Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Shutter Speed

Husband and I have spent the last week in a contented, navel-gazing bubble. Our wedding album arrived. No one is allowed to touch it without first washing their hands, blowing their nose, donning archivist gloves... I want nothing to sully our beautiful album.

We struck gold when we found our wedding photographer. We had already seen a couple of photographers, one of whom addressed everything to husband and said nasty things about his 'other brides'. And another who also did pet portraits. I was momentarily tempted by the images of pitbulls and kittens.

But then we met Stewart, at Randallphotography. He showed us a slideshow of spectacular images over an Elbow song we had already claimed as ‘ours’. He is an amazing photographer and I feel more smug than I am comfortable admitting every time I look through our photos. He even managed to make my slightly ill-thought-through meringue dress look good. A feat in itself.

Wedding photography must be the most terrifying job in the world. Perhaps only surpassed by a career as a fighter pilot or soldier. Although I'm not sure how much difference there is between a raging insurgent and a soon-to-be bridezilla. I think I managed to keep my nuptial-monster under wraps, although things did nearly come to blows over the choice of napkin bands. 

Not only is photography (good photography; the arty sort that turns people monosyllabic) Very Hard, this is surely magnified under the pressure of being at a couple's wedding, where, let's be honest, there’s always potential for weirdness – a unique mix of personalities, lots of hymn singing and bubbly early in the day and a bride who is constantly reminded this is supposed to be the 'best day of her life’. The pressure to capture the moments as they unfold on camera must be intense. I think if I was a wedding photographer I would have recurring anxiety dreams about forgetting my film/memory cards, or mistaking the wrong woman for the bride’s mother and snapping reportage style shots of an unraveling affair. Hats off (large flowery ones, or feathered fascinators) to brave wedding photographers everywhere. Especially Randallphotography who truly captured our day perfectly.

To justify the procrastination, I’m treating our wedding album as research. It has inspired a few story ideas that I’m now developing. Some are blurred and badly framed (see where I’m going with this…?) others are flashes of brilliance.

I also love old photos. I stumbled across Found Films, a fascinating website showing photographs from reels forgotten about for years in old cameras. I’m not sure about the speculative captions under some of this website's images, but the photographs themselves are intriguing. I'm sometimes sad that digital photography has taken away the mystery of those undeveloped films that used to gather fluff in the back of drawers.

Today, I’m working on a story called ‘Shutter Speed’ which plays with this idea of lost film and the important role photos play in our lives. For research purposes, I’d better just go and have another look at my wedding album…

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