the wedding

Imogen and Ben hired a professional photographer to shoot their wedding. But they asked me to take some photos too - I guess so they would have some less conventional photos to remember the day. This was great, because I was more than happy to shoot some rolls to capture this special day, but there was no pressure to capture everything or get everything perfect because they were paying someone else to take that pressure on board... and so I decided to give them my interpretation of the event.

I'm going to post some of the results below in chronological order, but I simply had to lead with the above image because it was the standout of the day for me, and embodies the perfect (non-standard) wedding photo: both bride and groom are in it, though not front-and-centre; the warmth of the room is captured with the lovely yellow tones; there is movement in the shot, which gives it a wonderful busyness; Imogen's dress is divine; and the drummer in the foreground tells you that there was a live band, and that adds to the authentic atmosphere that permeated the venue. I find this image basically flawless in terms of my personal standards and preferences.

I didn't take any photos inside the church. It's such a special moment between the couple - the moment they are actually wed! - but I find it intrusive and inappropriate to draw attention away from them in order to get up close with a camera, which is what I would have to do to get anything that I found interesting. Besides, everyone else was taking photos of the official moment, so I figured it would be covered. I was much more interested in what happened after people came out of the church.

People are always in such good spirits immediately after a wedding ceremony. My cynical side believes it has something to do with the relief one felt as a child when church was over; as Lisa Simpson says, after church is the best time of the week because 'it's the longest possible time before more church'. But of course it's more than that. People are happy because they have watched two people pledge to share their lives together. What a privilege to witness.

The lovely bride, and her lovely bridesmaid and sister, Portia. I was frantically shooting to make the most of the glorious sun that had emerged from the clouds and was giving everyone a stunning glow. But glow or no glow, that dress would make any photo look great.

I didn't actually get many of the bride and groom - and certainly not together. But the few I did get are really lovely. Not posed at all (another benefit of not shooting as the professional photographer - no posed shots necessary), they capture the two as part of the bigger event - how they fit into the day from the perspective of a guest, perhaps.

The other two female members of the wedding party looked divine too: the unique dresses, the understated flowers, the golden hair, and that sunshine.

Imogen had put so much preparation into planning the little details for the reception, especially the flowers. I kind of guessed that by the time she arrived at the reception she would be too busy to take in all the fruits of her planning. So when we were setting up in the morning, I took the opportunity to capture a few of those little things that made it feel so special.

Then there was the reception. I really just wanted to catch people unawares for the most part so I could, again, get a sense of the atmosphere. The venue was gorgeous, and people were having such a great time - and I think that comes through in the photos.

I used a yellow flash because the colours of the place were too warm to use black and white, but I don't like a normal flash with colour photos because it often washes out skin tones and, let's face it, the photos can be boring. So according to my visual records, the night was officially bathed in a sea of gold.

I'd like to finish with this image because it's definitely one of my top five images of the day. You might know by now that I really love photos of feet, and you will know even if you've only read this entry that I like unconventional wedding portraits. Add my penchant for colourful flashes into the mix, and here's a pretty perfect photo for me! This was just before the newlyweds left the reception. It had been a long day, and Imogen's heels had started to hurt (either that or she couldn't dance how she wanted while impeded by such pesky things as shoes). And so they danced without inhibition, and then they left. And they were married.


portrait of the week: will

What isn't marvellous about this photo? The answer to that question is, if you ask me, Not much. The clarity of the main subject (Will). The fact that these two are brothers. The excellent contrast between the two in terms of focus and expression. Will looking like some kind of Mexican model. The yellow flash making his skin look flawless. Such a great late-night moment.


money for rope

I usually avoid taking live photos of bands, for several reasons. For one, my cameras/lenses/preferred films generally don't allow for fast, low-light photographs without a flash. And I feel that using a flash is far too obtrusive for the crowd and, more importantly, for the band. Also, I don't want to draw attention to myself by constantly setting off a blinding flash.

So what was different this time? Well, nothing had changed in terms of my equipment; I still had to use a flash. But Money for Rope are so wildly frenetic on stage that I doubt they'd really notice the flash, let alone be distracted by it. By the time they played I had a few drinks under my belt too, which helpfully removed any issues regarding self-consciousness on my part.

The great thing about the stage at the John Curtin is that it's big enough to give a band like MFR, with their two drumkits, room to go mental, while also allowing the crowd to get right up in their faces as they do so. Even though Jesse didn't have a flash on his camera, him being there (and me not being the only one with a camera) also made me feel a little less conspicuous.

Apparently my flash wasn't bright enough for a lot of the shots. (I really do need to read the very complicated manual for my flash.) It's such a shame because this one, for example, would have been killer had it worked. Reaffirmation that working as an amateur photographer is a constant learning process, and each roll of film has at least a few disappointments.

But the shots that did work look beautiful in their dirty monochrome glory. I love the details that characterise this band as completely loose, from the grimy fingerprints you can see on the guitar to the beads of sweat that cover the bare skin (click to enlarge - it's pretty impressive). Because of this aspect of the images and the band, I think that the dusty, scratchy imperfections in the film (or the scanning) are a perfect match. I don't really have much of a conclusion here, except to say that seeing this band live is an impressive experience, especially when you push your way to the front and see all the chaos up close. So, you know, do it.