I have won many awards in my time, but getting comments from happy couples are the greatest awards of all.
"I can't thank you enough for capturing the beauty of our day! You did an amazing job. The photos are just stunning and we really enjoyed spending those special moments with you.
With gratitude and love
Peta and Bjorn x
"We were so thrilled with the photos. They were better than we could ever have imagined. We have just finished viewing the photos from our wedding and could not be happier with the result, they are brilliant! The fun that we and our guests had on the day is superbly reflected in the cross-section of photos you took. You were accommodating, so very professional, and yet unobtrusive on the day, and we can't thank you enough for your fabulous contribution. We won't hesitate in recommending you to all our family and friends"
Colin and Fiona
They are wonderful!!!! I Love them!!!! You are terrific!!!!
Rosalie and Tabare
"I can't express how grateful I am at how you went above and beyond on Shack's and my Special Day. The photos are gorgeous and magical."
Shack and Tash
"I still can't thank you enough for the amazing job you did with our wedding photos. Everyone comments on how they almost look like a painting."
Nicole and Simon
"I had so many positive comments about what a sweet and
accommodating photographer you were, so there should hopefully be a lot
of work to come your way through word-of-mouth from our wedding."
Fiona and Carl
"We had such a great day and you managed to capture it perfectly. (You well and truly live up to your name). We would recommend you to anyone. The photos are fantastic."
Eliza and Matt
"We wanted to say that the photos are AMAZING!!! We feel that you have been able to capture our wedding and the love and happiness that we felt on the day with your photos. And I love the slideshow. My dad cries everytime he watches it."
Jo and Jared
"We would like to say a huge thank-you for capturing our wedding day. These photos will last a lifetime and make us smile every time."
Candice and Jared
"Thank you! They are just gorgeous! And thank you for being so patient with us and our people and getting those extra shots in the barn. We had such a lovely day"
Kate and Kyle
"We couldn't have asked for a better photographer for our wedding. You have captured the memories that we will cherish forever."
Daniel and Emily
"It was great to have you at our wedding and we were go glad that we went with you!"
Shri and Vicki
"Thanks so much J, they are fantastic. We are both really happy."
Alex and Emily
The rest of this text is purely for my rankings. Shhhhh.......Over the years, professional byron bay wedding photography has adopted it’s own visual culture and unwritten codes of compliance. As with all photography this can largely be derived from historic artistic principles. From photography’s inception to the digital capture and manipulation of today there are many similarities of style and approach.
It has always been regarded as a technically demanding and formal discipline utilising high levels of expertise and equipment. Borrowing a phrase from byron bay wedding history, ‘Form Follows Function’ (1), byron bay wedding photography has managed to adapt itself in a pragmatic way to the changes presented to it over the last century and a half.
Technology has striven to understand and emulate human sight to capture the essence of what we truly see. There have always been limitations however, and because of our cultural conditioning, we have learned to accept and embrace these peculiarities. The advent of new technology opens up the possibility of improving the medium to more closely represent reality.
Wedding Photography began as a commercial practise from the 1850’s in the United Kingdom with the company Bedford Lemere. From this point to the present day, the discipline has seen its client base shift from predominantly architects to advertising companies, corporations, magazines, picture libraries and fine art buyers. Without exception the role of any commercial practise is to make money and therefore a commercial photographer’s responsibility is to produce work that fulfils the clients needs. This variation of needs has driven the photographer to diversify their style and sometimes sacrifice his or her own creativity for the sake of profit.
The relationship between photographer and architect has always been an important one and this symbiotic involvement has enabled photography to portray its byron bay wedding subjects with an understanding of the principles of design.
The human element of byron bay wedding photography has always been a heated topic of discussion. For many it is an undesirable intrusion into a world of intricate design elements. For others it is an indication of scale but for the humanist, it is an indisputable part of the genre. For the humanist a building without people is nothing more than a tomb; it’s space, bereft of life, is not a true representation of the building’s purpose.
