For me, photography is a gateway to someone’s personality. It is a way to show someone’s true nature and what they were feeling in that split second of the shutter coming down.
Photos have fascinated me for as long as I can remember. I am a history lover, and I love how photos give you a glimpse into the past, but one issue I have always had is how photos of people from the past as so sterile and devoid of emotion.
I would often go to my grandparents when I was younger, and my nan would show me old photos of her dad and family. Old black and whites almost 80/90 years old. One was of him in his WW1 army uniform staring into the distance. Those typical headshots you see in war movies. The others were after the war; he was sitting with his workmates outside one of the local ironstone mines that he went down six days a week.
The photos fascinated me, but I could never make a connection with the person in the pictures. I knew his name, where he worked and where he lived, but I never knew what he was like as a person. All the photos were stripped with emotion, a sign of the times. You could see the effects the war had on him through the blank stare at the camera, almost as if he was looking straight through the lens. Years later, I found out that he had taken his own life because of the effects the war had on him.
I never knew him, just the man in the uniform from the photo.
I have this issue from photography from these photos and others my family has. If the photographer chooses to, we can remove someone’s sole from a photo.
Why I photograph the way I do.
I decided from the beginning that from every photo I take I want the viewer to have a small window into the personality of the subject. For me, the images should resemble real life. If a groom has a loud and boisterous nature, I want that to show in my photos. They should explain what makes someone tick, someone smile or someone cry.
Every time I look at a photo, I want to have that personal connection with the subject. It is this that makes photography captivating and beautiful. When I photograph a wedding, I love nothing more than capturing these special moments that make your hairs stand on end. The best thing is these moments are so small; most people don’t even know they happen. It is my job to seek them out and show the world.
I will always remember looking through my grandparent’s wedding album. It was such a beautiful moment the first time I saw it. They have been married just over 50 years, and it felt like walking back in time. It never told me anything about the day, though. There were no candid photos, no photos of people shedding a happy tear, or hugging, just lines of people with an awkward smile. I had to ask them what the day was like, dig for the finer details. That’s not photography in my eyes.
Times were different back then, times have changed, along with styles of photography. People haven’t changed, though. With every click of the shutter, I want my photos to capture not only a split second in time, but I want to capture the feeling.
You would think these big moments would only happen during the critical moments throughout the day, but I have found otherwise. Often at the quieter times throughout the day, people let their guard down and show their true feelings. These are often subtle but powerful moments, maybe a hand on a shoulder during a difficult time, a hug or a hand on a cheek.
It is these moments I love. Sitting back, watching and waiting and letting people be people.
This is why I photograph the way I do.