I love what I do. I’ve been shooting professionally since 1992 having started on a local newspaper. Now, I shoot weddings. If you asked me this 10 to 15 years ago and asked what would I be doing, to be honest, shooting weddings was the last thing on my mind.
Why do I say this? Growing up in England, generally, wedding photography was very traditional and..boring (there were many photographers who were shooting documentary-check out Denis Reggie, but we’re talking ‘mainstream’ here). There’s still a huge market for this but just not my cup of tea. It is of course all very subjective and there are many who will not agree with me. The photographer ‘directs’ the event, sometimes telling the couple how to stand, hold the knife this way, how to pose etc. Now of course, we’ve all heard of wedding photojournalism, and now it just seems to be an over used term. However you call it, I love to ‘document’ the day. Every photographer has a different interpretation it seems, but I try to follow a strict interpretation and not to interfere, without talking, interfering, reporting the naturally occurring events. This also applies to wedding details and set up shots.
When I arrived here in the States in early 2006 and having spent eleven years on cruise ships managing other photographers, I knew I wanted to stay in photography but I just wasn’t too sure what to do. The last few months of my career on ships I was shooting some model/fashion portfolios which was huge fun. Imagine shooting on location in ports in Barcelona, Spain; Nice in France to name a few.
I had the shooting bug back and just knew I had to get of ships as soon as possible. So, when I did arrive in the States and was busy setting up my life here with my wife, Marcie, I continued to shoot models and actors for their portfolios. I really enjoyed this and the challenge of coming up with new and original ideas. And I still enjoy shooting the odd model shoot here and there. It was when I took a trip to WPPI-Wedding and Portrait Photographers International in Las Vegas later that year and I realized that shooting weddings was the way for me to go. I met some amazing documentary style photographers including George Trifinovic, an international award winning Australian wedding photojournalist whose work just blew me a way. In fact, he had a huge influence on me immediately and I sat to work on looking at many photographers, not just wedding photographers for inspiration. Today, I still look at many photographers work and I love to meet many new and old faces here in town.
The key for me to keep improving my images is education and inspiration. For many photographers, it can be different things. For me, it’s studying the great photojournalists of the last century. Notice, they’re not wedding photographers. It’s important I think, in order to learn your craft and to continue to take great images, to learn from the best out there and of course, photography encompasses many styles and types. I continue to revisit Henri Cartier-Bresson. I just received my latest book ‘A propos de Paris’. Check out the WPJA, the Wedding Photojournalists Association. It’s a great wedding photojournalist resource for brides and photographer alike. I’m a member and acceptance is based upon certain criteria and the merits of your work. There’s such a high caliber of work here from all over the world, it’s hard not to feel inspired and run out and shoot.
I’m just starting to shoot other documentary projects that I love and really get back to basics. With a two year old and another on the way, this is a very hectic house. But you know what, I can’t let that become an excuse. These projects are personal and ongoing, just like cooking a slow stew. For me, I take the same philosophy when shooting, be it a wedding or something else, it’s all about waiting for the right moment and, as cheesy as it sounds, loving life. When it all comes together at the right time, it’s a natural high and I can’t wait to get back into the office and see the images.