Antony & Suzanna's Wedding - Tel Aviv, Israel
This photograph is one of the most important pictures I've ever taken in terms of the direction of my life and career.
Antony and Suzanna are friend's of mine, and their wedding was the very first ceremony and party I ever took a camera to, only about a month after I bought my first ever DSLR. At the time, the plan was to teach myself how to actually use my new equipment, and then focus on becoming a sports photographer. It was a very, very last minute decision to actually take my camera to the wedding at all (literally, as the taxi was waiting outside), but a hugely consequential decision it was.
Up to that point, I had read lots of photographic theory. Lots. But the opportunities to put theory into practice had thus far been limited. However, that wedding was the first time I had to think about my settings in relation to the scene in front of me, and make sense of how to capture it. And I have to admit that, to my surprise, I suddenly found myself in my element. I remember at one point just sitting on the side of the dancefloor flicking through my captures with such an adrenaline rush, thinking about all the possibilities and directions I could go in, and how happy I would be, with a career in photography.
This image in particular represented to me what I wanted to achieve at the time....to capture cool action shots. It was, of course, helped by the exceptional setting on the beach on the outskirts of Tel Aviv in Israel, and there is a lot I like about it....the height the groom is thrown at, the on-looking crowd, the shape and angling of his body, the night sky, and the vibrant colours.
Now, when I consider just how many awesome weddings I have attended and shot at since this one, it is still little surprise to me that this one stands out. The setting was perfect. The weather was very warm and sunny, and the ceremony was on the beach itself, soft white sand and all. The sunset we were treated to was stunning, and was another opportunity for me to get creative with some of my newly-acquired photographic knowledge. Which in simple terms meant....silhouettes!
Although the happy couple were good friends of mine, I was also wary of stepping on the actual professional photographer's toes (I was a guest), and only felt comfortable grabbing around 30 seconds with them to get something a bit different. Again, I have a very clear and distinct memory of kneeling on the sand with the couple in front of me, frantically adjusting and re-adjusting my settings, pushing them to more and more extremes just to see what would happen. At the end of that 30-second spree, I got another huge dose of adrenaline when I checked the back of my camera (known as 'chimping' in the photography world, for reasons I would be happy to explain and/or demonstrate in person if asked), and positively skipped back to join the rest of the party.
The rest of the evening was amazing. The food was amongst the best I've ever had at a wedding, the speeches were both funny and creative (Antony's brother, Mike, is a brilliant musician and had prepared a bespoke number especially for the occasion), the atmosphere absolutely electric, and the dancefloor bouncing. And once all the 'grown-ups' had gone home, we continued with a sing-a-long by a fire on the beach (and the occasional skinny-dipper)....definitely the best ending to one of the best days of my life