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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…

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I’d found myself a lovely B&B to stay at just a few minutes drive down the road and when I awoke on the morning of Sophie & Donald’s wedding, it was to a thick blanket of Norfolk early-Winter fog stretching across the landscape. At least I assumed that it was stretching across the landscape. I couldn’t see further than the hedgerow across the road from my bedroom window. Finishing breakfast and getting suited up, I carried an image in my mind of a photograph – a photograph as yet unmade – a photograph of Voewood House rearing out of a bank of fog, like a Viking longship emerging from the fogs of the North Sea and descending upon the shoreline. By the time I’d made the short drive to the venue the fog had receded fully. The one time you’d wish for what might be deemed bad weather to linger on a wedding day and what does it go and do? So I went for house emerging from the forest in place of longship emerging through the fog…

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Enough of my flights of fancy…

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When I explored the Web site for Voewood House, in preparation for my visit there, in looking at all of the photographs on the site I found myself thinking, “What a marvellously idiosyncratic place!” Then I found text on the site that described it as “a most violently idiosyncratic house.” Agreement then on it being idiosyncratic but perhaps the variation in my take evidences a gentler outlook on life :~) The place truly was a visual playground.

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I imagined it being a fantastic place for a group of people to take over fully for a weekend and to have a resoundingly good party therein, free of the shackles of commercially imposed schedule and fixed curfew, all of which of course was exactly the intention…

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… After a little spot of housework though :~)…

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Linda makes final checks on the wedding dress she made for Sophie…

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Sophie had skilfully hand-crafted an array of paper hearts and flowers, buttonholes and a bouquet to adorn and decorate the wedding day…

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Donald is himself an avid photographer, a really very good one at that, and has some kit that I might, just might be a wee bit envious of :~)…

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An engaging series of pre-dinner speeches were delivered from the bottom of a staircase, and no better place to do them from, to my mind…

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Cake toppers crafted by Sophie & Donald’s friend, Shu, sat atop a delicious cake made by Sophie’s Dad, Tim…

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Table names came in the form of photo-books featuring Donald’s creative endeavours…

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That’ll be my dinner, freshly served up :~) It was delicious…

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The pegging game. An old tradition amongst Sophie & Donald’s friends and family. Really rather good fun. It went on throughout the evening…

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I’m not sure if there’s a points based system involved in the game but if so :~)…

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Some talented musicians in the family…

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… And singers too!…

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Congratulations Sophie & Donald and thank you ever so much for having me there to observe and to experience and to discursively meander my way visually through your thoroughly enjoyable party of a wedding day, and thanks to you and your guests for being such excellent people to spend time with!

Contact Voewood House Wedding Photographer Phillip Allen : phill@misterphill.com : 07870 696248

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