One from every wedding I have photographed : A decade of weddings : 2011

#30 – Pam & Martin

Pam & Martin’s was my first wedding of 2011. I spent the evening before – New Year’s Eve – enjoying the fantastic company of their family in their Lancashire home, very well fed indeed and provisioned with excellent wine; provided with accommodation by their next door neighbour, away for the period and whom I never met in person; immersed in a wealth of kindness.

The following day – New Year’s Day – we all travelled up and across to Yorkshire for their wedding. This was the first of just a few weddings that I have photographed over the years that featured a relatively small number of guests, a party of 18 in total if memory serves me correctly (and that including Pam & Martin, and myself as their photographer) whereas I would estimate that the modal average number of people at most weddings that I photograph comes out somewhere around the one hundred mark. I had wondered how the dynamic might work in terms of photography, in comparison to all those weddings that I had previously photographed. It’s easy to hide oneself amongst a hundred or so people but I couldn’t imagine that being the case amongst a small group of people and wondered if my presence might somehow tip the balance in the wrong direction, in terms of the comfort of those present. As things turned out in practice, logistically it felt no different to photographing a larger scale wedding and on a social level, if anything, I felt more fully integrated into the day than I had at those weddings where I might be more able to disguise my presence. It did of course help that they were all a lovely bunch of people to hang out with regardless of what I was there to do! :~)

The opening image has always been a favourite of mine from Pam & Martin’s wedding day, as Martin addresses his father whilst delivering his speech. I feel that it conveys a strength of connection between those in the image, both seen clearly and present in partial silhouette; such strength of connection being a strongly evident theme throughout the day. View full post »

One from every wedding I have photographed : A decade of weddings : 2010

#7 – Gabby & Gareth

From the starting point of accidentally becoming a wedding photographer, I photographed six weddings in 2009. In 2010, I photographed twenty-four.

Gabby & Gareth’s was my first wedding of that year and proved to make for an excellent start to my second season. Their wedding was set in the Dorset coastal hamlet of Osmington Mills with a foray into Weymouth in the middle, marrying in the village church followed by a meal in the relative metropolis then back to the local pub – The Smugglers’ Inn – for celebrations into the night.

Most of the guests were put up in a local caravan park and I stayed the night before the wedding in a caravan with Gareth and his best man, Danny, whom coincidentally had been a guest at my fourth wedding, that of Alison & Neville.

Multi-faceted individuals, both Gabby and Gareth are highly enthusiastic and effusive souls characterised by a wealth of empathy and warmth towards others and I garnered a great deal of emotional profit from my involvement in their big day.

There are many images from their wedding that epitomise, to me, the spirit of the day, the one featured here being just one of those.

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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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Sopley Mill Wedding Photography : Mat & Sam

In his opening enquiry email to me, Mat suggested that I was unlikely to remember him. He’d been one of two best men at a wedding that I had photographed all the way back in 2011, that of Rommalee & Dan. I did remember him well though as I did all of the key players at that wedding, one that had been seared into my memory in large part by virtue of what an excellent adventure it had made for but also, in part, due to the searing heat of a mid-day outdoor ceremony under the Andalusian sun. I’d been able to make Mat out clearly during the pre-ceremony preparations and later, as evening settled in, but everything was a bit of a blur during the ceremony as my eyebrows failed in their evolutionary duty to hold the perspiration back from my eyes. The photographs though were tack-sharp (praise be to modern auto-focus technology) and all composed as I would have wished (praise be to aspects of human visual evolution that quickly allow one to identify which blurry outlines are human and which are… other than human). Seven years later I looked forward to finding myself again amongst familiar faces, faces belonging to people that had made for an exquisitely energetic entourage. I’m all out of iteration now. :~)

By rights, having been set for the first weekend of the month of October and in the UK at that, Mat & Sam might not have expected anything approaching Iberian weather on their wedding day. 2018 had of course seen us enjoy (or not enjoy, dependent upon one’s personal feelings – qualitatively and quantitatively – with regards to temperature) the hottest summer since 1976 (if you were indeed there to remember that one; I was!). Then we had a September with more rain than a month of weddings might wish for. Come the day of Mat & Sam’s wedding though, the sun broke through with abandon; I dare say it was positively hot. It then rained the day after, underscoring all the more just how – deservedly – blessed they had been by the weather.

They married at Sopley Mill in Dorset. Built around 1780 and functioning as a working mill until 1946, Sopley Mill is a marvellous four-storey brick building… actually, I was about to write ‘three-storey’ but then I looked at an exterior photograph of the building and counted four. I have photographed a number of weddings at Sopley Mill and have always found myself traversing three storeys of the building. The additional storey is a mystery to me. I somehow find myself contemplating the film Being John Malkovich. Anyway… Sopley Mill is a marvellous four-storey brick building housing an array of rooms and spaces both small (and cosy) and large (yet still cosy in feel). It affords perfect flow for a full wedding day. As long as you don’t get lost in the mystery storey :~). This is the story of the day that Mat & Sam made there…

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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 »