“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” – Albert Einstein
I’m sitting in front of my computer in my newly renovated studio. It’s painted bright yellow and black, just like the matching cushions and the rugs on the floor. It’s loud. Because I’ve never wanted anything plain. As soon as I buy something…I’ll customise it. I even bought an engraving machine just so that I could engrave my name onto anything I could find… My camera suitcases, bags and pelicans are all customised. One way or another I’ve found a way to make it mine. And then whilst going through my collection in a moment of reminiscing… I stumbled across an old camera… the shutter curtain got replaced..took more than 250K shots on it, and it finally retired from overuse (it has since been resurrected with a new curtain and a full IR hot mirror conversion)… And for a few brief moments of silence…I am suddenly began reflecting on my journey through my photography career. It’s been a never-ending learning curve. I’m forever going somewhere…. Where to? Who knows. Wherever the journey takes me. And I’ve often been asked…why wedding photography? It is a big deal to me…for someone to trust me with possibly the most intimate day of their lives. I’m one that lives for the challenge.
Weddings are live events. And in some sense you could say there is a typical formula for a wedding day…the bride gets ready in the morning with her bridal party, whilst the groomsmen drink beer…There is most likely a civil ceremony and then there is an exchange of rings and later on a cake cutting, a first dance and so on….Whilst a wedding could include any of these traditions, it’s simply not possible to predict the chemistry and that organic interaction between two people in love. And in order to capture that moment, to bring out that raw emotion in people, you need to make them feel like they can trust you. Too often, a mediocre photographer concentrates too much on the technical aspect of shooting a wedding, they’re paid to press the shutter, perhaps they would pose the couple and ask them to smile like a scarecrow for a few shots. They will probably stare at their watch a few times during the day, arrive after the make-up is done and ask the bride to pose for a preparation shot. They will also probably charge you extra to stay for a mock cake-cutting, and ask you to pretend to do your first dance…pack up, then call it quits for the day. They got the shots…nothing extraordinary, but the job is done. You’ll probably forget their name in a few years time and end up with a photo album that gathers dust in your book-shelf.
For me, it’s much more than that. It’s about living the moment through their eyes. It’s about seeing things others wouldn’t. You can learn so much from someone in just one day. And it’s not from talking to them. It’s from the little things people do subconsciously. From what magnets they put on the fridge, to how they fold a piece of paper. People close to me would tell you that I have a knack for picking up the smallest detail. I might wear thick glasses, but my shape recognition and attention to detail is most likely better than yours. It’s also about getting to know you in the shortest time possible, and capturing two people together in their natural element. For most people, it takes some time to loosen up; to show your true colours, which is why I don’t believe in putting a time limit on my coverage hours. And after the wedding, I’m not just your wedding photographer. I’m Oliver…someone who you’ll hopefully give a big bear hug to when we bump into each other on the streets…or on your call list when you have your first baby.
This is what I love. And this is why I do it.