Monthly Archives: July 2010

Memories of a Summer

Vanessa and Mikes wedding (87 of 536)

Yesterday was my wedding anniversary and in true sympathetic background it poured down all day. In fact, ever since a hosepipe ban was put into place it has in fact rained pretty much every day. It looks as if the English Summer has been and gone and for those that are interested it was the last weekend in June (which was when this picture was taken). But today, fingers crossed I head off to sunnier climes! Friends will know the passport saga so I will not bore you with it again but hopefully I will be in Greece in approximately 9 hours time. Obviously, this will mean the blog going dormant for a short while but I do intend to try and update it whilst away at least a couple of times depending on technology.

This will be a good opportunity to get some pictures that are perhaps a little different from the norm as I have holidayed in the UK for the last 3 or 4 years. Looking forward to sharing some of the pictures with you on my return. In the meantime here is a flower picture (not posted one for a while) of a foxglove in a wood in Devon on the hottest day of the year. Back soon!

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King Arthur’s rhino

IMG_8948 Regular visitors to this blog will know that I live in the Roman walled city of Chester in the North West of England. Originally founded as a ‘castrum’ or Roman fort in 79 AD during the reign of the Emperor Vespasian it was originally called Deva Vetrix or Deva for short. The city’s four main thoroughfares, Eastgate, Northgate, Watergate and Bridgegate still follow routes planned nearly 2000 years ago and the city is bounded by the only unbroken walls (i.e. you can walk all the way around them) in the UK although other such walled Roman cities can be found in Sens, France and Sennigallia, Italy, both of whom Chester is twinned with. One of the three main Roman army bases in Britain, Deva was established to keep an eye on the unruly Celtic Welsh and later became a major settlement in the Roman province of Britannia. After the Romans left in the 5th century, the town was further fortified against the Danes and was given the name Chester.

So a city steeped in history, and a city whose commerce is primarily centred on tourism.  Obviously, the Roman element but also its unique Tudor shopping galleries or ‘Rows’ and its circular race track, the Roodee, which is one oif the oldest race courses in the country. When it comes to attracting tourists Chester usually doesn’t miss a trick but, as mentioned in a previous post, the city is currently going through a tough period. Not long ago it became a cultural wasteland with the closure of its only theatre and also the only cinema within the city walls, a glorious art deco building that now lies empty since the credit crunch meant that the developers that bought it can’t afford to do anything with it; ditto the theatre which was due to be replaced by a new arts centre until the bottom fell out of the markets.

But there are signs of recovery. An organisation called Chester Performs is leading the way by staging performance art, screenings of films in unusual venues and, for the first time this year, open air theatre – Much Ado About Nothing is currently playing to appreciative audiences in the city’s large Victorian park. Another local body, Chester Renaissance, are also doing sterling work and the city is currently studded with giant life-size rhinos that have been sponsored by local companies and designed by some very talented individuals. Much like Liverpool’s SuperLambBananas did, the rhinos are bringing tourists to the area and ‘Rhinomania’ is in full swing. There is a rhino trail – maps available from the visitor centre – which takes you around all the major historical areas of interest in the city.

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So where does King Arthur fit in? Last week it was reported in the national and local press that a new theory has emerged that the legend of King Arthur’s legendary round table might actually have its roots in Chester; more precisely in the remains of Chester’s circular Roman amphitheatre (see picture that heads up this blog post). Debate is currently raging following an assertion made in a TV documentary that Arthur may well have set up court in Chester and that the amphitheatre may be the round table of legend. The theory is based on early writings from the 5th century, mentions of the ‘City of the Legions’ being Arthur’s Camelot and the recent discovery of an execution stone in the amphitheatre. Us Cestrians are taking this with a large pinch of salt, as are many academics, but hey, being linked to King Arthur is kind of cool and the theory does kind of hang together. And of course its another ready-made tourist attraction for the City of Chester.

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Meme, with relish

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What is a meme?

