award winning documentary wedding photography

Why did I submit this image? It’s pure serendipity. I do not know how it happened, sometimes the frame just appears in front of you. There is something of the arabesque in the composition. The gaze leads the eye across the frame, starting in the bottom left and flowing to the top right. The man outside the shop looking back to rebound the viewers eye towards the bride. Seriously, what are the odds of that guy appearing right at that moment? Madness! I take a great deal of pride in these sorts of images as they have absolutely no intervention from me. I have had friends ask me if I set it up. This completely underpins the philosophy of what I do and how I do it. It’s pure wedding day magic. No intervention, no staging and no posing. A fleeting moment where everything in the universe aligns, a fraction of a second later, it’s gone. These moments occur, you just have to be in the right place to see them.

award winning documentary wedding photography

Award winning documentary photography

2017 has been a fantastic year for me so far. Incredible weddings, wonderful clients and to top it off I’ve won two new awards. I have never coveted awards as they are subjective. Social media users are more than happy to remind you of that. Only last week did I see an award winning image with the outraged comment beneath it “how did that win!”. Are the judges more enlightened? Possibly. With experience comes a discerning eye, however new awarding bodies appear quite regularly in the photographic sphere and ‘award winning’ is often banded about on photographers website. My love of philosophy has always steered me away from the seeking any kind of notoriety as it is often vacuous and fails to nourish the soul, only serving to inflate the ego.

There was a brilliant documentary on the BBC about aborigines a few years ago which helped put this into perspective. The aborigine was in a cave full of paintings that were roughly a thousand years old. He noticed that the eye on one of the beasts had faded and decided to re-do it. The presenter was startled by this as of course the painting was a genuine artefact. The aborigines response was that we’re all part of the same consciousness and the my hand is my ancestors hand, driven by the same needs, desires and connected to the same land. This is mind altering stuff. In my opinion, It’s a much healthier view of the world. Understanding that we merely occupy a space in time and that time will continue without us. Not placing too much importance on our own single isolated existence and to understand that we are merely a blink in the time-line of existence, only contributing to the whole, never the whole itself.

There is a great story that Simon Sinek uses in his motivational speeches about a former secretary of defence. He arrives at the airport, is chauffeured to the hotel, is checked in by his staff and then chauffeured to the venue to give a speech. The following year he is no longer the secretary of defence, but is invited back to the same conference. No special treatment, no chauffeurs, no assistants, PA’s or staff. The point of the story, is that all of those privileges belong to the Title, not to the person. If you’re the president, the manager or the award winner. Any privilege belongs to that title and not to you on an individual level. You merely occupy that space until the next person comes along. Bill Hicks also believed this. His advice on comedy was ‘always be nice to the new guy’. The new generation will come and replace you, always. Ad infinitum. No matter how good you are, how famous you are, how wealthy you are, the new guy will always come and take your place.

What I’m really getting to is that fact that I need perspective. I often struggle with the need to keep up with blog posting, social media updates. I see photography being reduced to ‘content’. The discussion of whether it can be art rages on, but the speed at which photographs are produced surely dilutes it’s claim to the title? Can mass production be art? Maybe in a Jeff Koons kind of way, but I digress. I feel no need to create ‘content’. I do not wish to see the form of visual communication that I love so much reduced to a fly by scroll and double tap.

The masters of wedding photography award I’m proud to have won because it has integrity as an awarding body. The judging is thorough and standards are incredibly high. It’s wonderful to be in such great company – some of the best wedding photographers in the UK have won a masters award. It is a great honour to have your work, endeavour and photographic skill recognised by your peers. I’m grateful to all those involved with the masters of UK wedding photography for the nod. 

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