Photography, Weddings

Adventures with photography and friends

“…the only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles exploding like spiders across the stars and in the middle you see the blue centerlight pop and everybody goes “Awww!” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

You will have to excuse me a little bit on this blog post (and remember I did promise to blog more) as it might end up being a little gushy but really let’s just lay it down on the table, it’s really unbridled enthuasiasm. I almost wrote this blog post a few weeks ago but I am glad I held off.

There are many reasons why I love wedding photography but one of the main reasons I love photography is the travel and the sense of adventure, of doing something new and being somewhere new. But it’s not always about the new, it’s about the rekindling of friendships and the collaboration that fuels that adventure too.

2016 is off to a great start, for one I am travelling pretty much all over the UK for weddings which is fun in itself, but also have my first wedding abroad this year in Italy (which is very exciting let me tell you) but also the opportunity to work on other projects is providing a huge amount of fun and adventure.

This past week or so I have been back up in Scotland; a place very close to my heart, I absolutely adore it – both the place and the lovely people I always meet, although the no buying wine after 10pm in Tescos binds a bit! Mixed in with a bit of actual business (meeting a venue, and a couple) and also a bit of exploration around Glasgow (fantastic city) was some business-should-not-be-this-fun-but-it-certainly-seems-as-though-it-is-pleasure. With some wonderful friends, we had put together a bridal shoot over two days up in the beautiful outdoors of Scotland (did I mention how much I adore Scotland?)

Now here’s a bit about photography I don’t like – it can like all arts be elitist, it can be cliquey (like anything can be), it can also be downright secretive and bullshitty. What do I mean? I mean that some people protect their ‘methods’ like a secret sauce that would cause them to implode if they ever shared their knowledge which can put off beginners and novices. It can be bullshitty because too many people puff their chests up to being the Big-I-Am™ and this can put off beginners and novices too, that they can never approach or aspire to a dream because their modest goals and/or achievements just don’t measure up to some of the inflated puffery of those they admire. Maybe that is more about the human condition than photographers or indeed artists. But that does make me sad sometimes. It can be cliquey because well I don’t know why, I don’t know what the draw of a clique is really, an impenetrable circle of friends doesn’t sound much fun to me. And yes it can be elitist, that everything has to be qualified by theory or something and all this subtle discussion that can cripple the creative juices. I say just get out there and do what you like, how you like, when you like and with whoever you like.

Which brings us neatly on to the Gang of Four. Through a workshop last year, I have become friends with many from the group and this weekend four of us (myself included) got together, all three are fantastic wedding and fashion photographers, with talent and loveliness just bounding from their souls, Daniela Ferry (Ferri Photography), Roma Brennan (Roma Elizabeth Photography) and Suzie Li (Suzanne Li Photography) – go on check out their websites, aren’t they great? Hey how can I say that, they’re my “competitors” – but competitors they are not to me, they’re all women who had the same dream, they wanted to be a photographer, and so they did and the dream came to reality, and now the dreams are bigger, brighter and more colourful. I mean that sincerely, I think we should celebrate that success and achievement of a dream.

As it happens we all had our own ideas to throw into the pot, a desire to collaborate and pull together to produce something that would not only be based on what inspires us in floristry, in couture, jewellery and much more, but also be inspired further by the results of the shoot to create more.

The whole experience of sharing this sense of adventure, a willingness to try anything and everything without judgement but helpful advice giving with kindness was wonderful. It’s very easy to think that as a business you have to seal yourself off and not let anyone in, otherwise financial ruin will await.

That isn’t the case, maybe this is a new way of working, pulling together as a kinder, friendlier, co-operative that we all mutually benefit from. But the sense of adventure than ran in us all was just pure joy to be a part of.

We set off quite late on the Saturday after the hair and makeup was done (shout out to Jenna Clayton MUA) but it was great to catch up with friends at the Drovers on the way up the A82 and we started shooting just as the best, most soft and most magical light of the day was beginning to drape itself over the beauty of Glen Etive (a favourite spot of mine). Our models Lauryn and Maggie were fantastic, it was positive helpful vibes all around.

We shot at a few more locations before the sun slipped below the distant mountains and headed off to a location near Bridge of Orchy where Roma knew of deer that were often close by. With apples in hand, we went off to look for the deer and found them. In this beautiful peaceful haven, the deer came up to us and we all fed the deer with the apples. I busied myself with also taking photos, it was so peaceful, and very uplifting.

Even though a very long drive back to Glasgow followed, we were all up the next day for our last location near Dunoon on the tip of Argyll with our model Kathryn. A beautiful location up a gorge with waterfalls really was a brilliant final location and somewhere I want to return to soon to explore more.

I feel very fortunate to have met these three wonderful photographers and friends, and it was very sad to say goodbye on Sunday evening over a congratulatory cocktail in the Merchant City. I felt very tearful under my sunglasses as Daniela and I neared Glasgow Airport on the bus. Goodbye is always the hardest thing.

Be blessed by the possibility of open and kind creativity, love and nurture it with all your heart, let your emotions run wild and let life’s adventures burn bright in your eyes, we’re all stronger creatively together, not as islands.

“What is that feeling when you’re driving away from people and they recede on the plain till you see their specks dispersing? – it’s the too-huge world vaulting us, and it’s good-bye. But we lean forward to the next crazy venture beneath the skies.” — Jack Kerouac, On the Road (1957)

And it is to that next crazy venture beneath the skies, so cheers Daniela, Roma and Suzie  – it was amazing to spend time with you all. I know our next adventure which we are already thinking about will be just as much fun. I feel very fortunate to have good photography pals and creatives like you in my life. I can’t wait to share the photos with you all.


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