2019 – I won three new awards
I’m not particularly fond of awards. I like to think I’m on the fringes. A bit like the Stewart Lee of wedding photography. I take pictures that I find interesting or funny and then hope that it resonates with people.
Fortunately my love of capturing real moments instead of staging seems to have struck a chord and I am incredibly fortunate to work with the most amazing couples who share in my vision. On a personal level, awards don’t really mean a great deal to me. The joy in the job is creating images that allow my couples to relive their day. Images that spark an emotional reaction. I’m also grateful that I never got fancy with my camera gear.
They probably mean very little to me because I am my harshest critic, too harsh in the opinion of those closest to me. I believe holding myself to the highest standards across all domains will not only improve my work, but also improve me as a person.
Awards are funny things. People who I’ve never met, judging images of people they’ve never met. When my work is so heavily predicated on the emotional connection the viewer has with the image, then surely the client can be the only real judge of an image? When you see ‘award winning’ on a wedding photographers website, it’s never followed up with the criteria of why the award was given, does that matter? I don’t know. This blog post feels like a stream of thoughts rather than a cohesive critique of a subject. I just start writing and see what happens. Now that I’ve written that, I guess at least you know that I’m not self censoring, and what I write is actually what I think.
I think what I’m trying to say is that my work has to resonate with you. You have to be able to see something in my images that sparks an emotion, triggers a positive reaction. Awards and client testimonials can re-enforce those feelings, but awards on their own can’t tell you that I’m good. I’m a big believer in that you, the viewer, knows what’s good already, only sometimes you have to see it before you know what you’re looking for.
This is a very long winded way of announcing that I won an award. Three awards in fact.
I like to think on things, assess, and then really try to think about how I feel about it. Writing helps me think. Writing for me is thinking.
It’s very easy to get caught up in the world of seeking recognition, becoming hell bent on winning certain awards as a mark of prestige. What I don’t like about it is how black and white it is, you either win an award, or you don’t. It’s not a dialogue or a critique from someone you admire. It’s a catalogue of images that the judges either like or they don’t. I only enter awards where the judging is conducted by peers who I admire, it’s very easy to forget that no one really cares about my ‘artistic vision’ if the product isn’t of high quality. I could in theory win every wedding photography award but have endless client complaints because I’d only chased an image that would win me an award, rather than documenting the day properly.
In this instance, this award feels jolly lovely as I’ve managed to deliver on both quality of narrative, super happy clients and also images with artistic merit which the wider wedding photography community has acknowledged…which is nice.
Below are the images that won. What makes these awards doubly funny is that I don’t think it’s my best work, so I immediately find myself in a stupid position where I’ve won an award, but the excitement is immediately tempered by the fact that they didn’t choose my favourite picture, so who is the arbiter of quality?
I can only re-state what I’ve mentioned hundreds of times before. It comes down to you, the client. You’re the people that count. When you choose to work with me and come away with a selection of pictures that you love, then that’s all that matters.
Like my work and my philosophy?
Feel free to send me an email and ask any question you like, I’m a real person at the end of the email and more than happy to help!