A Bruton Wedding
What a blinder of a summer that was! My feet have not hit the ground, and all good intentions to take October off, or at least, take it easy have gone to wall with some wonderful projects which I just couldn’t resist taking on. November, I promise myself (and my family) will be for me and them. It starts with a whistle stop trip to India for a few days – so a few photographs may grace this blog when I’m back.
So my apologies for not writing more this year but taking photographs, then writing about them, go hand in hand and are wholly personal – much as I’ve been tempted to, I can’t bring myself to delegate either of those jobs. So the writing plays younger sister to the photo taking. And I have been saving work throughout the summer to bring them all together here over the next couple of months. I hope you enjoy what I’ve been up to – I’ve loved every single commission and relish the opportunities that my clients allow me.
So first up is Gabrielle and Charles who were recommended to me by the team at Roth Bar and Grill (Hauser and Wirth Somerset. )I kind of get a little giddy when I have an enquiry for this venue. Set in the now established gardens of designer Piet Oudolf – I was photographing there just before the gardens and gallery opened and it was difficult to imagine how it would develop, and what it may offer me to work with. It now nestles impressively within the backdrop of the gallery and the opposing Radic Pavillion to the North inviting visitors to take to the paths to explore the light within it. I’d like to think that Smiljan Radić designed this space with an acute awareness off where the light would fall at certain times.
Gabrielle and Charles met with me at Roth a few months prior to the wedding.This time I use to gain the practical information, times, relevant people, and to get a feel for their aspirations for the day. I always walk into a wedding with open mind and very open eyes, it’s not until everything comes together on the day that ideas start fluttering. Starting at the most amazing interior of the resident farmhouse, Durslade. Every room holds it’s own innovative element of design, adorned with the unique artworks of two artists selected by Hauser and Wirth.
I mean… that wall paper!
Gabrielle and her bridesmaids spent the morning at the farmhouse – I’d be quite happy not to leave, but there’s a wedding to be had. With Chris Allen working his magic on the girl’s hair, I worked my way through each room documenting anyone who came in front of my lens. Plenty of time, and such a space to work in.
Making my way from Durslade into the heart of Bruton to At the Chapel where Charles and his groomsmen were enjoying everything that is good about this venue for the Ushers lunch. In contrast to the eclectic mix and sharp directional light of Durslade, this location is flooded with white light throughout the huge ecclesiastical windows bouncing off the white walls.
The short walk took us then to Bruton church to photograph arrival of guests, Gabrielle and her bridesmaids.
I always encourage some time away after the ceremony, just to take ten minutes away from everything to catch up with each other. A wedding day is a whirlwind, and its great to take some time together. Gabs and Charles made the trek up to the iconic Dovecote that stands proudly over Bruton.
Then back to Hauser and Wirth for canapés (and they were some canapies!) If you haven’t visited the Roth Bar and Grill, go! Go and eat.
Gabrielle was one of these brides who, despite putting so much thought into the day, made herself look effortlessly stylish. Less is alway so much more and simplicity reigned, such a great look, and timeless. How many brides think about this when selecting their style? I think Gabrielle will look back in 20 years and not be cringing at how she looked, because keeping things simple doesn’t date. The same with photography.
Dress by Elizabeth Soljak http://www.alarobe.com/
Speeches, prior to the wedding breakfast, were held in the oh so impressive Radic pavilion.
This incredible cake by The Bakemonger, almost rude to cut..
Evening dress also by Elizabeth Soljak http://www.alarobe.com/
I hope the images give you a taste of the day, thanks for looking through x
Wedding Photography in Dorset
I’ve no idea where that year went! Facebook has just reminded me that it was a year ago that Matt and Georgina got hitched in my home town of Shaftesbury in Dorset. So this morning I revisited some of their wedding photographs to share on here. It was how every wedding should be… dominated by love and friendship. A traditional church wedding in St James, Shaftesbury followed by a marquee in the beautiful setting of the family home in Dorset. It was a day full of sunshine with some balmy evening light, my favourite time of the day when everyone is slightly well oiled, relaxed and all the formalities are done and I can work candidly with the available light..
