2018 welcomes me into the sixth year of being an official photographer. Sixth! I have avoided writing alongside my photographs up until now because simply put, I am not a confident writer. But with all the good will of a New Year I would really like to try to work on these lapses of confidence and so I am going to attempt to write a post every four weeks. I have the best job on the planet in my eyes and I thought it would be nice to share with you the things that inspire me, which in turn inspires my work. I also thought that someone somewhere might be interested in what goes on behind the scenes as a Photographer. Usually I would upload a new post a month or so behind whats going on in real-time so it’s these monthly posts that will allow me to share my current work processes. As I write this on another soggy January day here in Hastings I hope you enjoy these words from me to you.
January | travel
This first month has been a gentle nudge north and to the west of my coastal home for shoots and meetings.
Lewes: Considering Lewes is so close to Hastings I don’t know it well at all so I immediately thought of Deidre. Deidre is one of my 2017 Brides who married Oisin in The Wild Atlantic Way, Ireland, last November. She works in Lewes and so I asked if she could recommend a good coffee shop there. In true lovely Deidre form she immediately replied and said that I should try to have the lime and coconut vegan cupcakes if I could! I was early to the meeting and found this lovely recommended cafe called Ground. This cafe is tiny. You can fit perhaps five people in there and a dog. I found a spot in the corner and saved a couple of seats. Alas, the very thing I was looking for – the lime and coconut goodies – were sold out! I opted for a banana bread and my favourite: a cappucino. I looked around in comfort in the corner with my cake and coffee and saved seats for Amy and Sam. I had a listen to the other customers’ conversations.The barista was an actor who was filling in for the day for his friend. He told this to everyone in the coffee shop. I love to hear people proud of what they do. One lady was a forager who runs workshops in the area where groups of people can make their own pesto and meals and cited the importance of going back to being practical, enjoying company and eating naturally. Another customer nonchalantly spoke of his days in a band.. It might sound pretentious but I felt at home here amongst the creatives. When another couple came in and asked to sit in the two saved spaces opposite me I thought that the dynamic of speaking all things wedding, something so personal in such a tiny space just wouldn’t cut it. I offered up my seat and met with Amy and Sam elsewhere. I’m shooting their wedding at Buxted Park next month which is really exciting.
London: When Danny and Zoe had asked to meet me in 2016 to discuss a potential booking for their Majorcan wedding I wasn’t sure where to meet them. They suggested London Grind – two minutes away from London Bridge Station. Ever since that meeting this is my go-to meeting spot. With a neon sign that says ‘when man is tired of London he is tired of life’ and exposed brick walls so close to the station it’s a pretty awesome place. Great coffee too. It’s this time I met with Melissa and Pardaad. My very close friend Sophia had recommended me to them to discuss shooting their London wedding later on this year. An autumnal city hall wedding that will feature some Iranian traditions, a shoot in the park and a walk to their reception venue: a chilled out DIY hall. I’ve photographed over 100 weddings now and I suppose I forget how daunting a prospect it must be to organise a wedding when you haven’t necessarily been to many before. It’s great though, to meet a couple and discuss the general guidelines to a day -and there are guidelines: prep, ceremony, group photos, portraits, speeches, cake cut,first dance. It reads very formulaic when you look at it this way – you might wonder “where’s the romance in that?” – but ultimately there are deep rooted traditions to a wedding. Wonderfully intricate ceremonial moments that your Mother and Father endured and their Mother and Father endured. It might wear a different style of dress from era to ear but the bones of a wedding ceremony are there and the couple bring the heart and the energy and style. We chatted all things wedding over our smoothies (in a coffee bar) this Saturday afternoon and I left feeling really warmed at having met two very lovely people who now felt a little clearer about their day but most importantly were excited for it!
www.grind.co.uk/londongrindMelissa and Pardaad have since booked me to shoot their wedding and I am so looking forward to taking their photographs.
