I got married in the 90s. It was a lovely day, I think, and beautiful, and I wore a gorgeous dress. We got married in a Cathedral, which was a pretty amazing location! For the photos, we had a photographer who was a friend of a friend of a friend, and perfectly decent at his work.
Great location, nice dress, extremely young, sweet innocent bride. The resulting photos would, these days, be incredible! Our 90s photos are… well, standard wedding photos taken in the 90s. I’m afraid there’s no sense of the atmosphere of the occasion, or the people, or any emotion. It’s all a bit formulaic. The photos of the day I actually treasure most, and look at often, are those natural, candid ones taken on rubbish, cheap, cameras by the rowdy tables of student friends at the Reception. They’re the blurry shots of me whispering something cheeky to my brother, and the one of my Mum gazing at her new son-in-law as though she’d found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. It’s a shame I haven’t got any professional ones like that. I blame the 90s! I do not care one little bit for the formal shots of the stiff rows of relatives, or the posed ones of me and husband with Hugh Grant haircut, looking awkward and fake romantic.
So, when it came to having photos taken of me and my studio for my new website (coming soon!), I was determined to tap into the wonderful, fun, reportage style of photography that you see showcased particularly in wedding photography these days. My choice of Juliet McKee was immediate, as I’d seen her work from a glorious occasion I went to last year. Even after some due diligence and researching other options, she was still top cat by a country mile, so I booked a session right away.
I wanted to capture where I work, what I do, who I am and all the little details that make up my studio, and my ‘brand’ (I don’t warm to that word, but it works in this context). Before the session, Juliet asked me to come up with 10 words to describe both me and my business. A very interesting exercise! I replied: Bold, gentle, friendly. Sensitive, beautiful, different. Joyful, controlled. Free. Intelligent. (Well, a girl can dream!). I wasn’t sure how she was going to convey all that, but I knew she could. I set about cleaning and tidying the studio, sorting out work I needed to be catalogued, and coaxing the flowers in the garden to grow strong and pretty for the photoshoot.
Of course, I was so nervous on the day, I hadn’t slept and I had to give myself a pep talk in the bathroom mirror at 5am, to make sure that by 9am I was serene and glowing. I needn’t have worried (a common theme). When Juliet arrived, I actually fell a little bit in love with her right away, and everything was OK! Best of all, she put me so at ease I could get on with painting while she worked.
How does she do it? I’ll never know. She’s a magician with light, and people, and she just has a way. I know she’s a pro, that’s a given. But she is more than that. It’s in her gentle manner, and her ability to bring calm into her work at the same time as a punchy, energetic drive. Over tea and flapjacks, we shared so much about balancing work, motherhood, creativity. Yes, and cats.
I loved it! I’m delighted with the results, and looking forward to furnishing my new website with all those pretty details I live with in the studio.
Juliet, please come again. The kettle is always on!