very much a one off, though. Whilst enjoying the process enormously, I assumed that it had been an idiosyncratic request to have a wedding photographed in a documentary style; that otherwise the world of wedding photography was still about processions of controlled, staged photographs. Little did I know at the time! Things snowballed rapidly from this first wedding and for 10 years now I have enjoyed travelling to numerous places that I wouldn’t otherwise have seen and have met scores of great people that I wouldn’t otherwise have had the great pleasure of spending time with; indeed also quite a number that I already knew!

With the marker of a decade arrived at, I think I’ll allow myself the indulgence of looking back on every wedding I have photographed. This was number one. Petia & Chris.

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2018

Considering nothing of note occurred in the wider world during 2018 – absolutely nothing whatsoever (I’ve been trying to ignore news media for a while; I’m feeling serene as I write this :~) – I took particular pleasure and no small amount of solace in attending and photographing the fantastic weddings I was privileged to be accepted as a part of throughout this year. In addition to that, the conclusion of my 2018 wedding season sees me tallying 10 full years in the field; an entire decade, though just a mere tenth of a whole century (I wonder what the next 90 years will bring?) I feel that’s cause for celebration and shortly I’ll be piecing together a blog post looking back across a decade of weddings; one image (sometimes two) from every wedding that I have photographed. I think though I’m going to need to get myself a bigger page to write on before I take a trip down that particular lane lined with memories!

I’ve been consistently lucky across those 10 years – certainly, again, during this past one – to spend time in close proximity with people that are fine examples of what humanity has to offer the world. On a wedding day – on any day – an individual can consciously attempt to be on his or her best behaviour but on a wedding day in particular – joyous as such occasions certainly are – nervousness, stress and the odd flight of tension can visit those at the centre of it all and that in tandem with the sheer happy exhilaration of events invariably – in my experience – leaves a bride or a groom emotionally naked, if really rather nattily dressed. I’ve never though encountered a bridezilla or a groomzilla (be those labels apocryphal or genuine) but a long and lengthening list of people that – stripped bare emotionally – have shown an abundance of kindness and deep-rooted care for those that surround them and for the wider world, as well. What I gain from my experiences with the clients that I work with constitutes the largest profit component in the conduct of my business. I treasure the value that this brings to my life.

From my home base in Dorset, 2018 has seen me travel to photograph weddings in North Yorkshire, Powys, Essex, Kent, East Sussex, London, Devon, Somerset, Bristol, Wiltshire, Hampshire and… well, Dorset! I’ve photographed weddings the celebration of which centred around barns, marquees and tipis, old houses, mills and gardens, and even one in a pub. Each – regardless of locale and location – has been imbued with creative industry and positive energy and an abundance of laughter and love. All have proved every bit as much fun as those that I’ve enjoyed over the past 10 years.

Before I set to work on piecing together the story of that past 10 years, for now a handful or two of images from each of the weddings that I have photographed in 2018; a year full of wedding stories… View full post »

New Forest Wedding Photography : Sara & Paul

new-forest-wedding-photography-mister-phill-sara-and-paul-001

If you took a multitude of rays of light reflected off multifarious manifestations of human decency and passed them through a convex lens that converged all of those rays towards a single point and then arrayed them onto a surface, you’d likely be presented with an image on that surface that looked something very much like Sara & Paul.

I was blessed with the good fortune to be able to simply photograph them as they were.

Sara & Paul had plans to marry in a castle on the Dorset-Hampshire border and to celebrate in a tented village set upon a tree-encircled meadow near the New Forest village of Boldre. They were looking for a photographer that would blend in and capture the day’s story as it naturally unfolded – sounds familiar! – and it was lucky for me that Sara came across one of my weddings featured on a wedding inspiration blog and she and Paul felt that my way of seeing things fitted the bill. We spoke via email, we spoke over the ‘phone, they booked, I looked forward with excitement to their wedding day. This is the story of that day… View full post »

Suffolk Wedding Photography : Laura & Tim

Laura & Tim have hearts so big that you could climb on board and float your way up to the Moon in them. They are both individually and together a tonic to spend time with; downright uplifting souls. They come packaged with an energetic bunch of friends and family that again, are just great to spend time amongst.

Whilst planning her and Tim’s wedding – that was set to take place in and around Bury St Edmunds with a ceremony at a church within the town and subsequent celebrations a little way out into the surrounding countryside at Suffolk Barn – Laura had come across my Web site but didn’t initially make contact with me, assuming that I might be too far away to cover Suffolk.

I’m based roughly half way along the bottom of the UK; surrounded by land through a span of 180 degrees and through the other 180, it’s just sea. Then France. As I look out to sea (I can’t actually see the sea from where I’m sat, though; I can just see my computer screen) Suffolk is about as far to the left of where I am as things get, in the UK at least. Actually, Norfolk is further to the left and I have photographed a couple of weddings in that county, too. Both counties are actually to the left and up a bit also (or behind me, as I act this out with my arms and hands) and were I more properly taking a base line along the coast it would be Kent that is furthest to the left and the leftmost that I’ve travelled to photograph a wedding there has been on the Isle of Sheppey, which as it happens is exactly due South of Bury St. Edmunds. In saying all of this, I should really be describing directions from the standpoint of looking at a map of the UK in its standardly expected orientation whereby, of course, all of these places are over to the right of the country and indeed to my right from where I am located. Also, where I am sat as I write this, I am facing away from the sea. I’ve learnt a lot about the geography of the UK through my adventures in the world of weddings; an understanding of the orientation of things might at times elude me though :~).

Not uncharacteristically perhaps, I digress!

So… initially Laura didn’t make contact with me and searched for a wedding photographer closer to home, but she kept popping back onto my Web site and I’m so thankful that she did so, and that she did then make contact because… well… happy me! :~) I got to do what I love doing and with people that I couldn’t have loved more doing it with.

This is the story of Laura & Tim’s wedding day and it starts with what I believe should become a wedding day tradition for all marrying couples… a wedding day banana… View full post »

Harry Warren House Wedding Photography : Natasha & Thomas

I’d photographed the wedding of one of Natasha’s sisters, Kataya, back in 2012 when the latter married Richard. Natasha and her other sister, Tara, had served unfalteringly and excellently as bridesmaids to Kataya on that occasion. Thomas had served as a hard working usher at that same wedding. Over the ensuing six years, a series of interlinked weddings saw me travelling to Northern Ireland (where Thomas also popped up) and Scotland, and come 2018 it was a thorough delight to return to the Isle of Purbeck in Dorset for Natasha & Thomas’s wedding day.

I have a deep rooted fondness for that part of the world and leapt at the opportunity to head over to Purbeck to meet up with the two in advance of their wedding. I had recently discovered the existence of Agglestone Rock (featured in a leaflet I’d found containing a list of Purbeck sights; it has also attracted some rather humorous reviews on Trip Advisor) and being keen to see it for myself, I suggested to Natasha and Thomas that we take a walk there. I was thoroughly delighted with the rock and at least as delighted again to spend time getting to know Natasha & Thomas, important actors in previous weddings that I’d not – previously – spoken with.

In Natasha, I found a deeply thoughtful and poetic soul; in Thomas, a fascinatingly interconnected thinker. My experience of the rock, of setting foot on Purbeck and spending time with the two of them all combined to leave me feeling greatly at peace with the world; greatly excited at the same time to immerse myself in their wedding day in order to record its story and… this is that story… View full post »