January | shoots
January | learned
High end retouching. Yes it seems that 2018 is the year I have finally taken the time to properly practice retouching. For years I’ve dismissed the idea because I so wish that people could see how gorgeous they are. Man or woman we all fall victim to not feeling good enough for whatever blemish or reason and it’s my job – especially in Portraiture – to try to quell any major insecurities. The holy grail of affirmation is ‘oh, I look quite nice there!’ Many people will view a photograph I’ve taken and say ‘oh, it’s nice but i’ll try to not look at the wrinkles.’ I didn’t want to take away wrinkles because wrinkles tell a story but I’m learning that it’s fair to find a restfulness in the skin. It feels good to learn, get out of my comfort zone and enhance my skill set.
Inspired | touched
Read and weep at this brave, wise, special letter by Holly Butchers, 27. I had a cry, nodding and agreeing with everything she had written, thankful for her positive energy in this world.
I printed a couple of photographs for John and Kate who are the beautiful Anna‘s parents. As Anna has been so kind and braved all weathers for shoots for Tara Deighton I couldn’t charge them. They still bought me flowers and paid for Elliot and I to have a hot chocolate at the gorgeous Crown pub on All Saints Street. We thoroughly enjoyed our hot chocolate and game of Draughts on that Thursday afternoon after school. ..The kindness of strangers.
I also wanted to write a special little something for my wonderful friend Emma. No matter what she encounters she pulls her socks up and she moves forward with an optimism and positivity that constantly inspires me. She cares. And that is a constant strength and lightness to everyone around her.
Inspired | music
Gregory Porter – Hey Laura
‘May the river of your love flow uphill to me’…My sister informs me I’m quite late to the party and that she has already had this on her playlist for a year but I first heard this one Sunday washing up after lunchtime in the kitchen. Elliot was watching Pokemon in the living room.. a lovely lazy Sunday. Sweet sweet soul.
Keaton Henson – To Your Health
Not for the faint hearted pop-lover by any means as this one is a full on ‘sad song’ but I just can’t help but love Keaton Henson’s music. This mans’ musicality and emotion is astounding. He has a classical album as part of his repertoire that is equally as stunning as any of his lyrical songs. In his film for ‘To Your Health’ a ballerina dances on concrete in front of Keaton. Throughout this film you can hear her shoes scrape across the floor as she dances and it’s beautiful down to her sigh at the end. Watch it just for the dance.
Keilan Creech – Honey Waits
Soothing sounds of which I had on repeat for at least three days.
Inspired | words
In relation to the more mellow tones of my choice in music; heres a quote I spotted and quite liked in Glass magazine by Italo Calvino :
Melancholy is sadness that has taken on lightness
I’m currently reading a Patti Smiths M Train. She talks about a “fascination for melancholy” and I can’t help but admit defeat in my agreement. It’s to my detriment sometimes I’m sure as I tend to go looking for it- but I can find beauty in the bleakest of midwinter.
January | looking ahead
I’m going on a rare date to watch Chris Rock’s stand up show in London and then I have a wedding meeting this coming Sunday on our dear old Hastings Pier that I’m really looking forward to. February brings one wedding, two maternity shoots, five engagement shoots, a wedding fair and a break for Half Term that includes…a house move! The deal has finally, officially been made and it’s confirmed that we have our first property. I can’t tell you just how far off the idea of a mortgage was just a few years back so I’m taking the time to enjoy these moments of good fortune and contentedness.
With warm winter wishes,
**a date for your diary**
Join us for A MIDSUMMER NIGHTS DREAM at The Pilgrims Rest in Battle on Sunday the 25th of February from 11-6pm.
Even though the winter is still upon us, we’re looking forward to balmier days and have,once again, handpicked the very loveliest and most original wedding suppliers, to offer you the ultimate inspiration for your special day.
Come and see this breathtaking Elizabethan building nestled next to Battle Abbey for a day of magic;
See the ancient beams garlanded with hop vines and fairy lights, tables laden with the seasons finest, and twinkling candlelight throughout the timber frame building and romantic garden.
At Bespoken, we look for the very best of local suppliers, who offer the most interesting, unique and highest quality products and services! We know that these lovely people can make your day out of this world and fill it with magic!
The Pilgrims Rest
Tara Deighton Bridal & Bespoke
Natasha Valerie Makeup Artist
Boxed – Luxury Gourmet Boxes for Weddings and Occasions
Georgina Piper – Photographer
Wedding Rose Videography
Lulabelle Wedding Hire
We hope you can join us for this unique experience and look forward to helping you create the most magical of weddings!