When I first took up photography and then later decided that I would make something more from it, I always believed that I would never be a wedding photographer. I am not sure why to be truly honest. Perhaps, it was a kind of fear that the expectations placed upon me would be too intense. Dealing with the dreaded bridezilla? Or perhaps it ran deeper than that. More about not being able to observe that much open love and connection when I had lost my own source of that human need. Regardless it was not on my radar of photography jobs to seek.
In 2010, with the support of our immediate family and more importantly with the support and agreement of our own two children, Isobel and I became foster parents and within a short period of time cared for a lot of children. We were at a stage in our family evolution that we had financial stability, we had raised two amazing children of our own and we felt that we had love to spare. We set out on this path as we wanted to make a difference, even if only for a few nights, to a child that had not experienced what we had given our own children. Love, support, respect and a safe home. The path of family disfunction, domestic violence and abuse are often generationally cyclical. We hoped that we could offer each child a view of what can be and imprint on them that there are alternatives to family connection.
Most of the children in our care were short term placements however we did have some long term. One such was when Jewel joined our family as a teenager. She was of a like age to our own children and quickly became an integrated part of our little nest. Jewel became one of us and was seen as a sibling to our own children. Suddenly she is an adult and independent and all grown up. And recently I was fortunate enough to not only attend her small family wedding with my children, but also was asked to be her photographer on the day. Perhaps because it was her, or that it was a smallish wedding, I don’t know. But my previous apprehensions about shooting weddings was not there. Sure I was nervous and didn’t want to stuff it up and have her not have great photos of her day. But this was my gift to her.
Being a street photographer I am always on the look out for the candid moments in a scene. The incidental scenes. So with that in mind I was able to capture the usual ‘everybody line up and smile’ shots of family and groups of friends and of course posed portraits of Jewel and her man Josh. But what I really enjoyed was capturing all the in-between. People getting ready before the ceremony. People laughing and juggling position as they get ready for a group shot. And most importantly, special moments shared between Jewel and Josh.
It was hard work. Being agile in moving between scenes and ensuring that I capture everyone. Not getting in the way of guests who were wanting to view the ceremony. This was especially important to me as I have attended weddings in the past as a guest and the photographers, with their big cameras and lenses, do not hesitate to stand in front of a guest to get the shot. This kind of irritates me as I believe that the photographer should work to document and capture the event with no impact to anyone.
When editing these images I made a conscious decision to have all of the more formal and posed images in colour and then all of the candid in-between shots in black and white. I felt that as a series of photos telling a story, the black and white images spoke of the nerves and laughter and energy of the day. The colour shots represented those moments in time when that energy and ‘noise’ paused for a moment. And people were being more genuine and themselves.
In shooting this wedding, I used the Fujifilm X-T2 camera. For lenses I chose the Fujifilm XF23mmF1.4 and the XF56mmF1.2 and swapped between these lenses depending on the setting. But for the most part the 23mm was the main lens. Add to this the Fujifilm EF-X500 on-camera flash. I used the flash for two reasons. The first is that before and after the ceremony all images were taken indoors. It was in a relative’s house that was long and narrow with natural light only entering the space from the front windows and the back windows. The second was that the ceremony was held outdoors in a beautiful garden park and the sun was shining brightly. As a result the ceremony was held in the shade of the trees so that flash helped the both brighten the scene and even out the dappled sun effect.
Has my fear of weddings been dissolved? It seems like it might have. Probably just as well as I have two more weddings to shoot this year. Happy shooting. G