Documentary and reportage wedding photography has taught me observational lessons I don’t think I gained from my experiences in alternative photographic medium guises. Mirroring is something I see often at weddings, and this image displays that in exceptionally simple terms. As a record photograph from the day, this ticks that box.
COTSWOLDS WEDDING VENUE: Dumbleton Hall Hotel
SHOOTING DATA: Canon 5D Mk2, 24mm lens, F1.4, 1/500, ISO 2500, under exposed by two thirds.
Having suggested humour as prerequisite for a sterling wedding party, let me also propose that a groom able to absorb the odd taunt or three is equally responsible for helping the party to go with a swing. Was I mildly surprised to find the cake topping featuring our groom modelled as Shrek? Perhaps. Darren, you’re a man with an uncommon ability to take all the best man can throw at you, and then greet him at the bar later with a pint. Fear not Darren, you… were… Googled. Look forward to the return visit when he requests the same of you.
I’m thinking of this as our own New Year honour. Each year a pictorial list featuring a pick of the wedding photographic crop is presented by internationally renowned wedding resource company Junebug. The ‘Best of the Best’ list pulls from an annual archive of international photographers, many of whom inspire me as I go about my work. Luminaries in this year’s list include Marcus Bell, a much respected and beautifully humble Australian photographer working out of Brisbane who travels the World mentoring professionals in the art of wedding photography (his award list being so populated he surely must have a trophy room), Jim Garner and Jeff Newsom, revered American photographers placed within an industry publication list as two of the top ten wedding photographers in the World, and Jerry Ghionis, a wedding photographer who has inspired a generation of new artists. To be included in the 2010 list is a fabulous honour. To sit alongside some of the World’s best was somewhat of a surprise when the list was announced and a fabulous start to 2011. The selected photograph was taken at a church in Leicestershire in real time, unstaged during the register signing. Often this is a natural moment that is closed to photographers. Fortunately the priest concerned was somewhat more open to photography and emotion. It’s thanks to him and his rather more open and contemporary approach to my industry that made this image possible. My thanks to bride and groom Andy and Fran. You stepped into the light fabulously.
I love a good wedding. I love a good black and white. For fear of accusation that I may be repeating myself, the simplicity of this medium and the attention drawn to composition and light when reproducing mono-chromatically is what makes the digital darkroom so exciting. In binary land, the process is thus. You usually start out with a full colour image, drag it through a series of black and white conversion techniques, digitally dodge and burn, fade and pop, then stand back and observe, perhaps even self congratulate – if only for a moment. For the print purists, it may not be the develop, fix and stop method where your clothes smell vinegary for a week after, but for me, the digitised darkroom excites me none the less. I expect to return a fairly decent count of colour images from weddings I shoot, but from Austen and Julie’s Wasing Park wedding, I’d just like to share some of the monochromes.