In a previous life I stumbled into a career as a club DJ that took me around the world, saw me open for Oasis at Wembley Stadium and release my own mix CD (if you’re interested it’s called Thinking Out Loud and you can probably get it in your local charity shop for about 50p!) I loved every minute of it but none of it was really planned. It developed naturally from my love of music. And from me wanting to share music with anybody who’d listen. My passion became my career. And quite a successful one at that.
My DJ career meant I was visiting countries I’d probably never get to visit otherwise… China, Argentina, Taiwan, Brazil… and I wanted to save those memories. So I bought a camera.
I’ve always loved photography. I was the kid in school with the £1.99 camera, taking pictures of my mates mucking about on geography field trips and, a few days later, turning up to school with an envelope of glossy 6×4 prints. I’ve also collected photography books by my favourite photographers for a long time. Photography has always been there, but it wasn’t until 2005 that I even thought about it as a career.
With my real passions being music and photography, it was a natural progression to start shooting bands. I started small, blagging my way into the occasional gig before somebody at the NME decided I was worth giving a break and asked me to shoot some upcoming indie band for the magazine. That was all it took for me to think “OK, maybe I’m not too bad at this photography lark” and to start taking things a little more seriously. But photographing weddings? That wasn’t even an option at the time. Wedding photography was boring. Uncreative. Formal. Staged. Old fashioned. Not for me thanks.
As the music side of my photography took off, I began getting the occasional person asking if I ever shot weddings. I’d say no.
Slowly but surely however, I began to realise that wedding photography in the 21st century wasn’t quite what I thought it was. In magazines and online I started seeing wedding images which were more creative. Images which looked like they could be from a magazine rather than a dusty frame on my Nan’s telly. I started hearing this word “reportage” everywhere and more importantly, I began seeing wedding photos that I thought were amazing.
My first attempt at wedding photography occurred in 2006. My friend was going to a wedding and I asked if the couple would mind if I came along to take some photos. They already had their official wedding photographer, so there was no pressure. I went along for a few hours and shot whatever I felt like photographing. And I enjoyed it. Shock! I gave the couple a few of my favourites on a disc as a thank you and that was that. Or so I thought…
When I next saw my friend, he told me that the couple preferred my photos to the ones the official photographer had taken. He also mentioned that the couple had a few friends who had since wondered if I could do the same at their wedding. And suddenly… unexpectedly… I was a wedding photographer!