This post is going to be a little bit different from the norm. And although it does include a photograph, it was taken specifically for use on this particular blog and is not being held up as an example of my finest work. This blog is answer to a meme that has been infecting the blogosphere. The meme dictates that the blog has the above title and the blog must include entries using the titles outlined below. But was is a meme? Well according to the web dictionary a meme is

a cultural unit (an idea or value or pattern of behaviour) that is passed from one person to another by non-genetic means

The idea therefore being that this particular meme will pass from blog to blog, not only highlighting the particular literary loves of each particular blogger but also perhaps enthusing anybody who drops in on the blog unannounced. I usually ignore this sort of viral thing but since the subject was one I could get my teeth into – that of books – I thought I’d give it a go. And since the blog has been offline for so long due to technical problems it seems only fair that I make this a weighty posting. So, here goes…

One Book That Changed Your Life

To me this question should really be ‘What book started you reading?’ as it amounts to the same thing. It’s a very difficult question to answer. In truth, it would probably be the Target Doctor Who novelizations but these have already been bagged and tagged by my good friend Adam on his blog on this very subject and on this very same meme here (incidentally my favourite was ‘The Seeds of Doom’ – it is here that I first encountered the word ‘grotesque’). So discounting Terrance Dicks, Malcolm Hulke, et al what is the other book that formed my reading habits?

Primary schools in the 1970s were grim affairs. We had teachers who regularly hit the children (or who at the very least threw board rubbers at them); we had cheese pie and plum tomatoes and semolina and jam EVERY Monday; we had very short shorts and PE in the pissing rain. BUT, and it’s a very big but as you can see, we also had the Chip Book Club! Once a term, a printed sheet was handed out with a list of books on it that you could order for sums as large as 75 pence. Luckily, my parents would always allow me to choose one book and it is via Chip that I read such classics as ‘The Owl That Was Afraid of the Dark’ by Jill Tomlinson, ‘Charlie and The Chocolate Factory’ by Roald Dahl and ‘The Silver Sword’ by Ian Serraillier. However, there is one book that I got from the Chip book club that stands head and shoulders above these classics and it’s a book that not many people have heard of, let alone read. Ladies and Gentlemen I give you ‘Bottersnikes and Gumbles’ by Australian writer S.A. Wakefield and illustrated by Desmond Digby. It is very important that the illustrator is credited here as Digby’s pictures are one of the keys to the novel’s success. This is simply a superb book and tells the story of the happy, fun-loving, slightly thick Gumbles and their lazy, evil, warty, ugly, even thicker enemies the Bottersnikes. Gumbles are naïve yet cute, small (yet powerful in numbers) and, most importantly, squishy. This is important as all the Bottersnikes want to do is enslave the Gumbles by squishing them into tin cans. See, you’re hooked already I can tell. This book has a powerful message about looking after the planet (the Bottersnikes live in a rubbish tip full of human detritus and eat discarded mattresses) and the importance of friendship and working together. Basically it was years ahead of its time and is now criminally out of print for some obscure reason that I cannot quite fathom. It’s ripe for rediscovery and is frighteningly relevant to today’s kids. My battered Puffin paperback is a prized possession and I have read it to my kids more times that I care to mention. It’s a book that first alerted me to the sheer untrammelled joy of reading.

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One Book You Have To Read More Than Once

The book that I have read more than any other is ‘The Magus’ by John Fowles. It’s the sort of book that you read as a young adult and identify immediately with its young hero. However, as you get older and re-read it you gradually realise that the ‘hero’ is in fact a bit of an arse who deserves everything he gets. With age comes wisdom, hence the book’s title. ‘The Magus’ defies description. A young male English teacher flees commitment for a position on a Greek Island; here he comes under the spell of the wealthy recluse Maurice Conchis who is viewed with suspicion by the islanders for his alleged sympathy with the Nazi cause during the war. Conchis then proceeds to fuck with our hero’s head as boxes within boxes are opened and slammed shut, no-one can be trusted, nothing is as it seems and a young man learns some very important lessons about himself and the way he treats other people. It’s elaborately plotted, beautifully written and really does defy categorisation other than, for me, its one of the best books ever written and a book I return to.

One Book You’d Want On A Desert Island

Hard choice this one and I’m afraid I am going to have to buck the question and choose two books on an equal footing. I suppose a desert island read ought to be thick and weighty but the books I would be marooned with are both quite slim volumes. However, both contain so many layers that reading them always reveals new treasures. My books are predominantly or wholly set on islands and they are Patricia Highsmith’s ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ and William Golding’s ‘The Lord of the Flies’. What can I say about both these books that hasn’t been said already. Highsmith’s Ripley books (of which there are five) introduced me to the concept of the anti-hero. Tom Ripley is sociopath and a fantasist who inveigles his way into people’s lives, destroying them and getting away scott-free. The scary thing is that you, as the reader, actually WANT him to get away with it and this highlights Highsmith’s brilliance. When I read ‘The Talented Mr Ripley’ for the first time I was genuinely shocked but exhilarated by what Highsmith pulled off – taken in small increments Ripley’s decisions make sense until it reaches the point at which murdering a friend and stealing his identity seems eminently reasonable. Filmed twice, Anthony Minghella’s ‘Talented Mr Ripley’ is the most faithful to the book but I would urge you to seek out René Clément’s looser adaptation ‘Plein Soleil’. Mostly because Alain Delon IS Tom Ripley in a way that Matt Damon clearly isn’t.

