I first met Stephanie and Ollie at a tiny concert in Fremantle. I seem to meet a lot of people this way (*cough* Passenger… maybe that’s a hint to emerging photographers) I’d come down to support Tim Hart and Stu Larsen while they were in town for a few shows. Afterwards, Steph and Ollie introduced themselves and pitched me an intriguing offer of exchanging photography classes for scuba diving lessons. I was up for it, but we never really followed that one up… but fast forward a few years and I get a message from Steph proposing another crazy idea – that I fly to France and join them in the countryside for their wedding adventure.
And that’s how I found myself alone in Parisian apartment next to a box of inflatable penises as the cleaner and her five year old daughter walked in…
See, before heading down to the chateau (a casual five hour train ride away) the bridal party were spending a few nights in Paris. I thought I’d join suit… I love Paris and I wanted to take the opportunity to meet up with a few friends and photographers over that way – namely the amazing Alexandra Sophie, one of my original creative inspirations – but that’s a whole other story. Anyway, I arranged to meet up with the wedding party at the Eiffel Tower for some casual shots. After all, we were in Paris. That’s not an opportunity you can pass up! Plus, we needed some kind of photographic evidence that we were, in fact, in France.
Oh, about the box of dicks? I ended up staying in the same apartment as the crew that night. There had been some wild bucks/hens celebrations the night before, and the place was littered with many a penis related paraphernalia. The whole place was packed up the next morning as they all left for the train early… though I had another night in Paris elsewhere so I thought I’d take it easy and chill in the empty apartment for a while longer. Next to a box of dicks that was left behind. I feel like it was a situation of everyone working with the same ‘if I just leave it someone else will take care of it’ mindset. I mean, it didn’t really phase me so I just happily sat there working away on my laptop. And then the cleaner walked in. With a small child. I scrambled to throw a blanket over it but the damage was done. The middle-aged maid swiftly ordered her daughter to watch television as I walk of shamed the hell outta there.
So I guessed that kind of summed up my experience hanging out with this crazy crew. Yeah, they’re all a bunch of dicks! Just kidding. No, more like it was a fun-loving, eclectic mix of Americans, Brits, Kiwis, divers, travellers… it kind of reminded me of my college days. Just a friendly bunch of open minded people, all there to support each other and have a good time. And it didn’t hurt that we were somewhere in southern France, staying in the ivy-covered cottages of Chateau du Puits es Pratx.
I took Steph and Ollie aside for another quick session before the big day – we were in such a beautiful location that I wanted to take some time to explore the area and take a bit of pressure off the wedding day as well. There was no shortage of great backdrops here! Everyone knows I love a good hedge. Second to that, a good wall. And this was hedge/wall city (it’s the simple things…)
The big day. A flurry of last minute decision changes, scrawling speech writing, testing the limits of the chandelier… tears (good ones), champagne, confetti kisses, weddings dresses and long grass (not a great mix), winging it with sparkler parties, and food. Lots of food.
In terms of shooting style I decided to go a little #yolo and shoot a big portion of the day entirely on a deadly manual lens combo – the Petzval 85mm on the 5D Mark III and my new Samyang 14mm on the Mark II. To round things out I had the 50mm on hand as well to act as the foot soldier. Three primes, two of which have no autofocus… a risky approach! But I think it paid off. The vibe that comes through in the images really summed up the feeling of the day. Mood over technical precision.
So thanks for an experience I’ll never forget guys! I don’t know many couples who could convince an entire wedding guestlist to spend a week with them halfway across the world… but you did it. Here’s to everything that comes next!