When I first got into photography a few years ago, I was bored stiff with my office job and looking to do something different. I had gone through education thinking I was an academically-minded person, but it wasn’t until I got involved in the mind-numbing monotony of 9-5 that I had a eureka moment. I can’t paint, I can’t sing, I can’t play the harp or violin, but all of a sudden I was desperate to do something creative. I bought myself a £500 SLR camera and set about teaching myself photography. During this time, I also signed up for an evening photography class at my local adult education centre, where I rediscovered the magical place that is the darkroom.
I say “rediscovered”, as my Dad is a landscape photographer and I grew up surrounded by trays, thermometers and chemicals with labels that read “POISON”. I can still remember the first time I saw a photograph develop before my eyes. I felt like I was witnessing something amazing. It’s a cliche, but such a true one. So when I entered the college darkroom, I felt those childhood memories come flooding back. With most of the other (younger) students more interested in learning Photoshop, I had the darkroom all to myself. I started shooting film throughout the week and weekend to develop in the darkroom each Wednesday. It forced me to look at everything in a different way, learning to nail the exposure in camera so that I didn’t have to worry about whether I’d got the shot. I loved it.
So why the long ramblings, you ask. Well, I stopped the darkroom antics once I started to get busier with weddings. At the time I was still holding down my 9-5, and with trying to get my business off the ground, something had to give. I am now completely full time as a photographer and feel truly lucky to do a job that I love so much. However, I am conscious of the fact that I am human and a creative and there is only so much I can do each and every day. I adore photographing weddings, and I want to keep loving it. (This is where this post becomes like the beginning of Jerry Maguire when he has his “Mission Statement” moment…) I’ve realised that what I need is more time. Not physically creating more time (because…that’s impossible), but having more time to spend with my clients and giving them a unique service. I have decided to place a cap on the number of weddings I photograph at 20 per year. I want my clients to enjoy an exclusive experience, and they would never be able to get that from someone who was shooting in excess of 30 weddings annually. There just wouldn’t be that time to give. And as a creative person, it’s important that I keep an eye on my passion for what I do, because I don’t want it to disappear from overuse. Which leads me nicely on to my next point…
Film Friday! I’ve decided I want to, again, rediscover the darkroom. It’s in my plans to incorporate one into my home studio in the near future. In the meantime, I’m going to continue shooting film for personal projects, and each Friday there will be a little update with some pictures of what I’ve been capturing. This could be anything from Polaroid to medium format to good old 35mm. I’m not a photographer because it’s a way to make money – I’m a photographer because I truly love creating pictures. I’ve already posted a few of my Polaroids on this blog before (here, here…& here), and I’ve just bought myself another batch to use in my SX-70 Polaroid camera. Some girls buy shoes and handbags…I buy Polaroid film.
So here is my first Film Friday post. Ironically, none of these were taken by me, but they do feature me…does that count? I recently celebrated my fifth wedding anniversary, so it’s quite fitting that I post a few pictures, taken by my Dad.
Some details about my wedding (for all my lovely brides!)… We had a marquee in my parents’ garden and invited all our nearest and dearest… I had nine bridesmaids (yes, you heard correctly – three were my sisters) and told them they could wear whatever dress they wanted as long as it was red or pink…. Roses and peonies… Pimms and lemonade… Our car was a 1960 Cadillac that had spent most of its life in an American museum – it had 500 miles on the clock… As a lover of old movies, I always knew I would have a fifties style dress, so took my inspiration from Grace and Marilyn for my custom-made frock… I asked my Dad to take my pictures and the only brief I gave him was “classic 1960s black and white”… In the evening we projected my favourite movie The Apartment on the walls of the marquee… We didn’t have a first song, but did slow-dance to Joy Division’s “Love Will Tear Us Apart”.