As for ‘Lord of the Flies’ I would go so far as to say that I would not trust anyone that hasn’t read it :-). Often cited as borderline science fiction, although I’m not sure why – in my head its firmly rooted in the 1950s, it tells the story of an aeroplane plane full of school boys fleeing a (nuclear?) war. After crash landing on a desert island the boys are left to fend for themselves, splitting into factions and finally reduced to savagery as their public school safety net is stripped away and laid bare. ‘The Lord of the Flies’ is rightly seen as classic of English literature and Golding never bettered it. The imagery he uses is stunning be it the ‘The Beast’ on the hill (actually the parachute of the dead pilot billowing and unfurling and dragging the attached corpse into a sitting position) or the lord of the flies itself, a wild boar’s head on a pole. It is savage, terrifying and all too believable with the death of a major character being one of the most pointless and heartbreaking in modern literature. At the heart of its subversiveness is the chilling fact that the first group of boys to descend into savagery is the school choir.

Two Books That Made You Laugh

I must admit to not reading many ‘funny’ books or books that are perceived to be funny, certainly in novel form. I am not sure why that is. I really liked Nick Hornby’s ‘High Fidelity’, which my wife still insists is about me but more for its dissection of the muso than for its laugh-out-loud humour. My first book that makes me laugh is by a man I have mentioned previously in this very blog. Kurt Vonnegut is primarily thought of as a science fiction writer yet he is far more than that. Not that science fiction writing is a bad thing. Far from it. In fact its one of my favourite genres along with Scandinavian noir (although there’s not many laughs to be found here apart from the desperate howling in the wilderness ironic kind). Yet the first book that makes me laugh IS science fiction by most definitions. Vonnegut’s ‘The Sirens of Titan’ is a supremely funny book and, in my opinion, the direct precursor to Douglas Adams’s ‘Hitchiker’ books. ‘Sirens’ is laugh out loud funny and its two main protagonists (can you have two protagonists?) Malachi Constant and Winston Niles Rumfoord are fine comic creations. This is the novel that first planted the seeds of atheism in my head as it views religion as a drug (like Karl Marx’s opium of the people) that drives its followers to insane acts of faith. ‘Sirens’ is a book best gone into unprepared but it will make you laugh, it will make you think about ‘why are we here’ and it will turn all your preconceptions on their heads as to what to expect from a ‘science fiction novel’. Hell, when the happy ending isn’t remotely happy and one of the main characters forms “The Church of God the Utterly Indifferent” – probably the only church that I think I could ever belong in – you know you are in for a good ride.

My second book is non fiction and ties in with the book below. In fact it could quite easily fit into the next category as well. Come to think of it, it’s by the same author as well so perhaps I should make this short. All I can say is that Harry Thompson’s biography ‘Peter Cook’ is one of the funniest and saddest books I have ever read. Its key theme being that Cook, arguably the funniest man that the UK has ever produced, achieved everything he had ever wanted to achieve at such a young age that the rest of his life was a downward spiral into intense boredom, alcoholism and a master class in how to alienate everybody that has ever loved you. Sounds a laugh a minute doesn’t it? But it is. Cook was such a funny man that even in the depths of depression he was still able to produce moments of sheer brilliance. Just think about Mr Spiggot, the ‘unidexter’ auditioning for the role of Tarzan (“You’re right leg I like. I have nothing against your right leg. Unfortunately, neither have you”) or E.L. Wisty’s ‘interesting’ ruminations on bees, tadpoles and world domination. At the end of his life Cook took to phoning a late-night LBC radio phone-in show pretending to be a lovelorn depressive Norwegian fisherman called Sven. This is both devastatingly sad as a sign of how far he had fallen yet hilariously funny at the same time (as tapes of the phone calls bear out). As is Thompson’s book.

