Friday Photo: Bride Interrupted

Friday Photo: Bride Interrupted

What can you say about a happy accident?  It was a happy accident.  What you can do of course is recognise what that accident has thrown up, and ask how its random effect speaks to you in a much deeper way than you’d been expecting, taking a shot of this very English pastoral wedding scene.  What you see here is the end of the roll, so, in a very literal sense, you are seeing the mechanics of chance.  There’s even a floating red light leak in the top left hand corner that perfectly compliments the Pimms branding and balances the reds of the cart and deckchair.  But why do I love it as much as I do and why did it take a few moments to recognise that?  When I first saw it I thought, Oh that’s interesting.  And then I thought, Shame, it would have been a lovely picture.  And then I thought, No, it’s perfect.  We deliver lovely photos all the time.  The world of wedding photography is awash with lovely photos.  They’re almost two-a-penny.  This is something richer.  The abrupt end of the celluloid disrupts not just the photo but our experience of the photo.  We no longer have all the facts available to us.  Or, we are made aware that we don’t have all the facts available to us.  A photo by its very nature, is as much the deliberate exclusion of information as it is its inclusion.  But we don’t normally think about that.  The photographer will think about it at the time on some instinctive level, where to stand, who to point the camera at, what to include in the frame, what to leave out — choosing how best to compose the various elements you have elected to keep in the shot.  But once that’s done, and once a photo exists, we tend to treat it as something complete, the world at that moment and the only image that could have been taken of that moment.  We forget about the creative artifice and just simply believe in the thing itself.  This image puts a literal and figurative line through that.  I love just how deep this medium format film image is (it was shot on the beautiful Mamiya 7II)  and then just how flat the last third is in comparison.  There’s so much textural depth in existing part of the photo, the bride, the Pimms cart, the confetti pony, the green lawn and soft blue evening sky and then the abrupt flat off-white of the final third.  It seems to make the scene less real, unsettling the gentleness of the image, revealing the fourth wall by drawing our attention to the fact that, on some level, even documentary images are acts of fiction.  It almost deconstructs itself.  And there’s almost an alien presence to the light, a burning out of reality, both luminous and ominous.  If David Lynch set Blue Velvet in England I like to think he’d have ended it something like this.

film wedding photographer uk

Technical details for the photography wonks:

Camera: Mamiya 7II

Lens: 43mm 4.5

Aperture: f8

Shutter speed: Aperture Priority

Film: Kodak Ektar 100 (120 film / medium format)




  1. Martin Phelps

    Love it, Nick. And I love that you write about it in a way that risks the accusation that you’re a bit of a wanker, yet you pull it off (sorry) in a way that makes every other wedding photographer writing about their work sound like a wanker. Chapeau, as a wanker might say.

    • Nick Tucker

      Haha. Thanks Martin. I’d like to buy you a drink!


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