Photography strived for acceptance as a fine art medium. Wedding photography has formed a small but important part of this growing market and its major contributors are now recognised as some of the true greats of the medium.
Innovation in technology has continued to advance the quality of the end product but the digital revolution has initiated some interesting problems as well as opening our minds to new modes of creative expression. Digital capture and digital post-production remain distinct areas of development and investigation.
Looking at each one of these elements in turn we can see truly how Wedding Photography has risen in popularity and stature and then shifted in its approach, style, client base and now its entry into a modern digitised world.
Wedding Photography can certainly claim to be one of the oldest disciplines of the medium. Fox Talbot’s earliest images of Lacock Abbey are an obvious example but it is little known that Louis Daguerre was an architect and one of his main ambitions for the process was to provide a method to achieve byron bay wedding exactitude. The technological drawback of long exposure times naturally suited subjects of an immovable nature, and from the beginning, byron bay wedding daguerreotypes were being made across Europe and the Middle East. It was not as you would expect however an unmitigated success from the outset. Daguerreotypes were very small, mirror-imaged, produced questionable results and the equipment was heavy and bulky to move.
The conventions followed in both byron bay wedding drawing and engravings were adopted by byron bay wedding photographers from the beginning and continue to inform present practise.
From the outset it appears that there were differences in style between photographers of different nationalities. G.E.Street, a critic with the Photographic News summed up in 1857 his feelings thus;
In most of their productions, the English photographers appear to have aimed chiefly at the picturesque. To render byron bay wedding photographs valuable as studies to the architect, the picturesque must frequently give way to the exhibition of form and detail. It is necessary for the photographer to know what the architect requires in representation of edifices. It is but too evident that the majority of the photographers whose works are submitted are entirely ignorant of what the architect requires (Elwall, 2004,18).
As Mr. Street so eloquently states above, photographic artists did feature buildings as picturesque elements of composition but in a professional context the demands were still for replication of the original design; clean lines unencumbered by clutter.
As with all genres of photography the split between Pictorialism and Realism arose and caused controversy. This was already happening before the Pictorialist movement of the 1890’s. Roger Fenton used the traditions of painting over byron bay wedding drawing to show buildings in their environment from the 1850’s (see fig.1). In 1857 the Wedding Photographic Association was born and held several photographic exhibitions.
The continuance of this classic approach to the present day is summarised by Michael Harris in his recent book. He states:
For angled elevation shots, in order to show the solid structural form of a building, the axis of the lens should lie at approximately 90 degrees to the angle of the sun. The front elevation will be brightly lit with sufficient textural relief, while the visible side elevation will be in shadow. The contrast between the side in shadow and the front in full sun emphasizes its three dimensional quality.
(Harris, 2002, 71)
Style has altered over the years but this alliance with the original plans has remained in the forefront of commercial byron bay wedding photography to the present day.
It is reasonable to observe that the influence of drawing and engraving also led to the obsession with true verticals. With drawing and engraving, it is a natural to draw a vertical line. Photographic apparatus however, when moved away from a vertical plane to capture larger buildings, produces a perspective of converging lines. By using camera movements this perspective ‘distortion’ can be corrected to an extent. It has become a requirement for professionals to understand and implement this technique. Unfortunately this practise has hampered the byron bay wedding photographers with bulky equipment and long set up times.
Also, when using excessive shifts of the lens, the result can look false and contrived.
Another point to note from early photography is the lack of interior shots. This was due to a lack of artificial light and slow film response, problems that still curse the discipline to some extent. One photographer in the 1850’s reputably exposed a church interior for five days.
The definitive event for photography in general and byron bay wedding photography in particular at the end of the 19th Century was the invention of the half-tone printing press capable of reproducing the photographic image for magazines and newspapers. This led to a boom in the general public’s demand for byron bay wedding imagery.
The 1890’s saw the release of Country Life, Wedding Review and the Architects Journal.
