Wedding Photofilms by Neale JamesWhat is a Wedding Photofilm?

Sound has played a pivotal role in my life, both professionally and personally. Prior to photographing weddings, I worked in radio as a broadcaster and programme maker. Quite unexpectedly in 2011, six years after I began photographing weddings, the medium of sound made itself heard again in a literal sense. The following short films are an audio and pictorial document of some of the couples’ weddings I feel privileged to have photographed. And whilst these films concentrate on still photographs, don’t be surprised to see an element of moving image now and then, usually during the introductory segments.

So what is a Wedding Photofilm? In the hundreds of weddings I have photographed I find myself emotively connected as much by what I hear, as by what unfolds pictorially. That could suggest I have an auditory leaning, though ironically I am employed for my visual prowess. It’s hard to forget a face. Certainly our photo albums and smart phones are filled with that detail and that’s testament to how dear pictures and sight are to us. The sound of our personal stories? Well, that’s a harder asset to bottle. Remembering what someone said and how they said it, or holding a voice that is now only an echo within our memory, is as precious as any photographic legend. And that’s what a Wedding Photofilm can record; the stills with the back story of real audio.

You could rightly argue the merits of wedding film makers at this stage and I work alongside a handful of such skilled professionals. I’ve set out my stall though to promote a subtle editorial style as a wedding photographer. My goal is to move quietly about a wedding serving as a photographic witness as unobtrusively as I am able to be and that is the real difference between producing Photofilms and attending the event as a video or film crew with the kit required to do their job well, such as tripods. And for many couples you know, that’s perfectly fine. For others though who want the photography to remain low key, it’s easier to lose myself in a crowd when sporting only a stills camera. It’s never been an argument of what’s better, simply how to do things differently, one such clear example being the narrative approach now used as introductory fayre in many of my short films.

To date I have photographed over seven hundred weddings and it is inevitable there have been pivotal moments where I have discovered things about myself and in terms of my vocation, how I make photographs. This following Photofilm is dedicated to a most courageous, unique and special person, her husband and her daughter. The back story to this wedding can be read within the blog posting for this Photofilm. It was the occasion that introduced me to presenting weddings as stills and sound in a film format. I’ll not forget this day. It remains with me every time I press record on the sound recorders I use for my work. I’m proud that I was a part of this day and ever thankful to Wilson that he is happy for me to share this film so publicly. Sarah and her story reminds me how incredibly important photographs and then audio can be as a legacy joined together. What you’re about to watch above was the first Wedding Photofilm. This, is Sarah’s Story.

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