4/19/2016 0 Comments
Mickey and Yousouf met while studying at Staffordshire University at exactly the same time as me, though I never knew them! Even weirder still, Mickey also went to my school the same time as me too, and I still didn’t recognize her! Small world eh? I first met them last Autumn and instantly knew I wanted to be their wedding photographer (even though they hadn’t picked me yet!). As they told me about their plans for an Anglo/Asian wedding at Shrewsbury’s Morris Hall I was so excited! I love learning about different cultures, but living in a rural town like Shrewsbury you really don’t get to mix different kinds of people very often, so to have the chance to be a big part of an Indian celebration was too good to miss! The colour, the sights, the music, and the FOOD!
The wedding was everything I hoped for and more, I feel so privileged to have been a part of it and I really had the most fantastic time. Having the opportunity to photograph something very different to my usual subject matter was just wonderful, one thing use photographers love is a new challenge! You get so used to the traditional wedding set up and running of the day that you know exactly what is going to happen next, and therefore know exactly where you need to be at the right time. This was totally different! Even Mickey herself wasn’t totally sure what was going to happen (and the bridesmaids told me it is often done differently at every wedding!) so this was like being right at the beginning, but despite this I loved every second.
I arrived at the Morris Hall to a very nervous looking Yousouf, whose first words to me were to the effect of “I’m scared” but a little more graphic and unrepeatable! He was a good sport though and managed to keep it together for some pictures before things kicked off. I was eager to photograph all of the details of how they had so beautifully decorated the hall before the huge number of guests arrived, it would have been such a shame not to after all their hard work. The focal point being the canopy on the stage where the bride and groom would exchange rings. They had a loose ‘Lord of the Rings’ theme with the tables named after places in the story, and of course the rings themselves had the famous inscriptions (Yousouf told me that he used to say he had been watching the films just to impress Mickey!).
I was completely dazzled by Mickey as she got out of the car. There was a brief moment of sunshine between driving rain and even hail stones(!) where I took her last photographs as a Miss, drinking in all of those incredible details of the henna, armfuls of jewellery, and her red and gold dress. She probably thought I was a crazy person as I couldn’t stop staring! Just an absolute vison of beauty.
The Imam started by asking both the Bride and Groom separately if they consented to the marriage, and then asked Mickey's brother Jamie if he gave his permission. If all were happy to go ahead, the Imam then went on to say a few words in Arabic memorized from the Koran (I wasn’t allowed to take photographs at this point for religious reasons). The end of the speech marked the end of the official part of the ceremony, which meant Mickey and Yousouf were married before they had even set eyes on each-other. Yousouf was then led out of the hall to another room, and the crowd eagerly anticipated Mickey’s entrance. She was walked down the aisle by Jamie to the thumping sounds of Bangra music (which I love, this wedding just gets better and better!) and sat under the canopy with one of her doting bridesmaids.
The door opened and Yousouf was allowed into the room to see his Bride, but this came at a price. Two more bridesmaids stood at the door and wouldn’t let him in until he had presented them with numerous envelopes full of cash (no money, no honey!). With nearly empty pockets, they led him up the aisle where he had to pay the last bridesmaid all he had left, so he could finally be with his Bride to exchange the rings.
The rest of the day was much as you would expect from a Western wedding. Family group photographs, hilarious speeches, cutting of the cake (which as you can see was AMAZING!), mountains of absolutely delicious Indian cuisine (best food ever!) and thankfully a little bit of sunshine when I took the happy couple off to The Quarry just a short walk away for some cute couple portraits, my favourite part of the day. Their wedding attire along with the colours of the perfectly manicured Spring blooms in The Dingle were just screaming to be photographed, and they were more than happy to spend a few minutes peace and quiet while I snapped away.
If I could have, I would have shared every single photograph from this incredible wedding, I love them all! However I hope this small selection gives you just a flavour of what a brilliant day it was for everyone! Thank you so so so much Mr and Mrs Russell Siab for having me be the one to capture all of that awesome stuff for you. I think I can safely say I LOVE Asian weddings now, so I really hope this isn't my last!
