18th Birthday Party Photography

18th Birthday Party Photography

The beauty of this job is you never know what’s around the corner.  About four years ago now, from absolutely nowhere, I was suddenly shooting the wedding of Felix Barrett, the creative director and genius behind Punchdrunk Theatre.  From that wedding I found myself in France shooting the wedding for Britney Spears’ manager.  (And now Miley Cyrus’s manager.)  From an abandoned mansion in the heart of Wales to a grand chateau in the heart of France.  Random and beautiful but a logical through line in a way.  But this beautiful 18th birthday party at No.1 Mayfair, come, strangely enough, from a corporate photography gig I did a couple of years back.  So there was really no signpost for this at all.  Other than I now know enough about my job, and my clients to expect the unexpected (for example, last Saturday’s wedding ended with a Japanese burlesque performance art rendition of Aphex Twin’s Window Licker video in a blacked out venue with harshly strobing lights).  But I really wasn’t expecting to find myself shooting what was effectively an old fashioned debutante’s ball, with a very closely observed Gatsby theme.  The amazing thing about something fresh and new like this is it completely awakens the senses (NB. brides, who make it a key criteria that you’ve shot at their wedding venue before–you have got it absolutely the wrong way round.)  It shakes things up and gets your synapses firing like an explosion in a Chinese fireworks factory.  Also, shooting something like this you feel you’re part of a photographic lineage.  Not just shooting the great and the good and the It girls of the past, but to any photos of teenagers letting loose–which for me, would also include Derek Ridgers photos of the London punk scene. It’s that impression of beautiful invincibility, freedom and a newly formed fervid sense of self, forged in that crazy teenage furnace.  But anyway I’ll stop talking now.

Click through.

Right here.

Just below this.

See for your self.


  1. Nada

    Thanks for this Nick. It helped me so much when I shot a similar (yet a bit less fancy!) 18th birthday party last week :)


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