One Book That Made You Cry

So, another book by Harry Thompson. His first novel ‘This Thing of Darkness’ which tells the story of Charles Darwin and Robert Fitzroy (Captain of the Beagle). Where to start with this book… it might well be my favourite on this list. Certainly, like ‘The Sirens of Titan’, it’s another book that has fed into my distrust of organised religion. Darwin and Fitzroy were friends but the voyages of The Beagle saw their friendship split asunder as, on the one hand, Darwin – who had at one point almost became a member of the clergy himself – became convinced that there was no overseeing, almighty God. Fitzroy, on the other hand, was a man of faith and the voyages of The Beagle only served to re-enforce his belief that a world as wonderful as the one he was exploring could only have come about via the hand of God. Thompson’s skill is to create a historical novel that is incredibly exciting, extremely moving and sympathetic to the firmly held beliefs of both Darwin and Fitzroy. In fact, Fitzroy emerges from the book as one of the great unheralded characters in British history (as an aside he also invented the concept of weather forecasting and was roundly ridiculed) and is certainly more the book’s hero than Darwin, even if it is Darwin’s view that I personally have the most sympathy with. Following the publication of Darwin’s ‘On the Origin of Species’ their friendship lay in tatters but Thompson’s meticulously researched novel brings the good in both men to the fore with marvellous use of light, shade and pathos. It made me cry on several occasions such is its truth and beauty, be it Fitzroy’s ill-fated decision to bring some native ‘savages’ from Tierra del Fuego back to London to become ‘civilized’ or Darwin’s agony following the death of his daughter (a death which many, including Fitzroy, perceived to be God punishing Darwin for his beliefs). And the title? Looking back from the 21st century it seems obvious that Fitzroy suffered from manic depression and it was probably this that cut short his distinguished naval career. His periods of depression form the dark heart of the novel. Its author, Harry Thompson died of cancer aged 45 in 2005 and never finished his second novel. He left behind two of the best books I have ever read.

One Book You’d Wish You’d Written

I am not a writer. Or rather I am but I do not have the skill, patience or intelligence to write a novel. Sometimes when reading I marvel at how the author manages to spin so many plates and I also have the greatest admiration for anyone that has written a novel published or unpublished. Great books stay with you forever and have pride of place on the bookshelf like a badge of honour. Our bookshelves at home are very eclectic. My wife’s favourites (Kureishi, Marukami, Irving) are more high-brow stuff than mine (Ellroy, King, Vonnegut). But then I have an ace up my sleeve. I have Christopher Priest, the greatest British writer that no-one has ever heard of.

Like Vonnegut (and is there a pattern emerging here) he is often referred to as a science fiction writer and his early work is indeed in this particular genre, such as his homage to H.G. Wells ‘The Space Machine’. However, even his science fiction is not like other science fiction – the best example of this perhaps being ‘The Inverted World’. However, as he has got older his novels have moved away from hard science fiction and into greyer, more interesting areas. His later novels are focused on the unreliable nature of memory and the shifting boundaries between what is ‘real’ and what is ‘fantasy’. His most famous book is probably ‘The Prestige’ which was filmed by Chris Nolan, a film maker who seems to share Priest’s world view; indeed his new film ‘Inception’ is a very Priestian concept, and which was touched on in his novel ‘The Extremes’. Priest has also influenced David Cronenberg, so much so that he wrote the tie-in novelization of eXistenz under a pseudonym.

I could champion ‘The Prestige’ here with its tale of duelling magicians and the unholy lengths they go to in a deadly game of one-upmanship involving showmanship, the development of new illusions and the Tesla coil but all I will say is that the book is an entirely different beast from the film. Nolan’s film is an excellent adaptation but the book has a terrifying coda that stays with you long after.

I could also champion ‘The Glamour’ a book with a killer concept whose key plot twist blind sides you and yet at the same time is a loving doff of the cap to HG Wells (again).

But, at the end of the day the one book I would champion above all of Christopher Priest’s others is ‘The Affirmation’. This is a novel within a novel within a novel. It’s an intricately constructed masterpiece in which a traumatized author retreats to a country house and begins to write a memoir that starts out as reliable but slowly morphs into the story of an alternative version of himself who is undertaking a voyage to a ‘dream archipelago’ of exotic islands in order to undergo a process that will make him immortal. As he writes, the distinction between what is real (the solitary writer hunched in front of his typewriter in our recognisable world) and what is fiction (the narrator in the dream archipelago) blurs to the point at which it is no longer clear which is the greater reality. It’s a stunning book that touches on the nature of mental illness, the fear of aging and the effects of enforced solitude on the human psyche. See, I told you he was more than a science fiction writer.