My work is so varied – one day I’ll be in the city making corporate and business portraits, the next will be sat in a field of corn with a three year old debating the likelihood of fairies hiding in the undergrowth. My business was built on wedding photography and I still learn so much every time I go out and despite being a wedding photographer for almost 25 years (eek!), I could never become complacent or make template photographs. Every wedding I photograph is seen with fresh eyes, and new people that I meet bring new opportunities. There certainly isn’t one size fits all with my work – some of my wedding clients request the photography to be wholly fly on the wall, for me to be invisible, others may wnat a full traditional coverage. I like to have that variety and to mix the two is probably my ideal. Whatever the style and genre of wedding photography you love, I can adhere to, but even with my fly on the wall coverage, I remove any element of snapshot wedding photography through my use of light and composition. These two elements are my go to on every job.
Weddings on location
I’m just working through some images for Sloanes who I often work with on both weddings and with their brilliant director of styling, Lisa Standerwick on various editorial projects. Its a creative relationship that has been developing for some ten years or more between us. So just to update their portfolio, there’s a few weddings that spring to mind last year. Not least this one of Carly & Dom…
Wedding Photography Dorset
I’ve been photographing Dorset weddings, in fact weddings all over Europe, for almost 22 years now – I still remember my first wedding, I think I was at the church two hours before the ceremony, preparing and checking – and of course, goal posts got moved and I soon learnt that a cool head and thinking on my feet was a key skill to take on….
My work is now so diverse, but there is nothing like a wedding to really concentrate the mind and eye. There is more going on at a wedding than any other job that I do. I love being around people, especially when they’re in celebratory mood and for me it is not so much about wedding photography itself, but about people who are a part of my clients lives. With the experience I’ve gained, I’m now adept at anticipating how people react and how a wedding unfolds along with all the emotions that go with it – so essentially, I’m an observer with a keen eye for light and design that surrounds people. I prefer to work, quietly and in a world of challenging myself to photograph the essence of a wedding within my own style rather than adhering to a formula.
We’ve been blessed with an incredible year which, until this week, has kept it’s promise of being a lot hot Summer. I think my delivery of logs was the cue for the temperature to drop- there is a sharp wind up here on the hill in Shaftesbury. I’ve got used to shooting portraits in Dorset this year at 9/9.30 at night at the height of Summer to escape the harshness of that midday sun. But my absolute favourite season is Autumn, which carries the Brimstone Reds and golds – everything is not quite so upright or perfect, but is lifted by that wonderful low light, which helps to keep everything alive just that little longer.
I run Bella West Portrait Days in Wiltshire, Dorset, Hampshire and Somerset, throughout the year – but in October and November, I set up a few more dates for those wanting portraits as Christmas gifts. Last weekend I was back at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire – a location I have worked at for many years and one that always gives me something new to work with through subtle changes in the landscape throughout the year. It was also lovely to see past clients, Gabi and Mark who held their Larmer Tree Wedding, four years ago and whose image (below) graces my gallery area of the Bell Tower. They bought along with them, little Emillia to be photographed at a place that is so special to them.
My usual vere towards black and white portraits has been put on hold I’m afraid, it would be an offence to remove the colour from these
Here are a just a few tasters – thankyou to all the families of Spike, Tiggy, Coco, Emillia, Beatrice and Alex for agreeing to have these few images showcased and I am very much looking forward to showing them their collection of portraits.
Larmer Tree Wedding
I am a big fan of stripping things back, keeping things simple and concentrating on the essence of a picture – with weddings this surely has to be about the people. How a photographer composes and creates pictures is often dictated by the emotive value of what is in front of them. This is particularly noticeable on those small weddings – a handful of key people, where observing them as individuals rather than as clusters of friends and family on a greater scale, enables a photographer to understand better the value of the day to them and the relationships involved. There is a journey of emotions that a photographer witnesses in the day such as waves of expectation, contemplation, euphoria, “wow, we can now breathe” and I am always wanting everything to slow down and for the day to be absorbed – it really does just go too quickly.
