Great photographs tell a story by capturing a moment in time. In this series, I am asking some of my favourite wedding photographers to describe one of their cherished photographs. My inspiration is the book Photography Speaks: 150 Photographers On Their Art. This book features a number of iconic photographers who share some personal reflections about one of their photographs. Although I don't yet own a copy of the book, the idea captured my imagination and is the inspiration for a new series of guest blog posts with photographers.
So, without further ado, let me introduce you to Brian and Trish from We are the Mastersons with a beautiful image that they have chosen to speak about -
"Having to choose a favourite image from our photographs has turned out to be a lot more awkward than we had expected. It feels like we have a huge family of children, and suddenly we have to pick out which one is our favourite. The system we’ve used is completely random and thoroughly unfair, and by tomorrow we will probably have changed our decision. But for today, here it is.Brian and Trish are an Irish husband and wife photography duo. Be sure to check out the 'We are the Mastersons' website and blog - their images speak for themselves.
Each year we get the chance to work with great couples and we’ve been incredibly lucky to shoot weddings for graphic designers, artists, other photographers, or for people who just love photography as much as we do. Working with visual people and having them trust us has given us the freedom to develop our own style. In the last couple of years I think that you can look at an image and know that it's one of ours. So much of our work happens before the wedding day in just talking to people, asking questions and listening. Listening is the most important thing that we do. The more that we listen, the more we know and understand a couple, what they like and what makes them laugh, and the better the images of the day will be.
Somebody once mentioned how our photographs reminded them of the classic cinema of the early 70's and I think that's true, not just in the colours but the way that they feel. With our photography, we try to make images that are both strong enough to stand on their own, but that will also work alongside the other shots from the day. It’s like watching a classic film and trying to select twenty individual frames that tell the story. Because at its best, that’s what wedding photography is – it’s storytelling. When you start studying photography, you concentrate on making each image the best that it can be. And then with experience, you begin to stand back and see not just individual images, but how each one fits into the day as a whole.
Being a photographer at a wedding is like having a film played out in front of you. And as with films, there is a pace and a rhythm to a wedding day that we try to capture in our photographs. That’s why we love designing the albums as we get to the chance to recreate the rhythm of the wedding in the way that we lay out the photos – moments of quiet followed by moments of excitement.
It’s surprising where you get inspiration from. We tend not to look at too many wedding blogs and I think that has helped us to find our own style. We get influenced by what we see. Watching the wide open spaces of the films of Terrence Malick, or the tightly cropped individuality of Wes Anderson; or feeling the stillness of a Wim Wenders photograph and in the paintings of Edward Hopper. It all has an impact on what we do.
I think that is why we chose this photograph as our favourite. Time on a wedding day moves pretty fast. It’s filled with the hustle and bustle of meeting friends and sharing stories; hours of laughter and minutes of tears; and if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you’ll miss it. When I look back on the photographs of a wedding, I’m drawn to the shots that capture the ‘space between’ – those moments of complete stillness for the couple, where they don’t need to go anywhere or do anything. They just have to be. Raymond Carver described it as “the difficulty of being simple” and that’s what our photographs try to achieve – when the bridal party and the speeches and the flowers fade into the background and all that’s left is two people, side by side, in love.
Those are the moments that make any relationship special and that’s why I love this photograph."