Anyone who knows me will know that the fact that I have chosen ‘The Affirmation’ in this particular category over Stephen King’s ‘The Stand’, his finest hour and arguably the greatest American novel of my generation, shows how highly I rate it. Make no mistake Priest is a writer that either clicks with you or doesn’t, but if he does there is none better and you are in for one hell of a treat. Honourable mention too must go to Richard Matheson’s ‘I Am Legend’ – badly treated by cinema. Read the novel and despair at how Hollywood could cock up this amazing story not once, not twice but three times by not actually filming the book as written. Best vampire novel ever, closely followed by King’s ‘Salem’s Lot’ and ‘Låt den rätte komma in’ (‘Let the Right One In’) by Swedish writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, whose title comes from a Morrissey song, so what’s not to like.

One Book You Wish Was NEVER Written

Easy one. ‘The Return of the Native’ by Thomas Hardy. A book I was forced to read for my English literature A-level and a book that I hate from the bottom of my very soul. Admittedly, a lot of this hatred comes from the fact that my English teacher chose this over ‘Catch 22’ and Orwell’s ‘1984’ but also because I have no interest in descriptions of heathland that go on for 20 pages or characters that act the way they do because of ‘fate’ and not out of any control they might have of their own lives. It’s a book in which a tract of land is the main character, the ‘comedy’ rustic characters are about as funny as a long, slow root canal and which the ‘hero’ Clym Yeobright needs a good slap.

Two Books You Are Currently Reading

Can you read two books at the same time? I know my children have this ability but I don’t seem to be able to. I have just finished James Ellroy’s ‘Bloods a Rover’ the third and final book in his America underworld trilogy (the other two being ‘American Tabloid’ and ‘The Cold Six Thousand). I love Ellroy, although I understand completely that he is an acquired taste, especially his. short. staccato. sentences. This trilogy weaves a complex alternative history of America in the 60s and 70s focusing on the Kennedys, Nixon, Howard Hughes and a huge cast of despicable human beings and very flawed heroes. It’s a worthy follow up to his ‘LA Quartet’ of which ‘LA Confidential’ is the most famous. So what’s next? I am eagerly awaiting the third in Johan Theorin’s Oland trilogy (seek out ‘Echoes from the Dead’ and ‘The Darkest Room’, especially the latter for a dark Swedish ghost story/crime novel crossover that juggles both genres with ease) but on the bedside table and up next are Jonathan Carroll’s ‘Voice of Our Shadow’ a ghost story recommended to me wholeheartedly via a complete stranger on Twitter and Cherie Priest’s ‘Boneshaker’ an alternative history featuring the American Civil War and zombies (again, what’s not to like) which has been praised to the hilt by my friend Adam whose meme choices are linked to above.

One Book You’ve Been Meaning To Read

So many books so little time. Life’s too short and there are too many books. I think this question is supposed to bring to mind all those undisputed classics that you’ve never got round to reading. Thanks to my English teacher I have never read ‘Catch 22’ and now its reputation hangs heavy against it – it can only disappoint me. Last year I read Dumas’ ‘The Three Musketeers’ and thoroughly enjoyed it; this means that one day I hope to attempt ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ but at the moment that task is too daunting. I should probably ready more Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolstoy, etc but probably won’t (blame Thomas Hardy). I have read ‘Dracula’, ‘Frankenstein’ and ‘The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde’ which probably says more about me and my tastes than it probably should and explains why Dickens, Austen, Bronte, Tolstoy, etc should not get unduly worked up about my lack of patronage. So, the one book I’ve been meaning to read? Well, its been out of print for many years but is getting a much-needed reprint in October (I have it on pre-order on Amazon). It’s Jack Finney’s 1955 science fiction novel ‘The Body Snatchers’. Since I have never read it I can’t comment on its brilliance or otherwise but I am really looking forward to finding out.

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Apologies

Just a very quick blog post via phone to apologise for lack of blog activity of late. Currently experiencing technical difficulties that have meant being without Internet access at home for almost a week. I have a blog post written but am unable to upload it. Assurances have been given that problems should be fixed next week. Fingers crossed and thanks for your patience!