Follwoing their engagement at Longleat, Vanessa and Ayman fell in love with the elegance and unique landscape of the Larmer Tree Gardens and although they had concerns (as a I think most do) that the amazing weather may change, we were swathed in the heat of the warmest day of the year.
I was delighted to be invited to photograph their wedding at the Larmer Tree Gardens in Wiltshire – somewhere I have worked for many years and although am familiar with the grounds, it never fails to show new light and shapes through the natural regrowth or something being exposed through a changing season. That’s a relief, and kind of keeps me on my toes looking for something new! Vanessa and Ayman chose to keep their celebrations simple but with taste and small embellishments which made the day so personal to them. The dress was the epitome of elegance, a 50’s Hepburn inspired gown from LouLou Bridal, dream to photograph, and flattering to say the least. I used the shape to emulate the shape of the Tollard Royal bell that was stolen a few years ago from this spot. We seemed to be here at the right time with a shaft of warmth illuminating the wooded area that is normally so dark. The number of guests was kept to a handful of key people in Vanessa and Ayman’s lives including their beautfiul daughter Ava, Carys who is 14 and Vanessa’s niece Tilly as bridesmaids. By keeping the day small, enabled them to have the ultimate intimate wedding before a ‘minimoon’ at Lucknam Park.
Vanessa and Ayman allowed me to work around them, whilst sometimes dipping a toe into something more classical, utilising the architecture of the location and gardens. I am always conscious of couples being taken away from their guests for too long – yet a photographer needs that little nugget of time to get something special, it is how I like to work, getting that balance between being unobtrusive and efficiently getting something which very much stamps my own style within it.
For the third year, I am honoured to be a part of the International judging panel that is the Baltic Photo Awards at the I AM PHOTOGRAPHER festival 2013. This year the event takes place in Tallinn, Estonia, having in previous years taken us to Riga and last year Lithuania. So this event has become very special for me, revisiting likewise professionals but from throughout the world in the most beautiful of cities.
This is the 4th year the event has been held – from my first visit three years ago, the impressive set up and professionalism of the event didn’t go unnoticed. The team behind the judging produced a slick and professional public judging system which seems to have gone from strength to strength, providing a great system for the judges (electronic and print based).
But what bowled me over was the world class quality of the work coming out of the Baltics, some magnificent raw editorial prints, individual to the country and its social standing. One of the joys of judging for me is about reading stories within pictures, sometimes you make your own, sometimes you struggle to find something…but the Baltic photographers have a natural ability to tell the truth in their work, whether that be social or commercial categories and the narrative is often very clear and obvious.
The awards are however, open to all Internationals so not limited to Baltic photographers, I really challenge my UK and European photographers to be entering these awards, giving you an opportunity to test your skills against some of the best photographers in the world (I’m just not sure they know it). And heavily supported by Nikon – first prizes are not to be scoffed at, take a look at these babies…..! I also urge you to take a visit to this festival in March, not only to sit in on your images being judged for invaluable debate and feedback, but to use what can be a quiet time in our professional world to visit the beautiful city of Tallinn.
A slight change to the format this year, in that initial judging stage is online – open now those that go through will then be judged as prints at the public assessment.
Running from 28th – 31st March, the event this year also has workshops and the fantastic awards ceremony on the final night, sadly I am missing the awards ceremony as I fly out to the States and then to Vienna for the FEP conference in April.
Melissa and Andy celebrated their small intimate wedding a the Larmer Tree gardens in Wiltshire a couple of weeks ago. With Melissa’s family making the voyage from Australia to be a part of a quintessential English wedding. With the reception being held at Melissa’s mums lovely pub the Foresters, deep in the Wiltshire countryside.
The English weather proudly held her own by keeping the rain at bay and not letting the English side down, allowing the fun, frivolity and champagne to flow in what is that wonderful relaxed fashion that is The Larmer Tree Gardens.
I was treated to Melissa’s unquestionable elegance (as was Andy) which fits so beautifully within the colonial feel of the Larmer Tree wedding, a man with a fine moustache, some entertaining and magical children and a most exuberant granny on a space hopper – all making for a fine collection wedding photographs.
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