I’ve always loved old photos, the ones that show you a glimpse of a past that’s almost forgotten. I remember my grandad showing me photos of himself and his friends in North Africa during the second world war – it was the first time, aged 9, that I saw my grandad from any other perspective than that of a granddaughter. He was so young, so different to the person sat in front of me, and yet still the same person. It was a way into his past, into finding out more about him. I was hooked!
Years later, I became a wedding photographer through luck rather than design, it was something I loved, it’s the best job in the world, getting to share in one of the best days of someone’s life, and capture the memories for that couple forever. I hadn’t truly linked that love of the process with my love of the finished article though. That came later.
I was photographing Liz and Chris’ wedding with my husband second shooting, it was a gorgeous humanist ceremony which had started with the guests punting down the river from Cambridge to Grantchester. Liz and Chris had created a memory box and filled it with photos of their life together as boyfriend and girlfriend, with flight tickets and theatre tickets, with wedding invitations and rsvps, and with letters that they’d written to each other the night before their wedding. They added a bottle of wine and sealed it with their celebrant instructing them to “open it 10 years from now, or, if you hit a bump in the road, sooner, to remember the promises they’d made that they and their reasons for making those promises, to remember the love that had brought them to this place. It was then that it started to dawn on me, my reason, the thing I see when I take photos on a wedding day. I see two people making a promise to always love each other, I see two people trusting each other to always love them in return, to put the other’s needs before their own. That kind of trust is huge, love is a big deal. Marriage is a leap of faith in someone else.
And somewhere along the line things will probably get tough. Fights about the every day can so easily look insurmountable after a few years, worries about money, lack of time, lack of sleep make marriage hard work at times. I’ve seen that myself! But maybe the photos that I take help, just a little. Maybe a couple can pull out their album on their anniversary, or glance at a photo on the wall during a row, and remember how they felt on their wedding day, glimpse the person they were, the person they married, the love they felt, and maybe…just maybe… they’ll feel it again. Maybe…just maybe…those photos that I take will make a small difference at that moment. Maybe they’ll see what I saw when I took the photo – that love truly is a big deal, and worth fighting for, worth holding onto, and worth remembering.
Eliza Claire is one of our amazing Farm Week mentors. As well as offering one to ones on most topics, she is hosting a panel session on producing albums. This session is not only looking at the practicalities of producing albums but it will explore ways of increasing profit from them while maintaining a good workflow. She will be joined on the session by other mentors who will contribute their experience with albums and making the most out of them. The session costs just £50 and includes a goody bag stuffed with album suppliers vouchers.