On wedding photography

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The weekend before last, as mentioned in my previous post I photographed my first wedding. Not as a professional wedding photographer but as a favour to a good friend’s sister. This proved to be an exciting, exhilarating and  nerve-wracking experience; but in terms of photography was also one of the most rewarding things that I have attempted. First, I managed to prove to myself that I could do it and, although the jury’s still out on the photographs (of which this is one), more importantly do it to a standard that I was pleased with, which is an achievement in itself. When I say that the jury’s still out, I of course mean to say that my paranoia has kicked in again. I spent a week of evenings processing the photographs and getting them ready and have only in the last day or two sent them out for the approval of the bride and groom, who are currently in the States attending another wedding. People that I have shown them do have said that I have done a good job but at the end of the day there are only two opinions that count. And I await the verdict with baited breath.

So how did this come about? It is often said that for professional photographers that weddings are where the money is, which I suppose is why there are so many of them about. Make no mistake there are a lot of exceptional wedding photographers out there. I know several who fall into this bracket; one taught me how to use the camera and another, a friend from school days, juggles the twin disciplines of wedding and rock photography with consummate ease. That said, I have quickly realised that there are a lot of average wedding photographers out there too (I was unlucky enough to encounter one of them when photographing hats at a wedding fair earlier this year, as already described in an earlier blog post). This opportunity came about because the bride and groom were having difficulty finding someone to do what they wanted. Someone who would not herd them about for hours and bark orders at family members; someone who would capture the day from the evening before right the way through to air guitar solos in the early hours of the morning and, most importantly, someone cheap 🙂 Which is where I came in.

I am no under illusions that this was a gamble for them too. They were entrusting me with their big day on the basis of a sisters recommendation and some Flickr galleries. I hope they feel that they got what they wanted. For my part the day was a wonderful learning experience. I took hundreds of photographs and only ended up culling about a third of them, which I consider pretty good. I managed to get all the required shots and to be in the right place at the right time more often than not. It is only with hindsight that I can say how much I enjoyed myself and how much I learned about my own capabilities, about my equipment, about camera settings and what works best. So a steep learning curve indeed.

I don’t intend to become a wedding photographer (at least not without a huge cash injection) but I have proved to myself that I move away from landscapes on occasion and still do some good work. At least one of the pro photographers (and probably both) mentioned above will hate the use of spot colour in this photo but on this occasion I think I got away with it given that the bride was adamant that she wanted as many pictures of the flowers, especially the bouquets, as possible. On the basis of these pictures I have been asked to photograph another wedding in August, which again is gratifying. Again, this is a friend who was so shocked by the way the wedding photographer at her brother’s wedding acted that she was certain that she didn’t want to go down that route. I don’t see me doing this as me taking business away from exceptional wedding photographers – if I didn’t both couples would probably go down the friends and family with cameras route – but must admit that those pushy photographers who so put off both these brides have done me a great favour. I see it purely as a learning opportunity and an opportunity that works both ways.

So what exactly did I learn that I would pass on to anybody else in a similar situation:

  • If you are introduced and referred to as ‘the photographer’ it not only does wonders for your ego but people are more likely to accommodate you in what you are trying to achieve. I hope that guests that were at the wedding will see my photographs and think ‘actually he did a pretty good job’.
  • Scout out the location first and if possible shoot the evening before so you can get to know everyone before popping up unannounced on the big day.
  • You can never have enough batteries or memory cards. I am also going to invest in a memory card reader to protect against that one moment when I thought I had wiped all the photos (luckily it was just the battery running out.
  • High ISO and large aperture is your friend when shooting indoors at night, especially if, like me, your crappy flash is not up to the job.
  • It’s very important to capture the small details: shoes in a box, a dress on a hangar, bunting in trees. The things that nobody really notices on the day but which make an impression on the periphery.
  • Wedding guests do not like being told where to go, where to stand and where to look. And they certainly don’t like the bride and groom disappearing for hours. They are there to have a good time and celebrate. Don’t get in the way of them doing this.
  • Its important to capture humour in your pictures. Nerves, glances aside, a cracking speech.
  • Be professional at all times and act as if you are a professional. Confidence is infectious.
  • Of course for my first wedding the weather was beyond perfect, but again harsh summer sunshine can give you just as much to contend with as pouring rain in terms of shadows on faces, etc.

So there you have it. A wedding – something else to tick off my list. In three weeks time I am going off on holiday to the Greek islands and am going to give myself a little travel photography assignment. Yes it will be more landscapes but hopefully something a bit different to what I have blogged so far. Comments as always as very welcome.

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