A thank you note

I know I know, I do rather ‘bang on’ about the legacy of wedding photography. I often moot almost lyrical prose through these posts about expression, personal emotional motivation and so on, but you know what? I genuinely mean what I write. Does that mean at every wedding I’m a sentimentally floored photographic spectator, waiting or rather laden by the responsibility of gathering such emotionally charged social documentary that I can hardly breathe for the experience? Umm, no. See, that’s the beauty and sometimes frustration of this much misunderstood genre. I’ll sometimes be at a wedding where the event’s exceptionally quiet demeanour could fool me into thinking that my presence was only required as a tick on the list of ‘must have’ suppliers, and on those occasions, slowing down the pace of capture, standing back and watching for a while is a necessary form of story seeking engagement.

But just so easily and more often than not, a wedding has something of the feel of an evolving plot; story lines about places, people and their situations. That is why I unequivocally enjoy a wedding, for the many avenues of emotion traversed in say a nine hour day. When asked to shoot birthday parties in the style of my weddings, I’m never quite sure whether the same effect can be reached as these events miss, I think, the rise and fall of delicate human expression that affords me the chance to work the way I do.

So the reason for the words within this post?

I received a mail from a lovely bride who’s wedding I photographed at Donnington Grove in Berkshire early last month. Several lines in particular sounded out in siren like fashion, and although I’m lucky and privileged to receive similar mails, I just wanted to share some lines from that note. I’m always intrigued by parental response when viewing their offspring in wedding attire for the first time. It’s not all high emotion, weeping and Hollywood-esque exchanges. But you know, look a little closer, and I hope you’ll see that strength of feeling runs deep in these rather more gentle exchanges. In the bride’s words;

“For me, there were a couple of moments with my Dad which are so clear in my memory and you have captured them with such sensitivity I had the same swell of emotion looking at them.”

Black and white images of a bride being greeted by her father

But you know, just as potent for me Emma, is what happened next. You moved quietly following this last frame (above bottom right) through to the kitchen and stood looking out into the garden, really very still, save I suspect a dab of the eyes. No high drama, just quiet reflection. And for photographers, this is where the Canon 5D3‘s silent shutter mode is probably the best invention ever.

Black and white window lit portrait of a bride during quiet reflection

I was tasked with the job of capturing an heirloom picture, so if legacy was effectively this post’s sub heading, I’m pleased to share what you may consider a record shot above wedding photojournalism. The car below has been in the family for many decades, the transport of Emma’s parents to and from church just a few years ago (below left). You’ll not doubt date the image by the fashion of the day.

2 images of a bride and groom using the same wedding car - one set the parents of the bride

And to close, a final word from our bride of 2013 once more. The following image is, and I’ll be honest, somewhat of a grab shot. I often train my lens on the out going speaker at the conclusion of a speech, as sometimes the reward for speaking an eloquently textured expression of love, is a good old fashioned hug from someone they know and love. I almost missed this photograph as my eye was drawn to the next speakers preparing to speak. I’m glad I exercise a two eyes open approach of focus and composition, as I saw this moment unfold as I went to pass the line of focus. Oh, and thank Heavens for the 24mm lens. Thank you Canon.

“One which really hit me is of my parents, with mum kissing dad after his speech. I have never, ever seen such a lovely photograph of my parents. Thank you.”

Mother of the bride kisses her husband after his wedding speech

If you’re looking for a wedding photographer in Berkshire, and like my documentary approach to photography, I’d love to hear from you via the contact form on the main menu. In addition, if you’d like to view more of my photography and wedding Photofilms, please click through the galleries.

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