Back In The Day

There’s a photo on my website, I use it quite often, it’s my favourite photo that I have ever taken, I love it. It not only captures a moment, but also the day and me as a photographer.

Without getting too “I’ve always loved photography” blah blah blah bullshit, I just want to talk about myself, this photo and what it means to me.

So not too surprisingly I have always had an affinity with photography (blah blah bullshit moment), I was brought up on a massive council estate on the outskirts of Liverpool so to be seen cutting about the streets with a camera wasn’t the safest of ideas, it was either football, skateboards or bikes, only a divvie or a wool would be seen with a camera.

At 14 or 15 when you choose your subjects for G.C.S.E’s there was Art, Home Economics, or Photography, I was the only person in the whole school who wanted to take photography as a subject, needless to say, it wasn’t going to happen. Home Economics with Mrs Unsworth it was then, good bye photography!

Fast forward 24-ish years and here I am writing a blog about an award winning photo that I took and how it’s opened my eyes to the way I want to photograph all my weddings.

The Photo

Here is the photo I’m talking about. Now as with most of my photos it’s what the photography industry call a documentary photograph. I would say at the moment 85% of wedding photographers say they shoot this way, they might say “natural” “ reportage” “photojournalism” to be honest I have got to the stage where I don’t care what other photographers do, say, eat, put in their contracts, what camera thy’re using now. But this is what I would call a documentary photo. The Tate gallery descried documentary photography as a style of photography that provides a straightforward and accurate representation of people, places, objects and events. Now this photo to me couldn’t be more documentary it is a straight forward representation of people at an event.

During the day I work to my strengths, I’m quite the introvert so I try to blend in and not be noticed, I’m constantly looking for THE shot, the moment, the one photograph that makes me say “fuck yes, nailed it!”

This photo was one of those moments.

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Now the crazy thing is, 4 years ago I most probably would have binned this photo as it wasn’t like what all the other wedding photographers were shooting, there was no smoke bombs (which I’ve used before) , no amazing off camera flash work, I’ve had wedding photographers say the venue looks terrible and that it’s not a “hero shot” “You should photograph more traditional shots” This isn’t an attack on those people who said those things one was a good photographer friend and the other was my wife! It’s more of a celebration of the people out there who stick to their guns and do what they do best.

And this is what I do best, I tell real stories.


John Nelson