After one of those conversations that you end up having in the pub, I was asked to write a blog post on my unique take on wedding photography and how I use iconic images as inspiration for some photos.
Those that know my photography and me know that I don’t like to do things the easy way and always like to look for the alternative. I don’t want my photography to be like everyone else’s and I’m always pushing myself to produce ‘something different’.
Back to that conversation in the pub, with another professional photographer (who I highly respect). They were saying that what they liked about my wedding photography, and what they thought made my work stand out from other wedding photographers, is that I tend to approach it differently. I come from an image making background. I’ve got a degree in Fine Art and spent 6 years at college and university studying art, History of Art, image making and creativity. I’m also super passionate about photography and what’s happening with image making at the moment in lots of different disciplines of photography, not just wedding photography. I spend more time looking at environmental portraiture, editorial photography and new movements in photography, than I do looking at other wedding photographers. I think that this really helps me produce some unique images for my clients and makes their wedding photos stand out from other peoples.
I’m also fascinated by iconic images and it was this aspect, which the other photographer recommended that I show some examples and talk though my thought process with the images. I like the idea that I can shoot a photo that was inspired by an iconic image and it is already in the viewer’s consciousness. Even though the photo may have been taken last month, it already feels familiar and people can relate to it.
So here goes. This is the first example. It’s taken from an image that was shot by David Baily (arguably the best and most well known photographer that Great Britain has produced). I LOVE this man. Full Stop. Nothing more to be said about how great he is. So back in the 1960s he had these two brothers come into his studio and he did a portrait session with them. The two brothers were called Ronnie and Reggie. Their surname was Kray.
I’ve always liked this image; there is something about the relationship between the two subjects that just works and I thought would suit a groom and his best man. When I discussed this idea with Paul (the groom) he loved the idea of being one of the Kray’s and didn’t mind me setting up a light in his living room while they were getting ready. I’m really pleased with the result and also love the photo I took a split second later when both the groom and the best man cracked up laughing, after struggling to keep a straight face for longer than five seconds.
OK the second example comes from Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper. I’ve had a fascination with this image ever since learning about it at Art College while studying the renaissance painters. The original is so powerful and I’ve been trying to do a homage to this at a wedding for the last four years. I’ve always looked at top tables and thought that they could bear a passing resemblance to this image. I’ve got it almost right a few times, but I’ve never been happy with it. That was until I was at a wedding earlier this year. I’d set up my lights for the speeches and suddenly saw the table and thought, that this could work with the plain background. A quick discussion with the bride and groom, a quick image search on my iPhone for reference and a quick gathering of the users and bridesmaids and we were ready to go. I couldn’t replicate it exactly, as I only had two minutes to shoot it in and really didn’t want to start guiding people and turning it into a massive photoshoot as the speeches were just about to start, but again I’m super happy with the result.
The final image that I’m going to show is another group shot. The groom from this wedding is a massive Mod. I love his style and although I only met him the week before the wedding and I didn’t meet the bride until the morning of the wedding, I just knew that they would be up for having a bit of fun with their photography. So taking the Mod theme and knowing the cover of the Quadrophenia film poster, I set up this shot in front of a ‘gritty’ background at a fantastically beautiful wedding venue in the heart of the Cotswolds. We probably found the most un-photogenic part of the venue but it worked so well for this shot.
Now none of these shots are meant to be exact replicas of the original images, however, I’ve used the original images as inspiration for some shots. I love that with my wedding photography, I can look for inspiration from lots of different sources, it could be in photography, art history, popular culture, in fact inspiration could come from anywhere!
I love the fact that my clients have the confidence in me and allow me to push my wedding photography and produce images that hopefully stand out from the crowd and for that I’m ever so grateful.