"Photography does one thing that no other art form can do, it stops time. Photographs are time stopping devices. That moment or millisecond of our existence, the relentless march of time, is held and frozen... and so I feel that the 'snapshot' is what photography does best...there's something very poignant and wonderful about it".
I heard the above words spoken this week as I was sat at my desk working on wedding photographs (or 'wediting' as me and my photographer friends call it), listening to an interview on the radio with the author William Boyd. I stopped for a minute and really let that sentence sink in. Somebody out there in the space a few seconds managed to sum up perfectly for me the reason why photography is my passion, my everything, and why I feel I've got the best job in the entire world.
My job, the thing that pays my bills and keeps me busy, is the act of stopping time for other people. Its storytelling in it's most beautiful form. Its creating a documentation of one tiny moment in a lifetime that will never be repeated.
It's people's lives.
The photo we love is where we are dancing at the end of the night to Proud Mary. It shows the happiness of the day in just one photo, capturing the love , fun and cheekiness of our relationship and wedding day. We smile every time we see it! When times are bad or tough we all always have this to take us back to the moment when were so overwhelmed with love and happiness. A true capture of us" - Andrew and David
You see the phrase 'making memories' chucked about a lot these days (usually with a hashtag attached), it's almost become a throwaway thing, something to use on our social media profiles, bordering on cheesy. Making memories is important of course, but the phrase for me has lost all meaning. I take my role on a wedding day incredibly seriously. You'll see me jumping and running around like a loony, laughing and smiling with you and your loved ones, but the whole time I'm ridiculously focused on creating the very best possible images I can for you. Photography is a serious thing, and without getting too philosophical and arty about it, most of the time the weight of an image doesn't hit you until long after the event took place. It's like something as small as a facial expression or a hand gesture that is easily forgotten about that suddenly floods back to you one quiet rainy Wednesday. In a moment, the significance of the insignificant means a thousand times more to you than you ever knew it would.
A good wedding photographer will capture these things for you, they will know these 'snapshots' are coming before they happen. Good photographers care one hell of a lot about their clients, because they care about the authenticity of their work, and they know how serious and absolutely essential the task they are appointed to do is. We are literally there to contribute to part of a family's history, immortalized for all time. It doesn't get much more serious than that.
There are a thousand different well written blogs and articles out there about the reasons you should hire a professional photographer (like this one) and not just rely on your Uncle Bob with a fancy camera, so I wont preach (plus writing really isn't my strong point, I'm a photographer, not J.K Rowling!), but something that these articles don't point out is just how much our clients lives become a part of our own. We capture a wedding day for other people, but at the same time we provide our couples with their day from another person's perspective. We leave a little bit of ourselves in our art, and in order to do a good job we immerse ourselves, we feel involved, we care. We reel with delight when our couples announce they have a baby on the way, get a new job or buy a puppy! We also feel the deep sinking sadness when we hear the loved ones we photographed smiling away on that special day have become ill or passed on...your lives are our lives, we love what we do, because we love people, and we want to make people happy.
"The moments that are captured in-between mean so much more in a way because these are the pictures that sum up the real day, just full of smiles and laughter. I love the fact that when we look back on these we are taken right back to that moment and all the emotion, smiles, laughter, excitement and love felt at that very moment come flooding back. I know we will look back on these images in years to come when we're old and grey and still remember how we felt in that exact moment" - Sara and Josh
I asked some of my past Brides and Grooms to pick out one photograph from their special day and say a few words to describe why that particular moment was so important to them. I felt hearing it from their mouths might just put into perspective what I struggle to explain when people ask me what it is I love about this job. The responses were so heartfelt and genuine I wasn't at all ready for the floods of tears!
So thank you guys, YOU are the reason wedding photography is the best job in the world.