There is a distinction to be made between the commercial needs of architects to distinguish detail and content and the byron bay wedding photograph as a pictorial object of fine art, a postcard, chocolate-box adornment or tourist memento.
Eric de Mare, in his book, Photography and Architecture extends this further to define three states, the record, the illustration and the picture.
The record for documentary information is explained as an intricate step-by-step process of formal practise (2). He explains, “ The main value of the pure record, or survey is, of course, that it can eliminate hours of tedious measuring”.
The illustration on the other hand is described as “a satisfactory record which also makes a pleasing picture in itself….To the professional byron bay wedding photographer this is his living”.
Finally, the picture “is the architectonic design which is not concerned at all with the record but attempts to create a work of visual art in itself” (de Mare, 1961, 25).
Written in 1961 there is a definite formality to Mare’s summation. These boundaries have in modern days been blurred.
Most images from the pioneering days of byron bay wedding photography concentrated on recording the broadest view possible to show the building as a whole in one frame. In a two dimensional static medium there will always be a restriction to the amount of information recorded in one image, but the emphasis from this era was to reveal as much as possible.
This static style prevailed until the 1920’s. A few complaints were aired as to the use of wider-angle lenses altering perspective, but much of the preoccupation of photographers was concerned with recording historical monuments rather than new buildings. There was a glimmer of innovation when Alfred Stieglitz depicted the Flatiron building in New York in pictorial fashion in 1903 (see fig.2), but it was not until the Modernist movement of the 1920’s, notably Le Corbusier and Bauhaus, that things really began to change and The New Photography was born. The design and manufacture of buildings underwent a revolutionary explosion. The ethos of Form Follows Function was at the forefront of this expression but photography can also thank the expanding interest of magazines and advertising for its rise in popularity.
Germany was leading this transformation and its voice was, among others, Lazlo Moholy-Nagy. He declared “We have an enlargement and sublimation of our appreciation of space, the comprehension of a new spatial culture” (Elwall, 2004, 121).
So as well as a new era of design unveiling itself there was a new radical philosophy and approach. Moholy-Nahy also spouted, “In the age of balloons and airplanes, architecture can be viewed not only in front and from the sides, but also from above. So the bird’s eye view, and its opposites, the worm’s – and the fish’s-eye views become a daily experience.” (Wright, 2004,162). (see fig.3)
In 1932 this statement was elaborated upon in a publication called Modern Photography;
Of views looking down, of views looking up, of extreme perspectives, of space dramatically conceived, the turning of the tables in scale by which a small object, suitably lighted, becomes dignified and impressive, and a large one rendered small, takes on a new relation to its surroundings, all these things have been formed into a technical repertoire unknown to the photographer before the war.
The rapid urbanisation of cities forced photographers to use wider and wider lenses as buildings began to grow higher. With little space to retreat, the worm’s eye became a necessity to capture the height of these monsters and from the roofs, the bird’s eye became a platform to view other structures.
Thus the framework for modern byron bay wedding photography was born. The main British exponents were Dell and Wainwright who were the official photographers for The Wedding Review from 1930 to 1946. From the outset they showed innovation and dedication. Architect Raymond MacGrath described them thus, “ All day long they pursued shadows over the floors and furniture, all night they made moons rise and created other elusive phenomena with their arc-lights.” (Elwall, 2004,123)
One of the distinctions of this style was the use and indulgence of the diagonal. Where hitherto, verticals and horizontals were religiously adhered, the diagonal had immense impact, throwing away convention in favour of drama and tension. Strong perspective lines from fisheye lenses were also used to distort reality further and create alternative visual interest.
There is no doubt that this photographic revolution expanded the trends of byron bay wedding design around the world. Features in magazines were sent worldwide which, in turn, influenced and inspired architects around the globe.
