Like any photographer, the way that I see the world and photograph it is a constantly evolving thing. I have been thinking more and more recently about the sort of photographer I want to be.
Am I a photographer that entirely creates and constructs their own vision of the world? Am I a photographer who purely documents without directing? Am I something in between?
My paid photography work is mostly wedding photography.
A wedding day is arguably one of the most significant events in a person's life and it's an honour to be a part of that. It's also fascinating to be in a position to document it. The day is usually fast paced and emotional. There are key moments that I know I need to capture; walking up the aisle, the first kiss, the first dance, and there are key people that I know the couple will want pictures of.
In some ways, these major milestones that happen through out the course of the wedding day are interchangeable. The faces change but the format and structure are similar. People get ready, get married, have a drinks reception, have dinner and then party.
If you took just one key picture of each of these sections of the day, you'd have a concise record but it wouldn't tell you anything about the story of those two people who are coming together, their friends and their family.
The more and more I think about it, the more I know that it's the story telling aspect of being a photographer that interests me and not just the story that makes up the key events of the wedding day, but the little stories. The seemingly insignificant. The things that will be forgotten if they're not recorded. What was happening in-between.
It's easy to view the wedding day as though it exists in isolation. We all become better versions of ourselves for a day. We have all of the people we care about in one room. We are riding high on a wave of emotion. But what about everything that came before and everything that will come after? Where does that fit in to the story?
When I first started photographing weddings, I spent a long time looking at other photographers' work and wishing I could recreate their beautiful, editorial style. Some photographers make every wedding look as though it's come straight from the pages of a high end lifestyle magazine. Like real life but more glossy. And then I realised that's not me.
Of course I want to find and photograph the beauty in the wedding day, but I also want to photograph what's real. The whole story rather than a carefully constructed, highly polished version of it. The laughter, the tears, the key parts of the day but also the little, unassuming in-between moments.
In a way in-between is padding. They are moments that book-end significant events. In day to day life, what you ate for breakfast isn't important but on your wedding day it's part of the scenery and I especially love it with real life creeps in. People getting ready at home, wearing their favourite slippers. Surrounded by pictures they've taken or books they've bought. The comfort of their familiar.
Here's to the in-between. The significantly insignificant. The backbone of any story.