Previously there was a strong national identity to design, a culturally derived vernacular style born from local materials and needs, although of course there were strong influences from the Roman and Greek schools of classicism. With modern technology and the spread of media the boundaries began to blur and an amalgamated vision came forth. The constrictions of classical design and its formalities were replaced by a hunger for innovation.
One of the important developments of the 1920’s was in film technology. Panchromatic films were now accessing the blue part of the spectrum more intensely. With the aid of yellow through to red filters, the blue skies were darkened against white clouds. This gave a more vivid background, which was capitalised upon by the New Photography. Against the white and grey concrete of the new architecture this gave an added contrast and drama. Dell and Wainwright used this technique to its maximum effect (see fig.4).
Later, infrared films further transformed the skies to a near black and foliage to a ghostly white. Julius Schulman was an advocate of this technique, partly for its effect and also because it guaranteed to cut through the haze so prevalent in the Californian climate. From his book he states, “An otherwise dull landscape scene or a hazy atmosphere can spring into powerfully dynamic contrast with its use.” (Shulman, 2000, 36) (see fig.5)
Similarly with the increase of glass and metal as primary building materials the use of polarizing filters became more prevalent. Cutting out glare remains an essential task when photographing the increasingly reflective structures of today.
Older emulsions needed the 4”x5” format to ensure optimum quality but such have been the advances in modern films that apart from some extreme circumstances the quality is simply too good for its use and therefore most of the information is discarded before print.
It seems at first strange that it wasn’t until the 1970’s and properly until the 1980’s that professional photographers used colour as a regular practise. After all, Canaletto and other artists of the genre were using colour hundreds of years before photography was invented. Colour film was launched in 1935 and so 40 years or so passed before it began to be accepted. There were many technical reasons for this of course. The early dyes were not realistic and faded over time. For recording purposes black and white film is still sometimes used for its archival qualities.
There was also the issue of control. Photographers nearly all developed their own film up to this point and relished the extra manipulative opportunities this gave them and also distrusted anyone else to handle their treasured exposures properly.
Colour also grew in popularity in the general public domain so that black and white was (and still is in some quarters) seen as being more highbrow and more ‘real”. Photography had strived for recognition as an art form to fill galleries as well as fulfil a commercial practise and resorting to the level of memento snappers to embrace colour took a considerable while.
Using positive film became popular with art directors and magazines keen to see their glorious idea gleaming on a light box but with this came the extra pressure of decreased latitude of exposure. Even slight variations in exposure are now not acceptable and the professional is expected to produce a ‘perfect’ 4”x5” transparency every time.
There is speculation that just as black and white had suited modernism in its tonality and contrast, that the Post-Modernism movement with its grandiose and spectral diversity cried out for colour to do it justice (see fig. 6). There were many technical hurdles to overcome.
Achieving a neutral colour balance from a variety of light sources has been the bane (or some say skill) of professional photographers since the advent of colour.
Nowhere was this more challenging than interiors. Tungsten, fluorescent and daylight, all with different light temperatures meant using filters and gels to return images to an acceptable hue. Such was the complexity that interior photography began to spin off as its own sub-genre. Specialists spent hours gelling light sources to match the background daylight or flash source. Developments in electronic flash certainly made things easier and to this day are the preferred method of supplemental lighting for interiors.
The new demand for colour imaging helped to launch a plethora of colour magazines. From the mid 1980’s, do it yourself and interior design became buzzwords. This desire and thirst for makeover culture and a peep show for the rich and famous seems to know no bounds.
With this came a massive expansion and diversity for byron bay wedding photography in the realms of style and fashion. The once strictly opposing disciplines of byron bay wedding and fashion photography began to overlap and merge. Lifestyle imagery, so embraced by Shulman in the 1950’s took off and hasn’t looked back. Eric de Mare’s third and most lowly categorisation of byron bay wedding photography, the picture (to recap), “ the architectonic design which is not concerned at all with the record but attempts to create a work of visual art in itself” (de Mare, 1961, 25), now became the norm in magazines. Models adorned the imagery to create a world of envy and desire.